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Lewis and Clark Kansas City
Lewis and Clark Journey

The Threat On Kaw Point --
Redoubt at the Kansas River

Copyright © 2002 by Dan C.D. Sturdevant

On June 27, 1804, the men of the Lewis and Clark expedition built a “redoubt,” a long, temporary barrier of trees and bushes, six feet high, at the confluence of the Kansas River and Missouri River. This article challenges the historical perspective that the Lewis and Clark expedition faced no significant threat of armed conflict at their camp on the Kansas River in June 1804 to justify the redoubt. The article also attempts to depict what the captains knew and assumed about the disposition of the Native American tribes in the area, attempting to recreate the captains’ mindset in ordering the building of a defensive barricade.

As the expedition labored up the powerful, unrelenting, life-giving, life-threatening Missouri River and set up camp after every day’s journey, the issue of defense of the camp recurred. The early part of the trip in 1804 was well-traveled and likely safe--but with a more or less vulnerable camp position due to fresh landscape. Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark planned for  “oppisition from roving parties of Bad Indians which it is probable may be on the R[iver].”    Read the complete article


Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation
Missouri-Kansas Riverbend Chapter

408 E. 31st Avenue
City of North Kansas City, MO  64116

816-679-5925  |