MERIWETHER LEWIS & WILLIAM CLARK
When Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark organized their Corps of Discovery they selected 15 men to accompany them. They chose firearms that would be reliable over the course of a two-year expedition, necessary for that most essential pursuit – hunting!
Corps members carried US military rifles obtained from the US Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and service muskets. Lewis had a case of matched pistols while Clark carried his personal .36 caliber long-rifle. The hunters in the group may have carried Kentucky rifles as personal firearms and the French-speaking boatmen may have carried “trade guns.” All of these firearms were single-shot, muzzleloading, black powder guns with flintlock ignition. There was one exception – Lewis had an “air gun” that he used to impress the American Indians they encountered when he demonstrated its repeating operation.
John Colter – Cody Country
One of the best hunters with the Corps of Discovery, John Colter did not return to St. Louis with the expedition. Instead he left the corps and traveled into the Yellowstone country where he spied bubbling mud pots and steaming geysers in what was dubbed “Colter’s Hell.” Just west of today’s Cody.