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THE VALLEY OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
The Father of Waters—Its Drainage Area—The Big Muddy
Sources of the Missouri—The Great Falls-Fort BentonSioux City-Council Bluffs—Omaha-St. Joseph-Atchison -Leavenworth — Lawrence - Topeka — Osowatomie – John Brown-Kansas Emigrants—The Walls of Corn-Kansas City-Wyandotte - Chillicothe - Florida Mark Twain Muscatine-Burlington-Nauvoo–Keokuk — Des Moines, St. Louis-Jefferson Barracks—Egypt-Belmont-Columbus - Island No. 10—Fort Pillow—The Chickasaws—Memphis - Mississippi River Peculiarities—Its Deposits and Cut-Offs -The Alluvial Bottom Lands-St. Francis Basin-HelenaWhite River-Arkansas River-Fort Smith-Little RockArkansas Hot Springs—Washita River,Napoleon-Yazoo Basin—Vicksburg-Natchez Indians-Natchez-Red River -Texarkana-Shreveport-Red River Rafts—Atchafalaya River-Baton Rouge-Biloxi-Beauvoir-Pass ChristianNew Orleans - Battle of New Orleans-Lake PontchartrainThe Mississippi Levees-Crevasses—The Delta and Passes -The Balize – The Forts - South Pass - Eads JettiesGulf of Mexico.
THE BIG MUDDY.
The great “Father of Waters," with its many tributaries, drains a territory of a million and a half square miles, in which live almost one-half the population of the United States. The length of the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico is about twenty-six hundred miles, the actual distance in a direct line being but sixteen hundred and sixty miles Its name comes from the Ojibway
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words Misi Sepe, meaning the “great river, flowing everywhere," and the early explorers spelled it “Mesasippi.” The Iroquois called it the Kahnahweyokah, having much the same meaning. The upper waters of the Mississippi have already been described in a preceding chapter, and taken in connection with its chief tributary, the Missouri, it is one of the longest rivers in the world, the distance from the source to the Gulf being almost forty-two hundred miles. The Dakotas called this stream Minni-shosha, or the “ muddy water," and its popular name throughout the Northwest, from the turbid current it carries, has come to be the “Big Muddy." The head streams rise in Idaho, the Ella Hoe of the Nez Perces, meaning the “Light on the Mountains,” and in Wyoming. The name of the Indian nation through whose lands its upper waters flow—the Dakotahs-means the “ Confederate People,” indicating a league of various tribes. The Mississippi drains practically the whole country between the Appalachian Mountains on the east and the “ Continental Divide" of the Rockies on the west.
The Missouri River is formed in southwestern Montana, by the union of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers. Its length from the source of the Madison River in the Yellowstone National Park to its confluence with the Mississippi above St. Louis is about three thousand miles. The first exploration of the headwaters of the Missouri was by the famous expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark in 1805, who ascended to its sources, and crossing the Rockies descended the Snake and Columbia Rivers into Oregon. They found the confluence of the three rivers making the Missouri, in July, and called it “the Three Forks," at the same time naming the rivers after President Jefferson and his Secretaries of State and the Treasury. The Missouri, from the junction, first flows northward through the defiles of the Rockies, and breaks out of the mountain wall in Prickly Pear Canyon, at the Gate of the Mountains, where the rocky cliffs rise twelve hundred feet. Forty miles northeast it goes down its Great Falls to a lower plateau, having a total descent of nearly five hundred feet, the stream contracting in the gorge to a width of three hundred yards, and tumbling over repeated cascades, with intervening rapids.
The Black Eagle descends fifty feet, Colter's Falls twelve feet, the Crooked Falls twenty feet, the Rainbow forty-eight feet, and the Great Falls ninety-two feet, this series of rapids and cascades covering a distance of sixteen miles. Lewis and Clark were the first white men who saw these magnificent cataracts of the Upper Missouri, and they named the different falls. The Black Eagle was named from the fact that on an island at its foot an eagle had fixed her nest on a cottonwood tree. It is recorded by a United States Engineer officer who was there in 1860, that the eagle's nest then still remained in the