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in August. The inundation extends further on the western than eastern side, covering the lands in some places for fifty miles from its banks. Above the mouth of the Missouri it becomes much such a river as the Ohio, like it clear and gentle in its current, not quite so wide, the period of its floods nearly the same, but not rising to so great a height. The streets of the village at Cohoes are not more than ten feet above the ordinary level of the water, and yet were never overflowed. Its bed deepens every year. Cohoes, in the memory of many people now living, was insulated by every flood of the river. What was the eastern channel has now become a lake, nine miles in length and one in width, into which the river at this day never flows. This river yields turtle of a peculiar kind, perch, trout, gar, pike, mullets, herrings, carp, spatula-fish of fifty pounds weight, cat-fish of one hundred pounds weight, buffalo fish, and sturgeon. Aligators or crocodiles have been seen as high up as the Acansas. It also abounds in herons, cranes, ducks, brant, geese, and swans. Its passage is commanded by a fort established by this State, five miles below the mouth of the Ohio, and ten miles above the Carolina boundary.
The Missouri, since the treaty of Paris, the Illinois and northern branches of the Ohio, since the cession to Congress, are no longer within our limits. Yet having been so heretofore, and still opening to us channels of extensive communication with the western and north-western country, they shall be noted in their order.
The Missouri is, in fact, the principal river, contributing more to the common stream than does the Mississippi, even after its junction with the Illinois. It is remarkably cold, muddy, and rapid. Its overflowings are considerable. They happen during the months of June and July. Their commencement being so much later than those of the Mississippi, would induce a belief that the sources of the Missouri are northward of those of the Mississippi, unless we suppose that the cold increases again with the ascent of the land from the Mississippi westwardly. That this ascent is great, is proved by the rapidity of the river. Six miles above the mouth, it is brought within the compass of a
quarter of a mile's width; yet the Spanish merchants at Pancore, or St. Louis, say they go two thousand miles up it. It heads far westward of the Rio Norte, or North River. There is, in the villages of Kaskaskia, Cohoes, and St. Vincennes, no inconsiderable quantity of plate, said to have been plundered during the last war by the Indians from the churches and private houses of Santa Fé, on the North river, and brought to the villages for sale. From the mouth of the Ohio to Sante Fé are forty days Journey, or about one thousand miles. What is the shortest distance between the navigable waters of the Missouri, and those of the North river, or how far this is navigable above Santa Fé, I could never learn. From Santa Fé to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico is about twelve hundred miles. The road from New Orleans to Mexico crosses this river at the post of Rio Norte, eight hundred miles below Santa Fé, and from this post to New Orleans is about twelve hundred miles; thus making two thousand miles between Santa Fé and New Orleans, passing down the North river, Red river, and Mississippi; whereas it is two thousand two hundred and thirty through the Missouri and Mississippi. From the same post of Rio Norte, passing near the mines of La Sierra and Laiguana, which are between the North river, and the river Salina to Sartilla, is three hundred and seventy-five miles, and from thence, passing the mines of Charcas, Zaccatecas, and Potosi, to the city of Mexico, is three hundred and seventyfive miles; in all, one thousand five hundred and fifty miles from Santa Fé to the city of Mexico. From New Orleans to the city of Mexico is about one thousand nine hundred and fifty miles; the roads after setting out from the Red river, near Natchitoches, keeping generally parallel with the coast, and about two hundred miles from it, till it enters the city of Mexico.
The Illinois is a fine river, clear, gentle, and without rapids; insomuch that it is navigable for batteaux to its source. From thence is a portage of two miles only to the Chicago, which affords a batteau navigation of sixteen miles to its entrance into lake Michigan. The Illinois, about ten miles above its mouth, is three hundred yards wide.
The Kaskaskia is one hundred yards wide at its entrance into
the Mississippi, and preserves that breadth to the Buffalo plains, seventy miles above. So far, also, it is navigable for loaded batteaux, and perhaps much further. It is not rapid.
The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth. Its current gentle, waters clear, and bosom smooth and unbroken by rocks and rapids, a single instance only excepted.
It is one-quarter of a mile wide at Fort Pitt, five hundred yards at the mouth of the Great Kanhaway, one mile and twenty-five poles at Louisville, one-quarter of a mile on the rapids three or four miles below Louisville, half a mile where the low country begins, which is twenty miles above Green river, a mile and a quarter at the receipt of the Tennessee, and a mile wide at the mouth.
Its length, as measured according to its meanders by Captain Hutchins, is as follows:
From Fort Pitt
In common winter and spring tides it affords fifteen feet water to Louisville, ten feet to Le Tarte's rapids, forty miles above the mouth of the great Kanhaway, and a sufficiency at all times for light batteaux and canoes to Fort Pitt. The rapids are in latitude 38° 8'. The inundations of this river begin about the last of March, and subside in July. During these, a first-rate manof-war may be carried from Louisville to New Orleans, if the sudden turns of the river and the strength of its current will ad
mit a safe steerage. The rapids at Louisville descend about thirty feet in a length of a mile and a half. The bed of the river there is a solid rock, and is divided by an island into two branches, the southern of which is about two hundred yards wide, and is dry four months in the year. The bed of the northern branch is worn into channels by the constant course of the water, and attrition of the pebble stones carried on with that, so as to be passable for batteaux through the greater part of the Yet it is thought that the southern arm may be the most easily opened for constant navigation. The rise of the waters in these rapids does not exceed ten or twelve feet. A part of this island is so high as to have been never overflowed, and to command the settlement at Louisville, which is opposite to it. The fort, however, is situated at the head of the falls. The ground on the south side rises very gradually.
The Tennessee, Cherokee, or Hogohege river, is six hundred yards wide at its mouth, a quarter of a mile at the mouth of Holston, and two hundred yards at Chotee, which is twenty miles above Holston, and three hundred miles above the mouth of the Tennessee. This river crosses the southern boundary of Virginia, fifty-eight miles from the Mississippi. Its current is moderate. It is navigable for loaded boats of any burden to the Muscle shoals, where the river passes through the Cumberland mountain. These shoals are six or eight miles long, passable downwards for loaded canoes, but not upwards, unless there be a swell in the river. Above these the navigation for loaded canoes and batteaux continues to the Long island. This river has its inundations also. Above the Chickamogga towns is a whirlpool called the Sucking-pot, which takes in trunks of trees or boats, and throws them out again half a mile below. It is avoided by keeping very close to the bank, on the south side. There are but a few miles portage between a branch of this river and the navigable waters of the river Mobile, which runs into the Gulf of Mexico.
Cumberland, or Shawanee river, intersects the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina sixty-seven miles from the Mississippi, and again one hundred and ninety-eight miles from
the same river, a little above the entrance of Obey's river into the Cumberland. Its Clear fork crosses the same boundary about three hundred miles from the Mississippi. Cumberland is a very gentle stream, navigable for loaded batteaux eight hundred miles, without interruption; then intervene some rapids of fifteen miles in length, after which it is again navigable seventy miles upwards, which brings you within ten miles of the Cumberland mountains. It is about one hundred and twenty yards wide through its whole course, from the head of its navigation to its mouth.
The Wabash is a very beautiful river, four hundred yards wide at the mouth, and three hundred at St. Vincennes, which is a post one hundred miles above the mouth, in a direct line. Within this space there are two small rapids, which give very little obstruction to the navigation. It is four hundred yards wide at the mouth, and navigable thirty leagues upwards for canoes and small boats. From the mouth of Maple river to that of Eel river is about eighty miles in a direct line, the river continuing navigable, and from one to two hundred yards in width. The Eel river is one hundred and fifty yards wide, and affords at all times navigation for periaguas, to within eighteen miles of the Miami of the Lake. The Wabash, from the mouth of Eel river to Little river, a distance of fifty miles direct, is interrupted with frequent rapids and shoals, which obstruct the navigation, except in a swell. Little river affords navigation during a swell to within three miles of the Miami, which thence affords a similar navigation into Lake Erie, one hundred miles distant in a direct line. The Wabash overflows periodically in correspondence with the Ohio, and in some places two leagues from its banks.
Green River is navigable for loaded batteaux at all times fifty miles upwards; but it is then interrupted by impassable rapids, above which the navigation again commences and continues good thirty or forty miles to the mouth of Barren river.
Kentucky River is ninety yards wide at the mouth, and also at Boonsborough, eighty miles above. It affords a navigation for loaded batteaux one hundred and eighty miles in a direct line, in the winter tides.