May the 14th--Monday
Set out from Camp River a Dubois at 4 oClock P.M. and proceded up the Missouris under Sail to the first Island in the Missouri and Camped on the upper point opposit a Creek on the South Side below a ledge of limestone rock Called Colewater, made 4 1/2 miles, the Party Consisted of 2, Self one frenchman and 22 Men in the Boat of 20 ores, 1 Serjt. & 7 french in a large Perogue, a Corp and 6 Soldiers in a large Perogue. a Cloudy rainey day. wind from the N E. men in high Spirits
--Clark's Field Notes
So it begins. Sort of. Most historians and folks out there in LC Bicentennial land are celebrating May 14 as that illustrious anniversary. On the 14th, Clark and the bulk of the party left their winter camp, Camp Dubois (at the mouth of the River Dubois in modern Illinois) on their way St. Charles, where Lewis was making final arrangements. They reached St. Charles on May 16, and Lewis joined them on the 20th. They finally departed as the complete Corps of Discovery on the afternoon of May 21.
The above is just a taste of Clark's engaging, if cavalier, approach to writing--great on the details of time, place, temperature, etc., and extraordinarily creative in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. This short note was jotted quickly in Clark's field notes, and then expanded upon later in the actual journal.
More to come!