The first highways in America were the great rivers, which
permitted the growth of commerce and transport. The advent
of steam and a brilliant idea of Fulton and Livingston, first
builders of riverboats, permitted the upstream navigation on
rivers. The search for speed inspired marvellous competitions.
One of the most famous races is that between Natchez and
Robert E. Lee, held in 1870 between New Orleans and Saint
Louis. After 750 miles of water the Robert E. Lee won the race,
covering the distance in 3 days, 18 hours and 14 minutes.