Modern history

The Great American Steamboat Race: The Natchez and the Robert E. Lee and the Climax of an Era

The Great American Steamboat Race: The Natchez and the Robert E. Lee and the Climax of an Era

Running from New Orleans to St. Louis in the summer of 1870, the race between the Robert E. Lee and the Natchez remains the world's most famous steamboat race. This book tells the story of the dramatic contest, which was won by the stripped-down, cargoless Robert E. Lee after three days, 18 hours, and 14 minutes of steaming through day, night and fog. The Natchez finished the race only hours later, having been delayed by carrying her normal load and tying up overnight because of the intense fog. Providing details on not only the race narrative but also on the boats themselves, the book gives an intimate look at the majestic vessels that conquered the country's greatest waterway and defined the bravado of 19th-century America.

Part One. The Big Event

Chapter 1. The Start

Chapter 2. The Course

Chapter 3. The Early Going

Part Two. The Origins

Chapter 4. The Pioneers

Chapter 5. A Different Kind of Boat

Chapter 6. Captain Shreve’s Design

Chapter 7. The Proliferation

Part Three. The Circumstances

Chapter 8. The Sweet Life on the Mississippi

Chapter 9. The Hard-Working Life

Chapter 10. Owners and Officers

Chapter 11. The Perils

Part Four. The Outcome

Chapter 12. On to Cairo

Chapter 13. The Fog

Chapter 14. Celebration in St. Louis