THE GREAT BOAT RACE
July 15, 1870
Newton Press, Jasper County, IL

Transcribed by Kim Torp


ST. LOUIS, JULY 4 [1870]

6 p.m. - The steamer Robt. E. Lee arrived at 11:25 a.m. in three days, 18 hours and 14 minutes from New Orleans, beating the Natchez, and on her last trip 3 hours and 45 minutes, and the Jas. M. White's famous time of 4 hours, 45 minutes.

The Natchez was detained by a heavy fog below Grand Tower, 125 miles below here, and didn't pass that house until 8:30 a.m.

The following is the time the steamer R.E. Lee made to the principal points on her trip from New Orleans, taken from the steamer's "log":

Donald's Nette, 4 hours, 10 minutes;
Baton Rouge, 8 hours, 25 minutes
Red River, 12 hours 56 minutes
Natchez, 17 hours, 10 minutes
Grand Gulf, 22 hours, 6 minutes
Vicksburg, 1 day, 38 minutes
Lake Providence, 1 day, 5 hours, 47 minutes
White River, 1 day, 16 hours, 56 minutes
Helena, 1 day, 23 hours, 25 minutes
Memphis, 2 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes
New Madrid, 2 days, 19 hours, 50 minutes
Cairo, 3 days, 1 hour
St. Louis, 3 days, 18 hours, 30 minutes

The trip was one ovation from the first to the last along the river. Thousands flocked ever from many miles of the interior to see the racer pass, and bonfires, cannons, anvils and everything that could shoot, were brought into use to give vent to their feelings on the occasion.
The crowd on the levee here was immense. The bank of the river was lined with people from Carondolet to the above city, distance six miles, and the windows and house tops along the city in front of the river, were filled with enthusiastic spectators. No similar event ever caused such excitement, or brought out such crowds. A million dollars probably changed hands on the result of this race.

St. Louis, July 5 - Capt. Leathers, of the City of Natchez, claims that, deducting 6 hours laid up by fog, between here and Cairo, and 36 minutes lost repairing the pumps below Helena, the Natchez beat the Lee in time some 20 minutes.


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