Awaiting The Winner

July 3, 1870

This apparently passed for great entertainment, the great river race from New Orleans to St. Louis between steamboats Robert E. Lee and The Natchez, and the locals were hyped when it reached the Bluff City.

The 20,000 gathered on the riverfront were so anxious to see something they first welcomed the wrong boat.

About 20 minutes past 10 o’clock the cry arose, “There she comes!” – and amid the roar of cannon and the blaze of bonfires the Thompson Dean came sailing into port.

The disappointment, however, was of short duration for a few minutes before 11 o’clock the Lee rounded the point below the city and landed at the St. Louis wharfboat at 11:10 amid cheers and the wildest excitement.

If you’re curious, the Lee, the so-called "Monarch of the Mississippi," went on to claim victory, making the trip in 3 days, 18 hours and 14 minutes, nearly four hours ahead of its rival.