MV Mississippi

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MV Mississippi
On left, with barge used to reduce bow wave.
Name: MV Mississippi
Owner: United States Army Corps of Engineers
Port of registry: Memphis, Tennessee
Builder: VT Halter Marine, Inc., Moss Point, MS
Laid down: 1992-03-31
Completed: 1993
Status: In Service
General characteristics
Tonnage: 2600 tons
Displacement: 2135 tons
Length: 241 ft
Beam: 58 ft
Height: 52 ft 1½ in
Draft: 8 ft
Depth: 12 ft
Installed power: 3 Caterpillar 3408 diesels at 350 K.W.
Propulsion: 3 Caterpillar 3606 diesels (6276 hp. total) turning 3 5-blade 93-inch-diameter (2,400 mm) propellers
Speed: 15 mph; 8 mph with tow
Crew: 36

The M/V Mississippi is a United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) towboat operating on the Mississippi River. It is the largest diesel towboat on the river.

Working boat[edit]

The M/V Mississippi is a working towboat for the USACE Memphis District of the Mississippi Valley Division. Ninety percent of the time it is moving barges, equipment and supplies in support of mat sinking operations. It also serves as an inspection boat for the Mississippi River Commission (MRC) during a high- and low-water inspection trip each year. Commissioners hold meetings at river towns in the boat's hearing room, which can seat 115 people. Its dining room has a capacity of 85 people. The boat has 22 staterooms and can handle 150 passengers. The Corps also uses it as a "giant floating ambassador".[1]

During the Hurricane Katrina crisis, the Mississippi was moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi and used as a floating command center.[2]


There have been five USACE vessels of this name.


Steamer Mississippi was built in St. Louis in 1882. It was used by the MRC for its spring and fall inspection trips from St. Louis to New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1919 it was renamed the Piomingo after being transferred to what is now the Memphis District, where it served as a towboat for many more years.[3]

Mississippi II[edit]

Steamer Leota was built in 1899 as a dredge tender. Selected in 1920 as the new MRC inspection vessel, two years later it was rebuilt and re-designated Mississippi.[3]

Mississippi III[edit]

The Becky Thatcher docked on Neville Island near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 17, 2009.
MV Mississippi is located in Pennsylvania
MV Mississippi
Location Final location was Neville Island, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°30′43.56″N 80°7′12.36″W / 40.5121000°N 80.1201000°W / 40.5121000; -80.1201000Coordinates: 40°30′43.56″N 80°7′12.36″W / 40.5121000°N 80.1201000°W / 40.5121000; -80.1201000
Area less than one acre
Built 1926
Architect U.S.Army Corps of Engineers
Architectural style Texas-deck sternwheeler
NRHP Reference # 83002066[4]
Added to NRHP September 21, 1983

Steamer Mississippi was a sternwheel, steam driven boat that was based upon the Mississippi II. After Mississippi II's hull and machinery were determined to no longer be serviceable in 1926, a new hull, boilers, and engines were built at Jeffersonville, Indiana. In 1927, the cabin from its predecessor was moved atop the new hull at Paducah, Kentucky. Used for inspecting and surveying along rivers, the boat continued in service until April 1961, when the USACE decommissioned it at Memphis, Tennessee. Converted to a museum and restaurant, it was in Saint Louis, Missouri until 1975.[5] While in Missouri, it was renamed Becky Thatcher,[6] after a character in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It was then moved to Marietta, Ohio, where it was the Showboat Becky Thatcher restaurant and theater in 1975. The boat was purchased by a group of interested citizens who planned to bring her to Marietta as part of the Bicentennial project. Those citizens formed a not-for-profit corporation, the Ohio Showboat Drama Inc., and in the summer of 1976, the musical Showboat was performed as part of the town's U.S Bicentennial celebration, by the Mid-Ohio Valley Players on the decks and an adjacent barge with 3,000 people watching from the shore. The boat was permanently moored on the Muskingum River, near where the mouth meets the Ohio River. The Becky Thatcher was entered into the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in September 1983.

In 1984, the boat sank during a spring flood with heavy damage to her hull and superstructure, but she was raised and returned after repairs for the 1985 season. The theatre operated until 2006. It was evicted from there by the City of Marietta and moved to Neville Island near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 17, 2009.[7][8] The boat was of particular interest because it was the last of the Texas-deck sternwheelers.[3] It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 21, 1983.[9] On the night of February 19, 2010,[10] during severe winter weather conditions,[11] the showboat Becky Thatcher sank at its mooring on Neville Island in the Ohio River.[10] Demolition of the boat began on Monday, March 8, 2010.[11] It was completely demolished and destroyed not long after that.

Mississippi IV[edit]

Motor Vessel Mississippi IV
Mississippi in the Kentucky Lock on the Tennessee River, August 11, 2011

Motor Vessel Mississippi was a diesel-powered vessel with an all-steel superstructure. Powered by two 8-cylinder engines, for a total of 3720 horsepower, for extra maneuverability it used controllable pitch propellers which allowed it to generate a reverse thrust of over 70% in the forward direction. The four levels on the superstructure were the main deckhouse, second deckhouse, Texas deckhouse, and the pilothouse. It served as a towboat and inspection vessel until decommissioned in 1993.[3] On September 26, 2007 it was moved to its permanent location on land at the Lower Mississippi River Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi.[12][13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mississippi River Commission" (PDF). Corps Facts. United States Army Corps of Engineers. 2008-01-11. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 23, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  2. ^ Rickey, John; Chuck Minsker; Jim Pogue; Susan Jackson (June 2006). "The Corps of Engineer's Overall Response" (PDF). Soldiers Magazine. United States Army. 61 (6): 10, 11. ISSN 0093-8440. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d Welcome Aboard The Mississippi (DP 360-1-2). United States Army Corps of Engineers. June 2008. 
  4. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  5. ^ "OHIO ARTS & SPORTS FACILITIES COMMISSION: ANNUAL REPORT FY 2004" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 31, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  6. ^ . Retrieved October 21, 2009.
  7. ^ Dan Majors, "Riverboat owner to float restaurant idea on river here", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wednesday, October 14, 2009.
  8. ^ Sam Shawver, "Becky arrives at new home", Marietta Times, Saturday, October 17, 2009.
  9. ^ Built: 1927, HOWARD SHIPYARD, JEFFERSONVILLE, INDIANA. Length: 213.2, Beam: 38, Depth of Hold: 7.2, Gross Tons: 761, Displacement: 983. Hull: STEEL. Engine: REMOVED/ORIG. STEAM. Preservation Status: GOOD CONDITION, 60% ORIGINAL FABRIC, LISTED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES, REF. NO. 83002066.
  10. ^ a b "Sunk!: Reason Becky Thatcher took on water not known". Parkersburg News and Sentinel 2010-02-22. 
  11. ^ a b Dennis B. Roddy, "Crews begin demolishing historic ship on Ohio River", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tuesday, March 09, 2010.
  12. ^ Fields, Lauchlin (2007-09-26). "After a stroll down Washington, boat takes its berth". The Vickburg Post. Retrieved 2008-08-10. [dead link]
  13. ^ Hebert, Amanda V. (2005-12-09). "$5 million headed here for Corps museum, boat". The Vickburg Post. Retrieved 2008-08-10. [dead link]
  14. ^ "MV Mississippi moved to new dry-land home". United States Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 2008-08-10. [dead link]