- from Lewis & Clark
Although Lewis and Jefferson wanted the expedition to get going as soon as possible, there was much to be done first. Lewis began buying supplies. Choosing what to take was a great responsibility.
The team could not carry extra weight over rough terrain, but the members had to take every necessity. Once out in the wilderness, whatever they hadn’t taken with them, they would have to do without.
Lewis went to Philadelphia to stock up on supplies—and on information. He had a lot to learn, and he had to learn it fast. Like a student before a big exam, he crammed in all the knowledge he could about map-making and medicine. He also learned about identifying and classifying plants, animals, and minerals. And he learned about navigating by the stars. Thanks to Jefferson’s connections, Lewis was tutored by the most distinguished men in their fields.
That fall and winter, with Clark and the men at their Wood River camp, just north of St. Louis, in Illinois, the learning continued. Lewis and Clark practiced calculating location by the stars. They also got to know their men. Who might cause problems? Who might need discipline? And who could they depend on in a tough situation? Most of the men were experienced soldiers, and they learned to work together to survive in the wilderness.