The dependable and matter-of-fact John Ordway was one of the mainstays of the Corps of Discovery, promoted early on to sergeant and serving as an able leader during the captains' absence. Fascinated by the peoples and places he encountered, Ordway became the most faithful journalist on the expedition-recording information not found elsewhere and making an entry for every day during the expedition. Ordway later married and became a prosperous owner of two plantations in Missouri. His honest and informative account, which remained undiscovered for a century, offers an unforgettable glimpse of an enlisted man's experiences and observations as he and the Corps of Discovery embarked on the journey of a lifetime. In contrast to Ordway's extensive chronicle stands the far-too-brief but intriguingly detailed eyewitness account of Sergeant Charles Floyd, the only member to die on the expedition. The journals of John Ordway and Charles Floyd are part of the celebrated Nebraska edition of the complete journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition, which feature a wide range of new scholarship on 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.