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Expedition Begins - September 28, 1803 through December 5, 1803

September 28, 1803. (Cincinnati). Lewis writes Clark that his trip to Cincinnati was difficult. Two young men with him may be likely recruits for the expedition (Jackson, 1: 124-26).

October 14, 1803. Lewis arrives at Louisville (Holmberg, Timeline).

October 15, 1803. Lewis' boat passes through the Falls of the Ohio. James Patten, from Clarksville, is a possible pilot (Holmberg, Timeline; Holmberg, Brother, 137). See items this page.

Map of the Falls of Ohio

By September 24, 1803, there was a law of the Indiana Territory authorizing the Governor to appoint qualified pilots to guide boats through the Falls of the Ohio. Note the boat route on the Falls map above and the experience below. Indiana pilot Davis Floyd was the brother of Charles Floyd. Pilot James Patten was Nathaniel Pryor's father-in-law. Either of these pilots could have guided Lewis' boat through the Falls. Charles Floyd and Pryor were first cousins and two of the "nine young men" of the expedition (Philbrick, 63-64; Holmberg, Brother, 137, 159).
October 18, 1803. Thomas Rodney's 1803 Journal from Delaware to the Mississippi Territory

"I went with the batteau, with the pilot Patton and a steersman and Buckanan, through the Falls [of the Ohio]. We hung a minute on a rock above the brig and struck twice after but went through safe . . . .

I must now say a few words more about the Falls. They are a terrable place to pass through when the water is as low as now. For the first time I had a dread of wrecking our boat. The rocks are so cragy, the channil so crooked, and the water so furious and rapid that it requires the utmost care and dexterity to avoid the danger. There are several islands in the Falls and a large island and several sand bars below and riffles for 2 miles below, so that indeed there is 4 miles of rapid[s] and difficulty; but the pilot only conducted us the first two and we came safe over the others" (Smith and Swick,124-25).


October 24, 1803. Jonathan Clark spends night in Clarksville with brother William (Holmberg, Timeline).

October 26, 1803. (Clarksville). Captains Lewis and Clark, the "nine young men," Clark's slave York, and others leave on the expedition (Holmberg, Timeline; Moulton, 2: 59).

November 11, 1803. Lewis' Journal: Expedition party reaches Fort Massac, Indiana Territory (Moulton, 2: 85).

November 13, 1803. (Vincennes). In answer to a request from Clark, Harrison sends a copy of a map of the Missouri River and the Mandan country (Jackson, 1: 135-36).

November 28, 1803. Clark's Journal: Expedition party lands near Kaskaskia, Indiana Territory (Moulton, 2: 118-19).

November 28, 1803. Lewis' Journal: Lewis leaves Clark in charge of the boat. He leaves December 5 on horseback for St. Louis to meet with the Spanish commandant (Moulton, 2: 117-18).

December 5, 1803. Clark's Journal: Clark and party land near Bellefontaine, Indiana Territory to pick up additional provisions (Moulton, 2: 125-26).