In May 1804 Captain Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the Corps of Discovery set off on a seven-thousand-mile journey to the Pacific and back at the behest of President Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. They spent five months in the St. Louis area preparing for the expedition that began with a six-hundred-mile, ten-week crossing of the future state of Missouri. Prior to this, however, the explorers had already seen about two hundred miles of Missouri landscape as they ascended the Mississippi River to St. Louis in the autumn of 1803 in a practice run of their future voyage. Ann Rogers's Lewis and Clark in Missouri focuses on the Missouri chapter of their grand expedition, an important facet of history that has been slighted in other accounts. By detailing the explorers' journey across Missouri, Rogers addresses this historical oversight. Her use of the journals kept by William Clark, letters written by members of the Corps, and other primary source materials provides a first-hand perspective on what these undaunted explorers encountered on their trek.
Rogers's in-depth recounting of their expedition covers all facets of this voyage, from the organization of the exploratory crew to the return back across Missouri culminating in the safe arrival in St. Louis. In between, she touches on the people, plants, wildlife, and landscapes the explorers encountered. Beautiful color photographs and illustrations enrich the text and provide a backdrop for the passages Rogers quotes from the journals and letters. Brief biographies of the expedition's members, including Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, John Colter, and York, as well as a look at the Lewis and Clark trail today and the sites along it, round out this highly readable and accurate detailing of the Missouri crossing. Written in a style accessible to all readers, Lewis and Clark in Missouri will be of great interest not only to Missourians, but also to anyone wishing to learn more about Lewis and Clark's historic journey.