The Tennessee River is also connected to ther port of Mobile, AL, by the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Tennessee River was explored as early as 1540 by Hernando DeSoto's Spanish Expedition, travelling this river from today's Chattanooga to Guntersville.
The first steamboat being seen on the Tennessee River most likely was in 1821. In February 1822 the ROCKET arrived at Florence. In 1828 the ATLAS made it eventually up to Knoxville, while regular traffic between Knoxville and Decatur, AL, was in place by around 1835.