Mapping America – The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

The Corps of Discovery Prepare for Their Journey

“The Corps of Discovery” was the name given to the group of explorers and volunteers led by Lewis and Clark. Their primary objectives for the trip were both commercial and scientific in nature, as they aimed to study the animal life, geography, and plants of the area with the ultimate purpose of learning how the new area could be exploited economically.


Map of the Northwestern United States depicts the route taken by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their first expedition from the Missouri River (near St. Louis, Missouri) to the mouth of the Columbia River (at the Pacific Ocean in Oregon), and their return trip, 1804 – 1806. (Photo by Stock Montage/Getty Images)

Clark was a pivotal element in preparing the expedition, mostly because he was a skilled mapmaker and was the one to figure out what routes the exploration mission should take. The entire entourage ultimately encompassed more than 40 men, two pirogues (boats) and a 10-ton keelboat.

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