Wednesday, September 17, 2008

1864 Civil War Letter Horace Holton

1864 Civil War Letter written by a Mississippi Riverboat Captain relating to work on the river with his Sidewheeler - the "Polar Star". The letter is dated December 2nd, 1864 from St. Louis, Missouri and written to Horace Holton's cousin George at Charlestown, New Hampshire.
The Letter reads in part: "Dear Coz George, /I think you owe me one but I will overlook it. I have had a gay old time since I wrote you. been 9days, most all long ones on a sand bar in the middle of the "big Muddy" only 40 miles below the City. I loaded my Polar Star for Duval Bluffs, Ak and started with an old hull in tow for Cairo on the 19th of Nov. and when 20 miles down struck a bar & snapped all my tow lines like pack thread. The boat wiggled off without difficulty & I caught the hull before she grounded & again we went on our way rejoicing. About 40 miles below at Herculaneum bar we grounded again and our hull floated 4 miles down the river & lodged on a sand bar... It took me 3 days to get the boat off and 6 days to get the hull off and then the water had fallen so much I had to leave it and 1105 sks (sacks?) of oats & sending the other boat along, come back to get another boat to tow the hull and take the oat along. Total loss by detention $4,000... This is some of the beauties of Steamboating, How would you like it when you come out West to see me, I will take you down the river, if I own a boat then, and let you see for yourself.... / Yours, (signed)H. H.".

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