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The Drawings
of the Mississippi River Steamer

'ROB'T. E. LEE'

'ROB'T. E. LEE' Oatboard Profile

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 1


'ROBERT E. LEE' Profile
Half Breadth Plan

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 2


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Main Deck Plan

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 3


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Tween Deck Plan

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 4


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Boiler Deck Plan

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 5


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Roof Deck Plan

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 6


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Stern View

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 7


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Bow View

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 7


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Typical Section

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 7


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Side of Port Engine

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 8


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Plan of Engine

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 8


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Section thru Boiler

1/8'' = 1'-0''
1:96

Sheet Number 8


'ROB'T. E. LEE'
Lettering Style

3/8'' = 1'-0''
1:32

Sheet Number 9


'ROBERT. E. LEE'
Raylings and Drappery

3/8'' = 1'-0''
1:32

Sheet Number 9


The ROB'T. E. LEE was built for Captain John W. Cannon at New Albany, Indiana, in 1866 by Hill, Roberts & Co. Her hull design is credited to DeWitt Hill and it was a masterpiece of carrying capacity and speed. She was a 6,000 bale boat designed to carry that quantity of cotton without obstructing the boiler deck passengers views. She cost more than $200,000.00.

The New Albany Ledger described her on October 6, 1866, the day before she departed:

'The cabin and outfit of this great southern steamer surpasses that of any boat that has yet graced the trade, and her accommodations are on the same scale of grandeur and magnificence. She has sixty one staterooms in the main cabin, twenty four extra rooms in the texas for passengers, a nursery for servants and children, and a cabin adjoining the nursery in which are staterooms for fifty passengers. .. The main cabin carpet is a single piece 17 ½ feet wide and upwards of 225 feet in length, a royal Winton velvet purchased of A. T. Stewart of New York and made to order. The furniture also made to order, all of modern style and costly materials in fact solid rosewood, the chairs, sofas, sociables, etc., most artistically and elaborately carved. The cushions of all seats are heavy crimson satin, and the style of the furniture is of new and original design, all made in this city at the manufactory of John Sim. She has 20 extension dining tables in the main cabin, each to accommodate twelve guests; thus seating 240 for dinner with plenty of room for extra side tables. .. The machinery of the ROB'T. E. LEE consists of feet stroke, the largest high pressure engines on the river. .. The doctor is considered a triumph of the medical art, it being a new style of with the parallel motion applied. It supplies the boiler with water and can throw an immense volume. The boat is also furnished with three separate pumping fire engines with an abundance of hose to use in case of fire. .. She was wrought iron shafts weighing 18,750 pounds, the shafts being each 23 feet in length, with the journals 18 inches in diameter. Each of the cranks, which are also of wrought iron, weigh 6,000 pounds. These were all made east of the Alleghenies and are the largest ever constructed for a western steamer. The texas is 140 feet in length, with 24 passengers rooms in addition to the accommodations for officers. She also has two immense baggage rooms, all under guard. .. to obviate the necessary of carrying baggage in the cabins or on guard. .. The cabin with its rich garniture and splendid furniture, dazzling chandeliers, arched and fretted ceilings, etched with gold, stained glass skylights, immense mirrors, the velvet carpet, the pure zinc white of sides, the rosewood state room doors, and the imitation Egyptian marble stills, all combined to make it bear an appearance of Oriental luxury and splendor seldom conceived an never before seen floating the wild waters of this so-called semi-barbarian western world. ..'

The boat was built to run between Vicksburg, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana. When business was dull in that area she would run between New Orleans and St. Louis, Missouri, or between New Orleans an Louisville, Kentucky. It was at such a time in late June and early July, 1870, that she gained undying fame. Captain Thomas P. Leathers new Steamer NATCHEZ and ROB'T. E. LEE were scheduled to leave at the same time on June 30. Both were bound for St. Louis. The ROB'T. E. LEE departed four minutes ahead of the NATCHEZ and was never really challenged. She arrived six hours and thirty three minutes ahead of her rival on July 4. Her time was 3 days, 18 hours and 14 minutes. NO commercial boat has beaten it to this day. The race was a big sporting event and hundreds of thousands of dollars were bet on the outcome.

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