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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Vicksburg in Warren County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Flagships of the MRC

 
 
Flagships of the MRC Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 10, 2016
1. Flagships of the MRC Marker
Inscription.  The vessels which have served as the Mississippi always pulled "double duty" serving both as a Corps work vessel and as the MRC's river inspection vessel and public meeting venue. During the traditional high-water and low-water seasons each spring and summer, the members of the MRC conduct inspection trips and public meetings aboard the Mississippi at various locations along the length of the Mississippi River. These gatherings enable the public to bring their views and concerns before the MRC in an open forum and give interested parties a greater voice in shaping federal policy.

The first Mississippi was a paddle-wheel steamer built in St. Louis in 1882. In April of that year — just after a devastating spring flood — the vessel hosted the Mississippi River Commission (MRC) on its first inspection tour. Struck by fire in 1893, the vessel was repaired and remained in service. The vessel hosted President Theodore Roosevelt on a 1907 tour, and President William Howard Taft took passage in 1909. By 1919 the Commission decided to retire the aging steamer and began outfitting another vessel for inspection service.
Marker detail: Mississippi River Commission (MRC), 1969 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Mississippi River Commission (MRC), 1969
The Corps rebuilt Mississippi for towboat service and renamed the vessel Piomingo.

The Steamer Mississippi II was built in 1899 as the dredge tender Leota. She was noted for her trim lines and great speed — qualities that would serve the MRC well. The MRC acquired the paddle-wheel steamer in 1920 and sent it to New Orleans, where workers razed the hull and installed new boilers. Shortly thereafter the Mississippi II entered service with the MRC. The vessel's machinery, however, proved unworkable, and in 1926 the MRC ordered a new steamer to be constructed.

Built new in 1926, the Mississippi III steamer was commissioned in 1927. The vessel was built from the keel up and included new boilers and machinery. The cabin — crucial space for the MRC's inspection tours — was salvaged from Mississippi II and installed over the new hull. Rudder and deck modifications improved the vessel's capacity as a towboat. The Texas-deck steamer had once been the most powerful of those operating on the Mississippi River and helped sustain the colorful traditions and background of the golden age of steamboats on the river.

Mississippi IV was the first diesel-powered vessel to serve the MRC and signaled the end of steam power on the river. Specifically designed and built to meet the needs of the Corps and the
Marker detail: Steamer <i>Mississippi I</i> (1882-1921) image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Steamer Mississippi I (1882-1921)
MRC, Mississippi IV provided an immense amount of power, towing capacity, and suitable space for public meetings and inspection trips. Nicknamed "Big Shaky" due to strong vibrations felt throughout the vessel, she was built with a steel superstructure and powered by two 8-cylinder Nordberg engines, each capable of developing 1,860 horsepower. Adjustable-pitch propellers greatly improved her maneuverability in treacherous river currents.

The Mississippi V is the current flagship and inspection vessel for the MRC, hosting members of the community during spring high-water meetings and late summer low-water meetings. The Mississippi V also serves as one of the most powerful workboats for the Corps. Approximately 90 percent of the year she can be found working along the Mississippi River and throughout the Mississippi Valley watershed in service to the Corps, and in support of its mat sinking operations.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #26 Theodore Roosevelt, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #27 William Howard Taft series lists.
 
Location. 32° 21.241′ N, 90° 52.893′ W. Marker is in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in Warren County. Marker is on Washington
Marker detail: Steamer <i>Mississippi II</i> (1921-1927) image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Steamer Mississippi II (1921-1927)
Street (Business U.S. 61) north of Jackson Street, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located along the sidewalk just north of the Lower Mississippi River Museum, overlooking the Mississippi IV exhibit. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 910 Washington Street, Vicksburg MS 39183, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mississippi River Commission (a few steps from this marker); Motor Vessel Mississippi IV (within shouting distance of this marker); C.S. Company A, (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 61 Highway (about 400 feet away); William R. Ferris (about 700 feet away); Railroads and Rivers (about 700 feet away); Planters' Hall (about 700 feet away); Jitney Jungle (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Vicksburg.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Mississippi River Commission
 
Also see . . .  M/V Mississippi (Wikipedia). Motor Vessel Mississippi, (i.e., Mississippi V), is a United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) towboat operating on the Mississippi River. It is the largest diesel towboat on the river. The boat has 22 staterooms and can handle 150 passengers. The Corps also uses it as a "giant floating ambassador". During the Hurricane Katrina crisis, Mississippi was moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi
Marker detail: Steamer <i>Mississippi III</i> (1927-1961) image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: Steamer Mississippi III (1927-1961)
and used as a floating command center. There have been five USACE vessels of this name. (Submitted on December 22, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Marker detail: <i>Mississippi IV</i> (1961-1993) image. Click for full size.
6. Marker detail: Mississippi IV (1961-1993)
Marker detail: <i>Mississippi V</i> (1993- ) image. Click for full size.
7. Marker detail: Mississippi V (1993- )
Flagships of the MRC Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 10, 2016
8. Flagships of the MRC Marker
(Mississippi IV in background)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 20, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 41 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on December 22, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 2, 2021