Thursday, December 22, 2005

Captain Shreve's Snagboat Camp

In 1833 Captain Henry Miller Shreve, Superintendent of Western River Improvement, began dismantling the 165 mile long log jam known as the Red River or Great Raft.  Shreve had earlier invented the snag boat and his creation had a jaw-like bow that could yank snags and tree trunks out of the water.  The trees and snags were then cut up with a saw mill on the boat’s deck.

In 1835, the Shreve Town Company was formed by eight businessmen at the site of Captain Shreve’s camp.  When a rival group started a nearby town they called Coates Bluff, the Shreve Town Company hired Captain Shreve to divert the river slightly.  He did so, leaving Coates Bluff without access to the Red River.

Today, Shreveport, named in Captain Henry Miller Shreve’s honor, is Louisiana’s second largest city and Coates Bluff little more than a faded memory.