Submitted by scott on
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Cincinnati to Cairo: On the Ohio River,

February 16, 1857: Monday– Sam boarded the packet Paul Jones (353 tons), on its way from Pittsburgh, for passage to New Orleans, commanded by Hiram K. Hazlett and piloted by Horace E. Bixby (1826-1912) and Jerry Mason. Sam claimed in his autobiography that his intention was to travel to the Amazon, but could not find passage once in New Orleans. His other longtime dream of becoming a steamboat pilot then took over and he approached Bixby about becoming his assistant. On the trip to New Orleans, Bixby had a sore foot, which made standing at the wheel painful, so Sam did “a lot of steering” for him.

Sam’s impressions of the Paul Jones: “I was in Cincinnati. . . I packed my valise, and took passage on an ancient tub called the PAUL JONES for New Orleans. For the sum of sixteen dollars I had the scarred and tarnished splendors of ‘her’ main saloon principally to myself, for she was not a creature to attract the eye of wiser travelers”.

February 17, 1857: Tuesday– The Paul Jones was “heavily loaded with ordnance for the Baton Rouge arsenal”. As the boat neared Louisville it ran onto rocks near Dick Smith’s wharf and stuck for more than 24 hours.
February 19, 1857: Thursday– The Paul Jones left Louisville.
On the Mississippi River to New Orleans:
February 23, 1857: Monday– The Paul Jones reached Memphis.
February 28, 1857: Saturday– The Paul Jones reached New Orleans.