The steamboat Robert. E.
Lee was built soon after the end of the Civil War for
the cotton trade between Vicksburg and New Orleans. She
had a reputation as a fast, comfortable boat
distinguished by "the rich deep tone of her bell, and
the loud noise produced by the escapement of steam from
Robert. E. Lee's greatest competition was the most
celebrated steamer Natchez. Shortly after the latter
broke a quarter-century-old record between New Orleans
and St. Louis, the two vessels were prepared in New
Orleans for a historic race on June 30, 1870. Natchez
for St. Louis while Lee for Louisville.
Newspapers of the day reckoned that millions of dollars
were wagered on the outcome of the race which attracted
international attention. The Lee’s three-day, 18-hour,
and 14-minute victory was an upset for the favored title
holder, the Natchez. Along the way Lee also broke
records from New Orleans to Vicksburg, and to Cairo. The
trophy awarded was a huge set of golden elk antlers,
which are now on display at the Old Courthouse Museum in
Lee ran until 1876, proving herself very profitable for
her owner with over 5,000 bales of cotton on her regular
runs from Vicksburg to New Orleans. After her
dismantlement, her hull became a beautiful wharf boat in
Memphis, Tennessee for many years later.
This model feature plank-on-frame
construction. All parts are wooden and metal.
38"L x 11"W x 17" T $1,200
S&H is $90
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