On August 31, 1803, Meriwether Lewis left Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a small party in a keelboat and canoes. They moved slowly down the Ohio River due to low water conditions brought on by drought. Lewis arrived at the Falls of the Ohio near Clarksville, Indiana / Louisville, Kentucky on October 14 and met William Clark with additional recruits. As author and historian Stephen Ambrose noted, “When they shook hands, the Lewis and Clark Expedition began“ (Ambrose 1996, 117). They set out from Louisville on October 26, arriving at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi on November 14 and moved up the Mississippi through early December. Heading up the Mississippi was made difficult by low water and strong currents, and even more burdensome as late-fall cold fronts and accompanying strong northwest winds pushed against the boats. They arrived near St. Louis on December 12 and established winter quarters across from the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers at Camp Dubois near the mouth of the Wood River (See Section 2).
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- Section 1