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Entry Category: American - Starting with F

Freeman and Custis Red River Expedition

aka: Freeman Red River Expedition
aka: The Grand Excursion
Perhaps the most forgotten expedition to explore the southwest territory of the Louisiana Purchase was the ill-fated 1806 journey by Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis, initially labeled “The Great Excursion” by President Thomas Jefferson, who wanted the endeavor to chart and explore both the Red and Arkansas rivers. In the end, Freeman and Custis were tasked to ascend the Red River in search of its headwaters, along the way documenting coordinates, climate, and ecological findings. The expedition would pass through the southwest corner of what would become Arkansas and its borders with Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. In selecting a civilian leader, the president designated Thomas Freeman, a 1784 Irish immigrant and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, surveyor. Although he had no field experience, …