- from Lewis & Clark
For nearly six months before the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, President Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis studied books and maps of the West. They made plans for an expedition that Lewis would lead.
On January 18, 1803, Jefferson made it official: He asked Congress to approve $2,500 for a mission to explore the West. Congress agreed.
Jefferson picked Lewis to lead the expedition. He trusted Lewis to choose the rest of the team. That included a fellow officer to help him lead the crew. In June 1803, Lewis wrote to William Clark, a trusted friend from his army days. He asked Clark if he’d come with him on this trip. “Believe me,” he wrote, “there is no man on Earth with whom I should feel equal pleasure in sharing [this adventure] as with yourself.”
“I will cheerfully join you,” Clark replied. But the two didn’t actually join forces until October. Meanwhile, each man prepared for the trip. That included picking a few men for their team. Later, when they got together, they chose several more.
Lewis and Clark picked each team member for a reason.