Great Raft

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The Great Raft was a gigantic logjam or series of "rafts" that clogged the Red and Atchafalaya Rivers and was unique in North America.

Origin[edit]

The Great Raft probably began forming around 1100–1200 AD.[citation needed] It grew faster at its upper end than the lower end decayed or washed out, leading to its peak length spanning more than 160 miles/250 km in the early 1830s. The raft, at one point, extended for 165 miles from Loggy Bayou to Carolina Bluffs.[1]

Characteristics[edit]

At the beginning of the 1800s, the Raft extended from Campti, Louisiana to around Shreveport.[1] The raft blocked the mouth of Twelvemile Bayou, impeding settlement in the area west of Shreveport.[1] There were many smaller logjams on the Red.[1]

Removal[edit]

Steamboat builder and river captain Henry Miller Shreve (1785–1851) began systematically removing the Great Raft, a task that was continued by others until the latter part of the 19th century. For his efforts the city of Shreveport, Louisiana, was named after him.

When Shreve began work the Raft was 8 miles directly below to 17 miles directly above Shreveport.[1]

Captain Shreve had removed the raft up to the mouth of Twelvemile Bayou in April 1835.[1] Shreve concluded this work in 1838, having removed the last impediment to navigation on the Red River.[1]

Second Great Raft[edit]

Although Shreve had completely removed the raft it reformed later farther up the river. The new foot was at the head of the old Raft.[1] This was near today's Belcher, Louisiana.[1] The second Raft gradually extended until it reached the Arkansas state line.[1] Lieutenant Eugene Woodruff succeeded in removing this second raft in 1873.[1][2]

Consequences[edit]

The removal of the logjams hastened the capture of the Mississippi River's waters by the Atchafalaya River and forced the US Army Corps of Engineers to build the multibillion dollar Old River Control Structure.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Tyson, Carl N. The Red River in Southwestern History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981. ISBN 0-8061-1659-5
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Holbrook, Stewart (2007). Lost Men of American History. Read Books. p. 404. ISBN 1-4067-3205-2. ISBN 9781406732054. 
  2. ^ Bagur, Jacques (2001). A History of Navigation on Cypress Bayout and the Lakes. Denton, Texas, United States of America: University of North Texas Press. p. 821. ISBN 1-57441-135-7. ISBN 9781574411355. 

External links[edit]