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Army Corp of Engineers river snagboat
C. R. Suter photographs, ca. 1885
(Mss. 4966) Inventory
Compiled by
Mark E. Martin
Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections
Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library
Louisiana State University Libraries
Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University
2006
SUMMARY
20 photographs ranging in size from 6" X 8.25" to
Size
13.25" X 16.5" mounted on boards ranging in size from
10" X 12" to 18" X 20".
Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania
Geographic Locations
ca. 1885
Inclusive Dates
English
Languages
20 mounted photographs of US Army Corps of
Summary
Engineers snagboats
No restrictions on access
Access Restrictions
Photographic and digital reproductions may be created
Reproduction Note
Copyright of the original materials in this collection has
Copyright
expired, and they are therefore in the public domain.
Map of a reconnaissance of the Mississippi River from
Related Collections
Cairo, Ill's. To New Orleans, La.
Army Corp of Engineers river snagboat photographs,
Citation
ca. 1885, Mss. 4966, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi
Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.
OS:A
Stack Location(s)
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE
Brigadier General Charles Russell Suter (1842 - 1920) graduated from the United State
Military Academy at West Point in 1862, served throughout the Civil War, and was a
prominent figure in the post-war mapping and "improvement" of the Mississippi River. In
the 1870s he created the work, Map of a reconnaissance of the Mississippi River from
Cairo, Ill's. to New Orleans, La. To accompany the report on that portion of the third
subdivision of the Mississippi route to the seaboard made in accordance with an Act of
Congress approved June 23rd, 1874, published in 1878. The Map was published as an
atlas consisting of 31 sections (scale 1 inch: 1 mile) showing sand, wrecks, five kinds of
riparian woods, towns, cities, and plantations.
The Corp of Engineers honored Suter for his work by naming a river snagboat after him,
ca. 1885. Unfortunately, then-current Army rules disallowed naming of a vessel after a
living person. As Charles R. Suter ranked a Major at the time - was alive and serving
on the Corps' Missouri River commission, the snagboat was renamed Missouri and
spent most of her operational life on the lower Missouri River with occasional activity
further up-river.
James Reese & Sons, Pittsburg, PA., began construction of the C.R. Suter in 1885.
Three years later, the C.R. Suter began operating on the Missouri River pulling snags,
clearing drift heaps and stumps, and felling trees. She had an overall length of 187 feet,
an overall beam of 52 feet, a depth of 7 feet, and displaced 510 tons. Her boilers
generated steam at 100 pounds per square inch to power steam engines turning her
side-wheels sufficiently to run 5 miles per hour upstream and 12 miles per hours
downstream. Construction contract cost was $115,000.00. There is no record of her
finish cost with outfitting.
After operating on the Missouri River for 40 years, the Missouri burned at Gasconade,
MO., 1928 July 29. The wreck was dragged behind a dike that broke off the next year
exposing the wreck. The dredge Kappa disposed of the remains in 1929.
Sources:
US Army Corps of Engineers, Office of the Chief of Engineers. Annual Report of the
Chief of Engineers, 1914. Appendix KKK: Statement of floating plant owned by the
United States and employed in the Engineer Department at large for the fiscal year
ending June 30, 1914. Washington, D.C.: Superintendent of Documents, Government
Printing Office, 1914.
Way, Frederick. Way's Packet directory, 1848-1983: passenger steamboats of the
Mississippi River system since the advent of photography in mid-continent America /
compiled by Frederick Way, Jr. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University, c1983.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
These 20 photographic images provide visual documentation of 3 different aspects of
the Corps of Engineers river fleet:
1. Four images show the Mississippi River fleet winter quarters in Chester, Illinois,
January 1887. Of these four, the first 2 images provide different views of the fleet
iced in at winter quarters. The next 2 are the same print of the U. S. snagboat
Horatio G. Wright in winter quarters.
2. A single image shows the U. S. snagboat John R. Meigs moored at the river's
edge, perhaps in St. Louis.
3. Fifteen images document the construction (11 images) and operation (4 images)
of the U. S. snagboat C. R. Suter later renamed Missouri.
In one of the construction images, pasted to a pole near the construction site, is a
poster with the date 1885. One of the later images of the C. R. Suter in operation
includes an American flag with 38 stars, which dates it to some time before November
1889. Using this internal evidence we have dated these images no earlier than 1885
and no later than November 1889.
LIST OF SERIES
Series I.
Mississippi River Fleet winter quarters, Chester, Illinois, 1887.
Series II.
U. S. snagboat John R. Meigs
Series III.
Construction of the U. S. snagboat C. R. Suter
Series IV.
Operation of the U. S. snagboat C. R. Suter
SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
Series I.
Four images show the Mississippi River Fleet winter quarters,
Chester, Illinois, 1887.
Series II.
One image shows the U. S. snagboat John R. Meigs in St Louis,
Mo.
Series III.
Eleven images show the construction of the U. S. snagboat C. R.
Suter
Series IV.
Four images show the U. S. snagboat C. R. Suter in operation
INDEX TERMS
Term
Found in
C.R. Suter (snagboat) --Photographs
496606 - 496620
Government vessels--United States--Photographs
496601-496620
Horatio G. Wright (snagboat) --Photographs
496603, 496604
John R. Meigs (snagboat) --Photographs
496605
Shipbuilding--United States--Photographs
496606 - 496615
Ships--United States--Photographs
496601-496620
United States. Army. Corps of Engineers.
496601-496620
CONTAINER LIST
Stack
Item
Location
Box
Folder(s) Number
Contents (with dates)
1
496601
Mississippi River Commission Fleet in winter
OS:A
1
quarters, Chester, IL, January 1887
496602
Mississippi River Commission Fleet in winter
quarters, Chester, IL, January 1887
496603
U. S. snagboat Horatio G. Wright in winter
quarters, Chester, IL, January 1887
496604
Second print of U. S. snagboat Horatio G.
Wright in winter quarters, Chester, IL,
January 1887
2
496605
U. S. snagboat John R. Meigs moored at
river's edge, St Louis, MO, ca. 1890
3
496606
Bird's-eye-view starboard side of C.R. Suter
under construction, keel and ribs laid, no hull
cladding
4
496607
Second print of image above on larger mount
5
496608
C.R. Suter under construction, camera looks
forward from aft, stern completely clad
6
496609
C.R. Suter under construction, keel and ribs
laid, partial hull cladding, camera looking aft
from bow
7
496610
Second print of image above
8
496611
C.R. Suter under construction, partial hull
cladding, camera looking aft from bow
9
496612
Bird's-eye-view of C.R. Suter under
construction, three-quarter view from
starboard side aft
10
496613
Bird's-eye-view of C.R. Suter under
construction, three-quarter view from
starboard side forward
11
496614
C.R. Suter under construction, camera at
ground level looking forward from stern
12
496615
C.R. Suter under construction, camera at
ground level looking aft from bow
13
496616
C.R. Suter under construction, camera on
river bank looking at newly launched hull in
river
14
496617
Commissioned C.R. Suter moored riverside
with snag being pulled aboard, camera looks
aft from forward port side
15
496618
Commissioned C.R. Suter moored riverside
with snag being pulled aboard, camera looks
amidships
16
496619
Commissioned C.R. Suter moored riverside
with snag being pulled aboard, camera looks
aft from a few points off port bow
17
496620
Commissioned C.R. Suter moored riverside
with snag being pulled aboard, camera looks
forward from aft port side