Red River Facts

Red River Facts
The Red River of the South, or just the Red River as it is also referred to, is one of the Mississippi River's main tributaries, getting its name from the color of its watershed. The Red River rises in New Mexico's eastern region, and flows across Texas and Louisiana, and prior to the mid-1900s when a flood control system was built, part of the river eventually entered the Mississippi River via Old River. Today the Red River flows into Atchafalaya River, into Atchafalaya Bay and finally into the Gulf of Mexico. The Red River drains an area of approximately 93,000 square miles, and is 1,360 miles long.
Interesting Red River Facts:
President Thomas Jefferson commissioned an expedition in 1806 called the Red River Expedition to allow for exploration up the Red River. This was meant to explore the new land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase.
President Thomas Jefferson thought that the Red River was almost as interesting as the Missouri in terms of the Mississippi River's waterways.
The Lieutenant Zebulon Pike who was sent to find the Red River's source turned down the Rio Grande by mistake and met with Spanish soldiers who sent him home.
The first to bring a steamboat up the Red River was Captain Henry Miller Shreve in 1815.
Captain Henry Miller Shreve was responsible for beginning to clear the 160 mile log jam in 1839 along the Red River. This log jam was referred to as the 'Great Raft'.
In the 1870s the log jam was finally cleared completely, thanks to the availability of dynamite.
During the American Civil War the Red River was used by a Union General as the transportation route for a river fleet. A Confederate force met the fleet along the route and defeated them. This was called the Red River Campaign (March 10th to May 22nd, 1864), and its failure resulted in the Confederates managing to hold their ground until the war was over.
Prior to being settled in the 1800s the Red River's region had been home to Native Americans. The land was good for growing crops and there was excellent fishing and hunting.
The Red River forms the Texas - Oklahoma boundary for about half of its length.
The main tributaries to the Red River include the Kiamichi River, Little Red River, Little River, Black River, Pease River, Sulphur River, Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River, Little Wichita River, Washita River, and North Fork of the Red.
The lowest portion of the Red River is the one most commonly used by traffic due to weather and water levels.
At the mouth of the Red River the mean flow is more than 57,000 cubic feet per second.
There is a bridge crossing the Red River and joining Shreveport and Bossier City called the Jimmie Davis Bridge on Highway 511. It was named after Jimmie Davis, the Governor of Louisiana.
The Denison Dam, built in 1943 along the red River formed Lake Texoma, north of Dallas, Texas. This reservoir is 89,000 acres in size.
The most recent flood occurred in 2015, when the Red River rose and caused areas of Shreveport, Louisiana to experience flooding.

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