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Lost in the Mountains

Until the centennial publication of Lewis and Clark’s journals in 1905, historians had not appreciated the expedition’s predicament just prior to Clark’s arrival at Weippe Prairie. Nicholas Biddle’s paraphrased account in 1814 generally smoothed over difficulties encountered by the Corps and said only that “It was … agreed that Captain Clarke should go on ahead … and endeavour to kill something for the support of the party.”

When Reuben Gold Thwaites produced this first edition of the journals he announced, “We shall henceforth know Lewis and Clark as we never knew them before.” In fact, the first published edition of the captains’ original journals records that “emence mountains dampened the spirits.” Clark’s accompanying field map points out the “High Mountains” all around him.

Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed. “Field map for September 18 to September 20, 1805”, in Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804–1806, [1905].

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