Early in February, 1834, the leading Little Rock newspaper confessed an oversight. "We were not aware," said the apologetic editorial, "until within last week that the United States snagboats Heliopolis and Archimedes, under charge of Captain Henry M. Shreve, had been at work for the past three or four weeks removing snags, sawyers and other obstructions of our noble river. They are said to be making rapid progress in clearing our river of this impediment. Already they have removed most of the principal ones from the mouth of the river to the Pine Bluffs, a distance of more than 140 miles, and when we last heard from them, two or three days ago, they were several miles above the latter place progressing up stream and may be looked for here within the course of a few days." This was followed a few days later by: "We understand that one of the snagboats is at work five or six miles below this place and making fine progress in removing impediments to navigation in our river. She will be at work in this immediate vicinity within a day or two, when our citizens will have the opportunity of witnessing her astounding power."

When the boats eventually arrived at Little Rock they were greeted by every citizen who could get to the wharf. While some cheered the men aboard, others stared, open mouthed, at the amazing craft, and one wag called shrilly, "Them must be Uncle Sam's tooth pullers fer sure!"

Captain Shreve sent invitations to all prominent families at the town to be his guest on the tender ships. Everyone accepted, and those not invited swarmed the river banks on both sides. After a pleasure trip down the river the guests were entertained with demonstrations of the speed, power, and efficiency of the snagboat. Just across the river a huge cottonwood lay buried in the river bottom. The powerful grappling jaws brought it to the surface; the great saw removed the root in a jiffy and it was dropped into twenty feet of water, where it would give no more trouble. Large branches were cast on the shore, while the trunk was sawed into short lengths and set adrift. In less than an hour this dangerous snag was disposed of.








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