During the spring of 1803, Meriwether Lewis traveled to Harpers Ferry to procure weapons and hardware that would meet the unique requirements of his transcontinental expedition. Among the items he obtained from the United States Armory and Arsenal were 15 rifles, 15 powder horns, 30 bullet molds, 30 ball screws, extra rifle and musket locks, gunsmith's repair tools, several dozen tomahawks, 24 large knives, and a collapsible iron boat frame. [Learn about Meriwether Lewis at Harpers Ferry]
Harpers Ferry at the Time of Meriwether Lewis
Harpers Ferry in 1803 was a remote town situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in a gap through the Blue Ridge Mountains. George Washington had advocated establishing an arms manufactory here, arguing that its remote location would protect it from foreign invasion, and that the site afforded an abundance of waterpower. These pictures represent scenes at Harpers Ferry that would probably be familiar to Meriwether Lewis today.