April 8, 1804
I am now on an expedition to the westward, through the interior parts of North America, with Captain Lewis and Captain Clark. We are to ascend the Missouri River with a boat, as far as it is navigable, and then go by land to the western ocean if nothing prevents.
We expect to be gone eighteen months or two years and if we make great discoveries, as we expect, the United States has promised to make us great rewards. For fear of accidents I wish to inform you that I left two hundered dollars in cash and should I not live to return, my heirs can get that and all the pay due me from the U.S. Government.
I will write next winter if I have a chance.
Sgt. John Ordway