An accomplished carpenter and boat builder, Patrick Gass proved to be an invaluable and well-liked member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Promoted to sergeant after the death of Charles Floyd, Gass was almost certainly responsible for supervising the building of Forts Mandan and Clatsop. His records of those forts and of the earth lodges of the Mandans and Hidatsas are particularly detailed and useful. Gass was the last survivor of the Corps of Discovery, living until 1870-long enough to see trains cross a continent that he had helped open. His engaging and detailed journal became the first published account of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Gass's journal joins the celebrated Nebraska edition of the complete journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition, which feature a wide range of new scholarship dealing with all aspects of the expedition from geography to Indian cultures and languages to plants and animals.
Gary E. Moulton is Thomas C. Sorensen Professor of American History at the University of Nebraska. He is the recipient of the J. Franklin Jameson Award of the American Historical Association for the editing of the Lewis and Clark journals, and he won the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award from the University of Nebraska.