"He is taken on for New Orleans aboard a flatboat"

Flatboats were commonly used as the cheapest type of boat for delivering bulk materials to New Orleans for sale, and sometimes for the conveyance of families moving west. They were hand-powered, with poles or oars for steering, and usually floated with the current. Unlike steamboats, the flatboat had no engine and so was incapable of travelling upstream against the current of the Mississippi. For this reason, once the boat had reached its destination it was broken apart and the boards sold for lumber.


18th century flatboat upon the Mississippi River
Public Domain19th century flatboat upon the Mississippi River - Credit: Ray Brown