From Chap. 40, St. Louis, MO, 1828
On the eve of our leaving I received this note from Clark:
Dear Sir: As the exploring party of Chickasaws are not expected here before the 20th of next month and will not be in advance of this state until the first of October, and as the Potawatomis and Ottawas who accompanied you to this place are unwilling to delay, I would, in accordance with your suggestions, recommend that you proceed with your party and explore a portion of the country purchased of the Osages and Kansas west of the state of Missouri, westward of the Osage and Shawnee reservations, and north of the Kansa reservation. Take care not to go so far west as to endanger your party by falling in with parties of Pawnees and other tribes who are at war with the Osages and Kansas.
The Indian agents in your direction are informed of your movements, and will afford you every aid and assistance in their power. You will take Noel Mograin, a half Osage who is acquainted with the Kansa languages. I must request the favor of you to write me from Harmony mission, and on your return to Camp Leavenworth, or the outsettlements, and state your views and wishes, that I may be enabled to afford such aid as may be necessary.
Accept the assurance of my best wishes. Yours sincerely, Wm. Clark
Tribes at war with one another, treeless prairies. . . . Just when I thought every area of my life had been tested by the Indians and the elements, I was about to enter a whole new arena. I reflected on the raging rivers fought in the past, Will I be soon praying for water? on endless trees and choking vines that conspired to block out the smallest sunbeam. Will I be soon praying for shade? Sitting alone in the boarding house room, on the edge of my bed, I stared at his letter. Then I rose to my feet and began packing saddlebags for the morning departure. "Onward," I whispered, and turned my face to the West.