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The Ohio

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1094, p. 583.

June 22, 1861


This river, the largest and most important of the eastern affluents of the Mississippi, is formed by the junction of the Alleghany [sic] and Monongahela Rivers at Pittsburg [sic], Pennsylvania. It has thence a west-south-west course of 1033 miles, separating the States of Virginia and Kentucky on the east and south from Ohio; Indiana and Illinois north and west, and joins the Mississippi at Cairo. At Pittsburg [sic] it is about 830 feet above the sea. Near Louisville it passes through a mountain break and forms rapids, in which it descends twenty-three feet in two miles; but these are obviated by a canal navigable for steamers. Its course thenceforth is mostly through a level country, and its current is generally placid, being usually from two to three miles an hour. The Ohio runs in a valley, inclosed on both sides by ranges of hills, called River Mountains. These hills vary considerably in height, but are generally between 300 and 500 feet. Their ascent is sometimes rocky and abrupt, but often sufficiently gradual to admit cultivation to the summit. The hills diminish in altitude as they approach the rapids of Louisville, where they rise again to a height nearly equal to what they attain at the head of the river; and thence they gradually lower, until they disappear a little above the confluence of the Ohio and Green Rivers. At this point a low country commences, which extends to the mouth of the Ohio, a distance of more than 150 miles. The river also increases in width and diminishes in velocity. The low country on its banks is thickly wooded, and its soil is a deep alluvium. The hills which bound the alluvial district are at some distance from the stream. It principal affluents are the Big-Beaver, Muskingum, Scioto, Miami, and Wabash from the north; the Kenawha, Sandy River, Kentucky, Green River, Cumberland, and Tennessee from the south. Its basin is estimated to comprise 196,000 square miles, and, with its tributaries, it presents at least 5000 miles of navigation through some of the most fertile tracts of country in America. There are several towns on its banks.

Our Illustration of the Ohio, engraved below, is from a sketch taken by Mr. L. J. Cranstone.

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Moonlight Scene on the Ohio River, North America.

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