Boat Name: Robert E. Lee
Year Launched: 1866
Country: United States
Constructed at: The Howard in New Albany
Size: Length 300 feet, width 40 feet, height 10 feet
Engines: 2 steam engines, 8 boilers

Actual Dimensions of Model: Scale 1/150. Length 25 inches, Height 13 inches.
Year Model Built: May 9, 2009 – July 20, 2009
Model Construction Hours: 390

Historical Significance:
The first highways in America which permitted the growth of commerce & transport were the great rivers. However, the varying depth & tides of these rivers did not allow for the use of normal boats. The goods were loaded instead on enormous rafts which floated down the Ohio & Mississippi to be transferred at New Orleans onto ships which brought them to their destinations.

The advent of steam & the brilliant ideas of Fulton & Livingston, first & exclusive constructor of riverboats, permitted the upstream navigation of rivers. These steamboats were gradually perfected and both people & goods could be transported rapidly.

The paddlewheels were driven by enormous steam engines and could be positioned at the stern or on each side of the boat, but were vulnerable to accidents. In attempts to increase the maximum speed, ship owners adopted boilers at very high pressure with the consequent high risk of explosion.

The search for speed inspired marvelous competitions, an victory meant being the fastest boat on the “Great River” and thus in the entire world. One of the most famous races was that between the Natchez and the Robert e lee, held in 1870 between New Orleans & St Louis. After 750 miles of water and three days, 18 hours & 14 minutes the Robert E Lee crossed the finish line a winner.