The Robert E. Lee was a sidewheel paddle steamer built by DeWitt Hill, New Albany, Indiana a year after the Civil War ended. She was made of wood, 285 feet long with a beam of 46 feet. The Robert E. Lee was built for the cotton trade between Vicksburg and New Orleans, she was a fast comfortable boat distinguished especially by a deep tone of the bell and the loud noise she produced from the steam stacks. Her main competitor was the Natchez which set a record between New Orleans and St. Louis. They eventually informally raced up the Mississippi and the Robert E. Lee reached St. Louis sooner. She also broke several records along the way. Though she was badly damaged in a collision later that year, the Robert E. Lee continued working until 1876, carrying more than 5,000 bales of cotton on her regular runs from Vicksburg to New Orleans. She was dismantled at New Albany in 1876, her hull became a wharf boat at Memphis, TN.