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Lewis & Clark Frequently Asked Questions Banner

Frequently Asked Questions

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    Q. Was the Corps of Discovery a Corps of Engineers effort?
    A. No, the Corps of Discovery was not a Corps of Engineers effort. Both Lewis and Clark were former Army officers that were reinstated for a military expedition. Captain Lewis and Lieutenant Clark led the 31 other members of the Army expedition, including 5 civilians, from Fort Mandan in present-day North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean and back.

    Q. Wasn't Clark a captain?
    A. Lewis had asked that Clark be appointed to the expedition as a Captain. However, because there were no captain appointments available within the Army at that time, his appointment was for the rank of Lieutenant in the Corps of Artillerists. Lewis and Clark conceived the title for Clark as "Captain, Corps of Volunteers of North Western Discovery." Clark's pseudo-captaincy was never revealed to the men throughout the mission.

    Q. Were Lewis and Clark engineer officers?
    A. Neither Lewis nor Clark was an engineer. Lewis was learned in botany and writing, and had served as paymaster of the First Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army. Clark had joined the regular Army after beginning his military career in the Kentucky Militia. In the Army, Clark had specialized in building forts, drawing maps, and leading soldiers through enemy country.

    Q. What is the difference between direct and indirect management?
    A. Direct management lands are those areas that the Corps has fee title to lands adjacent to the river/lakes. Project lands along the Missouri, Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia Rivers would be included in this category. Indirect management comes about either through Corps responsibilities under the Section 10/404 programs or through levee and navigational channel maintenance.

    Q. Where does the trail start - St. Louis or Pittsburgh?
    A. The water trail taken by Lewis to the first wintering camp of the Expedition runs from Pittsburgh, PA down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. It then continues up the Missouri, Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia Rivers to the Pacific Ocean. However, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (NHT) begins in St. Louis, runs west to Fort Clatsop and includes the Yellowstone River from the expedition's return trip. In addition, there are two discontiguous segments of the NHT - Monticello (Charlottesville, VA) and the Falls of the Ohio (Louisville, KY/Clarksville, IN) . It was when the expedition party left St. Louis that Lewis and Clark began making their daily journal entries and documenting the natural and scenic wonders, and Indian tribes found along the way.

    Q. Who is the Corps' National coordinator?
    A. Corps National Coordinator is Jeannine Nauss. Ms. Nauss is located in the NWD office in Omaha, NE. Her assistant is Mr. Ken Wilk. Mr. Wilk is located at the Pomona Dam project in Kansas City District.

    Q. What kind of specific Lewis and Clark activities has the Corps undertaken?
    A. In addition to hosting visitors at our many projects during the bicentennial commemoration, the Corps plans on pursuing three additional projects:

    • Lewis and Clark brochure including general information about the Corps of Discovery, important expedition sites along the route, contact information for these sites and general information about the route. This was a cooperative effort among all of the Federal agencies involved in the L&C Bicentennial.
    • River maps and/or brochures with general information about navigating the river systems, protecting cultural resources and endangered species, and respecting property.
    • Discovery boxes contain a collection of Lewis and Clark support materials for rangers to use either for campground or school programs or during special events. These boxes contain replicas of things such as tools, maps, furs, clothing, trade items, and other items that would have been used by the Corps of Discovery.

    Q. Why do you refer to the bicentennial as a 'commemoration' instead of 'celebration'?
    A. There are many Native Americans that reside in this country who do not view the Lewis and Clark Expedition in a positive way. To these people, the Lewis and Clark Expedition signified the end of their way of life. The success of the expedition initiated the idea of "Manifest Destiny" - the mid- 19th century expansion of the United States to the Pacific Ocean. The term 'commemoration' allows us to call attention to the efforts of the expedition without the negative undertones the Native Americans may associate with 'celebration.' It is important to remember that the expedition is one half Army story and one half Indian story.

    Q. Will the Corps be involved in any research regarding possible visitation projections associated with this event?
    A. The Corps is a member of the Federal Interagency Committee that was formed as a result of the MOU signed on October 1, 1998. This interagency committee has formed a subcommittee to hire or obtain information on future visitation projections. At the present time, the only visitation figures that have been reported estimate an increase of 1-4 million additional visitors to any given point along the trail. Several State agencies are pursuing these same projections.

    Q. Is the Corps communicating with other agency representatives?
    A. The Corps is a member of the Federal Interagency Committee that was formed as a result of the MOU signing on October 1, 1998. At the current time, this committee meets once each quarter but various subcommittees meet as necessary. The Corps is also involved with the Department of Army Lewis and Clark Advisory Group and Executive Council.

    Q. Is it true that the Army is planning a reenactment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and will the Corps be involved?
    A. At the present time, the Army has no definitive plans for a reenactment of the expedition. There are members of the Army who have proposed such a project, but at this time, these plans have not been officially submitted nor are they financially supported by the Army.

    Q. What commands and organizations in the Army will be involved in the commemoration?
    A. The Department of the Army Headquarters established a L&C Commemorative Committee to coordinate and organize the Army's participation in commemorative activities. The Center of Military History is the executive agent for the Army and has responsibility over the committee. The committee oversees a L&C Advisory Group comprised of the following major participating commands (MACOMs): Forces Command (FORSCOM), Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), National Guard (NG) and the Corps. The Army Reserve component is also represented on the advisory group through FOSCOM. The Corps will be an active participant as commemoration activities take place at locations significant to the timeline of the journey.

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