Captain Meriwether Lewis

Captain Meriwether Lewis (HM19D7)

Location: Leavenworth, KS 66027 Leavenworth County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 20.641', W 94° 54.933'

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1774 - 1809

Soldier, scholar, diplomat, explorer, the career of Meriwether Lewis epitomizes the range of duties and responsibilities inherent in the role of United States Army officer. Lewis was born 18 August, 1774 in Virginia and was commissioned as ensign in the regular Army in 1794. Lewis served in various frontier posts, rising to the rank of captain before being appointed as personal secretary to President Thomas Jefferson in 1801. In 1803, Jefferson engineered the acquisition of the 820,000 square mile Louisiana Territory from France effectively doubling the size of the United States. Relatively little was known of this vast territory except that the future of the Nation would largely depend upon its successful development. Together, Jefferson and Lewis conceived a plan to send a small expedition along the Missouri and Columbia Rivers to map major geographical features, assess the country for its economic potential and to establish political relations with the numerous Indian nations newly incorporated to the United States. To lead this "Corps of Discovery," Jefferson selected Captain Lewis writing that he was "...brave, prudent, habituated to the woods and familiar with Indian manners and character." Lewis also proved himself a leader of outstanding judgment and indomitable spirit. From his Army background, Lewis already possessed skills crucial for success. He was in superb physical condition, had a keen eye for observation, and was fiercely loyal and disciplined yet open minded and intellectually flexible. His academic skills and training allowed him to both appreciate and communicate the strategically critical ethnographic, geographic and scientific information whose acquisition was at the heart of the mission. His detailed personal study, logistical preparations, operational planning, and staunch leadership resulted in the triumphant success of the expedition. Under Captain Lewis and his unofficial partner William Clark, the Corps of Discovery spent more than two years in uncharted wilderness, covering over 7,000 miles by river and land, made peaceful diplomatic contact with over 50 Indian nations and documented thousands of important scientific observations. During this time they lost just one soldier killed by disease. Lewis died in ambiguous circumstances in September 1809, but the skill and character of this exceptional officer put an indelible stamp on his country's destiny.
HM NumberHM19D7
Placed ByUnited States Army
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 at 1:08pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 334929 N 4356703
Decimal Degrees39.34401667, -94.91555000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 20.641', W 94° 54.933'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 20' 38.46" N, 94° 54' 55.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)913
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 321-399 Stimson Ave, Leavenworth KS 66027, US
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