Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Re: Lewis and Clark, and River Navigation
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2003 Dec 3, 23:45 +0000

    Frank Reed said-
    >The Mississippi from Cairo north to St. Louis and beyond is entrenched.
    >That means its course is stable on a time scale of centuries. South of Cairo,
    >the river (before the USACE projects of the 20th century) used to whip back and
    >forth cutting new channels and cutting off meander bends at an astounding
    >rate. Similarly, there are stretches of the Missouri that are completely
    >stable on
    >a historical time scale and one large section (from Kansas City to the Dakota
    >border, IIRC) that meandered significantly during the past 200 years.
    That's useful information to me. It confirms my own findings that Lewis and
    Clark's astronomical positions generally correspond well with their
    descriptions of where they were, in relation to the settlements and
    landmarks along their route, North from Cairo toward St Louis. Mark Twain
    describes this section as rocky, and this is also clear from the L&C
    journals. I would expect the unstable meanders to occur in the flatter
    However, there must have been at least one instability in the St
    Louis-Cairo section. According to Gary Moulton, editor of the 13-vol L&C
    journals, the Mississippi has, since L&C's time, captured and taken over
    the lower stretch of the Kaskasia River, to form a large island. My Times
    Atlas of 1957 shows at Kaskaskia a large chunk of Illinois territory on the
    Missouri side of the river. I've seen a more recent map in which the river
    seems to be back where it was: perhaps due to revetment work in the
    >3) There is a mapping coverage available at various places on the net
    >(including USGS) that shows details of most of the Missouri River in its
    >sections as of about 1890. There's next to nothing available before then.
    There exists useful mapping from the University of Missouri which covers
    all the campsites used by L&C, starting from Cairo, showing an
    interpretation of L&Cs track and observation points. It provides "historic
    hydrography" of the river, with a modern map superimposed (but not lat and
    long). I haven't made a study of this mapping, yet. The first map, of the
    Cairo junction, which is where they arrived on 14 Nov 1803, is at-
    (In that address, the "1804" looks wrong, but isn't. It's actually a
    contraction for the navigation season that each map series covers, in this
    case 1803-1804.)
    Clark drew a map of the river junction at Cairo, which is given in Moulton
    vol. 2 as fig.1, and I must say it differs significantly from the "historic
    hydrography" of that website map.
    Thanks to list members for useful pointers to web mapping. However, I'm one
    of those old-fashioned souls who greatly enjoys reading a well-printed map
    on a nice big fold-up sheet of paper. It's nearly as good as actually being
    there. I wonder how many others feel the same way.
    contact George Huxtable by email at george@huxtable.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site