Lewis And Clark's Expedition Was A Syphilitic, Poopy, Dog-Eating Mess
In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, along with a small army of volunteers, soldiers, and one Native American girl keeping them alive, set out on an amazing journey to map out the majority of what we lucky folk call America -- the important parts, at least. And you know what? They didn't do too badly, especially considering that the closest thing that they had to mechanized vehicles was a horse wearing a feedbag. In two years, the expedition marched from St Louis, Missouri to Fort Clatsop in Oregon, and back again -- a distance of over 7,000 miles.
Wiki CommonsAnd it was sheer hell every single step of the way.
Let's get this out of the way first: They ate their dogs. Being average hunters in unknown territory, it didn't take long for members of the expedition to start chowing down on their canine companions. Not even as a last resort, mind -- just when they got bored of eating dried salmon. Only Clark refused to eat the dogs. It's a low bar to set for your national heroes, not eating your own pets just because you don't like fish, but only half of Lewis and Clark managed to clear it.
Their business trip did come with some pleasure along the way, though. Alongside exploring the country and doing as much science as possible, the expedition's other mission was to establish links with any native populations that they came across. And boy, did they do that. The Corps of Dicks-overy tried to have sex with every local woman they encountered, with a respectable rate of success. Not that Lewis and Clark were particularly dashing gentleman explorers, but to their great fortune, plenty of Native American communities believed that sex was a great way of absorbing other cultures. And seeing as these underfed idiots were they only white meat for miles, many noble women performed a walk of shame in the hopes of figuring out this "rifle" business before it would come back to bite them in the ass.
All of this fun had its downsides, however. Within months, most of the men were diagnosed with venereal diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea. The good news was that the expedition had thought ahead and packed some medicine for precisely this scenario. The bad news was that the medicine was laced with mercury and caused terrible diarrhea.
And while curing VD with mercury poisoning didn't exactly help Lewis and Clark reach the Pacific any faster, it did make them real easy to track. All future historians had to do was follow the trail of innumerable latrine pits they dug along their route, handily marked with an easily detectable eau de mercury. You could not take a more historical dump if you ate an entire set of encyclopedias beforehand (which were also bound with mercury).
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