Lewis and Clark

Discovering America I: 1804 (St. Louis-Fort Mandan)

Discovering America I: 1804 (St. Louis-Fort Mandan)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.59

     challenging words:    canoe-like, dysentery, fire-making, intestinal, Map-making, present-day, travelers, underway, medical, voyagers, whiskey, journey, settled, appendicitis, keelboat, poles
     content words:    Captains Lewis, Camp Wood, Missouri River, By May, On July, Captain Clark, Independence Creek, President Jefferson, Sergeant Floyd, Teton Sioux

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Discovering America I: 1804 (St. Louis-Fort Mandan)
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     The Corps of Discovery was all set for a long journey. They had been given an exciting task! They were to travel through new parts of America. They would bring back news of the land and its people, plants, and animals.
2     Captains Lewis and Clark had carefully planned the trip. Forty-eight men had been picked for the voyage. The crew had waited through the winter at Camp Wood near St. Louis, Missouri. Now that it was spring, they were eager to start their adventure.
3     A keelboat had been built for the first part of the trip. This was a large boat used for freight. Many tons of supplies were packed and ready. The travelers would need camping supplies like cloth for tents and tools for fire-making. Firearms, clothes, and food had to be taken. Map-making tools would be needed, as well as books and medical supplies. There were also many small gifts to give the Indian people along the way.
4     Finally, on May 14, 1804, the Corps started up the Missouri River. Some of the men paddled the two pirogues (PEE-ros), which were smaller canoe-like boats. Some rode in the keelboat, pushing it through the water with long poles. All were happy to be underway. In his diary, one of the men writes: "...we fired our swivel [cannon] on the bow hoisted Sail and Set out in high Spirits for the western Expedition."
5     The trip was far from easy. Keeping the keelboat going was brutally hard work. Often the boat had to be pulled along with ropes from the shore. When it rained, everything was soggy. There were no dry clothes or bedding. Sometimes the men thought the mosquitoes would eat them alive. Boils and dysentery, an intestinal illness, were common.

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