Zebulon Pike

Zebulon Pike (1779-1813)

American

Zebulon Montgomery Pike (January 5, 1779 – April 27, 1813) was an American brigadier general and explorer for whom Pikes Peak in Colorado is named

As a United States Army captain in 1806–1807, he led the Pike Expedition, sent out by President Thomas Jefferson, to explore and document the southern portion of the Louisiana territory and to find the headwaters of the Red River, during which he recorded the discovery of what later was called Pikes Peak.

The Pike expedition coincided with other Jefferson expeditions including the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) and the Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis expedition (1806).

The Pike Expedition traveled through present-day Colorado after his party confused their location. This led to capture by Spanish, who sent Pike and his men to Chihuahua (present-day Mexico), and to questioning by the governor. They were released later in 1807 at the border of Louisiana.

 

In 1810 Pike published an account of his expeditions, a book so popular that it was translated into French, German and Dutch for publication in Europe. He later achieved the rank of brigadier general in the Army, serving during the War of 1812. He was killed during the Battle of York, which the United States won.

Pike was born during the Revolutionary War on January 5, 1779 near Lamberton, now called Lamington,[4] in Somerset County, New Jersey.

Pike's military career included working on logistics and payroll at a series of frontier posts, including Fort Bellefontaine near St. Louis. General James Wilkinson, appointed Governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory and headquartered there, became his mentor.

Pike was promoted to captain during the southwestern expedition. In 1811, Lt. Col. Zebulon M. Pike with the 4th Infantry Regiment fought at the Battle of Tippecanoe. He was promoted to colonel in 1812. Pike's military career also included serving as deputy quartermaster-general in New Orleans and inspector-general during the War of 1812.

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