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Presidential Civil War Dispatch Stmr. RIVER QUEEN -Rex Stewart

Posted 07-25-2011 at 07:58 AM by Rex Stewart

This year marks the 150th Anniversary of America's Civil War. The States, as we know, were divided on economic, political and civil issues which also led, 100 years later, to another event of civil unrest -the Civil Rights Movement.

During the Civil War, steamboats played an important role in the Nation's naval operations. They were converted to gunboats and ferried troops and supplies to battle areas, and were used to dispatch generals and officials to conferences during the height of conflict.

Such a vessel used for this service was the steamboat RIVER QUEEN. Built in Keyport, N.J. in 1864 by Benjamin C. Terry the steamer measured 181.0 feet on the hull with a beam of 28.5 feet. She was acquired by General Grant of the Union Army to operate as a dispatch boat for both himself and President Abraham Lincoln. It was on board RIVER QUEEN that a preliminary peace conference bewteen Lincoln and Confederate Vice President A.H. Stephens took place.

The President made frequent trips on the steamer to visit troops stationed south of the Capital and was on board her two days before his assassination. After the war RIVER QUEEN operated between Providence and Newport before being sold to the Martha's Vineyard Company where she ran between there, the mainland and Nantucket.

I recently produced a scratchbuilt model of RIVER QUEEN which is currently on display for the summer months at the Falmouth Historical Society on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the town of Falmouth. The model is thoroughly researched and highly detailed based on the photo data I was able to acquire from various sources. The model is of wood and is at a scale of 1/8" in. = 1'. Enclosed are images of this famous steamboat which I'm sharing with you all.

These sidewheelers and their fancy paddleboxes are most appealing for the period. I'm thankful to have the ability to preserve this era of vessel in miniature.

Rex Stewart
Total Comments 1


Rex: I've been operating custom designed Civil War tours and cruises for 2 decades. Thanks for posting this. I also live in MA so it's wonderful to see that she sailed from the mainland to Nantucket too. I have used the Delta Queen for cruises focusing on the CW in the past and now use her as a symposium site and bring historians onboard and do tours with Jim Ogden. I will be working with the American Queen and her Civil War cruises next year, so I do so appreciate this information.
Posted 07-25-2011 at 12:35 PM by Charlene Corris Charlene Corris is offline

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