Though we are well into the 21st century and modern society is quick to forget such occurences as the attacks of 9/11, we are also quick to forget sometimes the very nature of America long before the highways, the vast sea of homes that are built in mere weeks and hi-speed internet.
Much has been celebrated the last few years with books and PBS specials of Lewis & Clark's Corp or Discovery, though there has always been one tarnish on the legacy. Lewis' death in 1809. Long speculated that he committed suicide by shooting himself twice (once in the chest and once in the head)after being in a dark state of depression, though many remain convinced that he was murdered. I like to think the later.
Men of Lewis and Clark's ilk have gone the way of the Dodo and it is doubtful we will ever see their kind again. Throughout the Corp of Discovery's journey they endured numerous hard ships and dangerous country where men and beast saught to kill them on a regular basis, and of the forty-two members only one man died.Sergeant Charles Floyd, whose appendix ruptured. Given that is was 1804 the good Sergeant would have died any where. So of all things read over the years I think Thomas Jefferson summed it up best in his writing about Meriwether Lewis several years after his death.
"Of courage undaunted, possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from its direction, ... honest, disinterested, liberal, of sound understanding and a fidelity to truth so scrupulous that whatever he should report would be as certain as if seen by ourselves, with all these qualifications as if selected and implanted by nature in one body for this express purpose, I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him."