The newspaper reporter who reported on the launch of the ROBT E. LEE was right on when he closed the article with "If she is not a screamer to run, it will not be John Cannons fault." Almost from the day she started running the Louisville Daily Courier had articles about the LEE's speed, but,apparently, she did not live-up to the speed that Cannon wanted. Less than a year after her launch the paper reported the following on July 6,1867:
"The Robert E. Lee has but laid up at Mound City (just up the Ohio above Cairo) to await the opening of the fall campaign. She has run a season of nine months and is now just as good as new. In the meantime her water wheels and shaft are to be raised some eighteen inches, which will give her paddles more clearance. If not, more power".
Just think of what all raising the wheels and shafts entailed, changing the angle of the engine beds, realigning the engines, etc. Why didn't Cannon just shave 18" off the diameter of the wheels?
As a side note....I read where Jim Howard said that the owners of cotton packets tried to contract with the shipyards so that their new vessel would be ready about mid-summer so that they could operate the boat a couple of months before the cotton season started. That way the could work out any "kinks" in their new boat before they went to work in earnest.