Steamboat Snag Boats, page 1



Elevation drawings of snag boat General S.M. Mansfield 1904

Dimensions within drawn rectangle: 14 1/4 X 17 3/4 inches

"Improvement of Trinity River, Texas
Plan and Section of Sternwheel Snag-Boat

Drawn under the Direction of Edgar Jadwin
Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Scale 1/8" = 1'

Chas. Schuster, Supt D.A. Watt Asst Eng'r

March 1 ~ 1904

Forwarded to the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army with report for fiscal yeard ending June 30 -1905 Edgar Jadwin - Captain, Corps of Eng'rs, U.S. Army"




Snagboat DAVID TIPTON circa 1904 - 1923 hard at work

Sidewheel Snagboat
Way's Packet Directory Number 1471

Built at Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1900 by Howard Ship Yards, under the name Col. A. MACKENZIE; renamed DAVID TIPTON circa 1904

Owned by the U.S. Engineering Department

Her skipper, Captain David Tipton, died at the wheel of the MACKENZIE on Lake Pepin, near Reads Landing, Minnesota September 22, 1904 and the boat was renamed in his honor. The U.S. Engineers operated her on the upper Mississippi River until 1920. Captain Frank Martin was her last master. She was sold at public sale conducted at Rock Island, Illinois, to Meyer Katz, St. Louis, and John F. Klein, Pittsburgh. In late 1923 she was sold to two Memphis, Tennessee railroad men, named Peel and Bachelor; who renamed her URSIE BOYCE. She was converted to a packet and put in the Memphis-White River trade and later became the CITY OF CAIRO.

Percy Ruby pilot, circa 1912
Levi King, Jr. chief engineer, 1916
Charles De Lisle pilot, March 1917


U.S. Corps of Engineers snagboat C.B. REESE circa 1939

Another new/old 8 x 10 print that arrived today, the 2nd of February 2017. On the back it is rubber stamped Memphis Tennessee COMMERCIAL APPEAL and the date written in pencil is April 23, 1939, 3 years prior to the REESE being sold and her hull recycled to built the towboat I.A. O'SHAUGNESSY.

The photo was taken at a tilted angle and the cropping on the east & west was very close to the bow and stern of the REESE. I plumbed up the photo during scanning then expanded sky, shore line and water in the river on the left and right sides to give the boat breathing room then cropped in above and below to give the picture a wider aperture. All original images are scanned at a high resolution to enable restoration then upon completion they are reduced for display here.

Sternwheel Snagboat

Way's Steam Towboat Directory Number T0310

Built in Carondelet, Missouri in 1879. Assigned to the United States Corps of Engineers, Memphis District (1879); later assigned to Corps in Little Rock District; Globe Oil and Refining Company (1942)

1906: Captain W.J. Ashford (commander), Captain Rees V. Downs (pilot)
1929: Captain Alex Ramsey (master)

Worked on the Arkansas and White rivers.

In 1906 the C.B. REESE went up the Arkansas River to clear away wrecks of boats destroyed by Confederates in the Civil War. Most wrecks were about 65 miles south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The loot included many cannon and a fair cargo of brass and copper. A whistle, made from brass, was later put on the C.B. REESE and stayed with her until her end. The boat wrecks removed were largely old packets, including the CEDAR RAPIDS, BRACELET, DISPATCH, ONLY CHANCE and BIG HORN.The C.B. REESE was working in the upper White River in 1927 and because of the failure of a railroad bridge at Georgetown, was forced to stay there two years, she got back out in March, 1929. In 1942 she was sold and taken to Slidell, Louisiana where her hull was used to build the towboat I.A. O'SHAUGNESSY.

recent acquisitions

Pilot house interior of the snagboat Horatio G. Wright featuring huge and impressive pilot wheel, what a Jim Dandy! The Wright was built 1880 at Carondolet, MO by Western Iron Boat Co. for the U.S. Engineers. It was dismantled in 1941. The man at the wheel is unidentified.

Horace Bixby spent the last years of his long career on the river as a pilot at the wheel of the Horatio G. Wright. Bixby was the pilot who "learned the river" to young Sam Clemens from 1857 until 1859 when Sam was awarded his Pilot's License.


COLUMBIA Sternwheel snagboat 1894—1917

Fred Way's Steam Towboat Directory
Originally the COLONEL HOOKER built in 1877 at Gainesville, Mississippi.
Purchased in 1888 at Shreveport, Louisiana by U.S. Engineers Dep't and renamed again in 1894 following a rebuilding with a new hull at Jeffersonville, Indiana. 116 x 24 x 3. Rebuilt again in 1900 at Madisonville, Louisiana, then measuring 121 x 26 x 3.3. Was at Vicksburg District through 1917.


Atmospheric river city landing with the Lee Line steamer LADY LEE center and the snagboat HORATIO G. WRIGHT on the right.


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*

All captions provided by Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian.