L&C River Trail Under The Sumac
In Iowa, United States
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Peanut Butter piece. The bicycle and walking path extends nearly 1.8 mile along the river from the gate. The cache is a .5 mile hike from gate. According to information on a plaque at the Sgt. Floyd Monument this is near the spot where the L&C party pulled in when Sgt Floyd went ill and passed.
On August 20, 1804, the Corps of Discovery, led by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, found themselves near present day Sioux City, Iowa. The Corps was just over three months into their journey and had paddled, pushed and pulled their small flotilla of boats over 500 miles up the Missouri River.
Since their departure from St. Louis on May 14, the Corps had traveled further up the Missouri than any other American. They celebrated the first Fourth of July west of the Mississippi near today’s Fort Leavenworth, Kansas by firing their cannon and issuing an extra ration of whiskey to the men. They had their first successful meeting with Plains Indians, the Otoes, near present day Council Bluffs, Iowa. Captain Lewis had also cataloged many plant and animal species that were previously unknown.
It was on August 20, two hundred years ago today, that the Corps faced its first tragedy and only fatality, the death of Sergeant Charles Floyd. The first death of an American soldier west of the Mississippi River.
Sgt. Floyd was a 22-year-old Kentuckian whom Captain Clark called “a man of much merit”. He was a cousin of another expedition member, Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor. As was ordered of all of the Sergeants on the journey, Floyd had kept a daily journal of the trip until August 18, when he fell too ill to continue writing. He was complaining of extreme stomach pains and nothing Lewis did relieved the symptoms. On the 20th, Floyd died of what Lewis called “Biliose Chorlick”, what medical historians actually believe was a ruptured appendix. Clark recorded it in his journal of August 20-
“Sergeant Floyd much weaker and no better...Floyd as bad as he can be no pulse & nothing will stay a moment on his Stomach or bowels. Floyd Died with a great deal of Composure, before his death he Said to me, ‘I am going away I want you to write me a letter.’ We buried him on the top of the bluff. 1/2 Mile below [is] a Small river to which we Gave his name, He was buried with the Honors of War much lamented, a Seeder post with the Name Sergt. C. Floyd died here 20th of august 1804 was fixed at the head of his grave. This Man at all times gave us proofs of his firmness and Determined resolution to doe Service to his Countrey and honor to himself. after paying all the honor to our Decesed brother we camped in the Mouth of floyds River about 30 yards wide, a butiful evening”
Sergeant Charles Floyd was buried with full Military Honors on a hill overlooking the Missouri River which Lewis and Clark named Floyds Bluff. After the burial, the Corps pressed on into Sioux Country. Two days later, the elected Floyds replacement, Patrick Gass. On their return trip, the Corps stopped at the site to pay their respects and found that Indians had disturbed the grave. The Corps restored the grave and moved on.
Over the next several decades, Sgt. Floyd’s grave became a landmark to those traveling up and down the Missouri River. His remains were moved twice on the bluff due to floods and souvenir hunters. On August 20, 1900, Sgt. Floyds remains were reburied for a final time. The next year a monument, complete with a 100 foot tall obelisk, was dedicated on Memorial Day. The obelisk is second in height in the USA only to the Washington Monument.
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Last Updated: on 5/2/2014 6:53:36 PM Pacific Daylight Time (1:53 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum