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Tombigbee River: Wikis


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Coffeville Lock and Dam on the Tombigbee River near Coffeeville, Alabama. Coffeeville is the last lock and dam down the Tombigbee River to the Gulf of Mexico.
Demopolis Lock and Dam on the Tombigbee River. The dam is located at Demopolis, about 2 miles (3 km) below the confluence of the Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers.

The Tombigbee River is a tributary of the Mobile River, approximately 200 mi (325 km) long, in the U.S. states of Mississippi and Alabama. It is one of two major rivers, along with the Alabama River, that unite to form the short Mobile River before it empties into Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The Tombigbee watershed encompasses much of the rural coastal plain of western Alabama and northeastern Mississippi, flowing generally southward. The river provides one of the principal routes of commercial navigation in the southern United States, navigable along much of its length through locks and connected in its upper reaches to the Tennessee River via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.



The river begins in north Mississippi in Itawamba County. Historically, the beginning of the river was in northern Monroe County, by the confluence of Town Creek (also known as West Fork Tombigbee River) and East Fork Tombigbee River. Today, however, what was once known as the east fork is now designated as the Tombigbee itself.

It flows east through Aberdeen Lake near Aberdeen, and Columbus Lake near Columbus. It flows through Aliceville Lake on the Mississippi-Alabama border, then generally SSE across western Alabama in a highly meandering course, past Gainesville and Demopolis, where it is joined from the northeast by the Black Warrior River. South of Demopolis it flows generally south across southwestern Alabama, past Jackson. It joins the Alabama from the north on the Mobile-Baldwin county line, approximately 30 mi (50 km) north of Mobile, to form the Mobile River.

After the completion of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in 1985, much of the middle course of the river in northwestern Mississippi was diverted into the new straightened channel. Above Aberdeen Lake, the waterway flows alongside the original course of the river.

In addition to the Black Warrior, the river is joined by the Buttahatchee River from the east north of Columbus, Mississippi. To the South of Columbus,Mississippi, the Luxapalila Creek joins with the Tombigbee River, approximately 5.2 miles from downtown Columbus, Mississippi. Approximately 10 mi (15 km) north of Gainesville it is joined from the north by the Sipsey River. At Gainesville it is joined from the west by the Noxubee River.

The Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge is along the river in southwestern Alabama, approximately 20 mi (30 km) northwest of Jackson.

The upper reaches of the Tombigbee formed the homeland of the formidable Chickasaw prior to their removal in 1838. The Tombigbee was the route taken by Bienville's 1736 campaign against them.

Cahaba Incident

On April 28, 1979, a tugboat named M/V Cahaba was on the Tombigbee near Demopolis, Alabama.[1] The tugboat was attempting to guide 2 coal barges under a flooded side-span of the old Rooster Bridge (removed years later), but the flood current was too strong. The tug and barges approached the drawbridge-section, which failed to re-open fast enough while the river was near flood stage (drawbridges must close & re-open to allow waiting traffic to cross). The fast currents pinned the craft, starboard side, against the bridge in high waters. The force was so dramatic that it pulled the boat downward, tilting it beneath the bridge, and fully submerging it in the river.[1] The underwater pressure blew out a port-side window in the pilot house, which began filling with water, while the captain remained at the helm.[1] However, soon, the tugboat emerged out the other side of the bridge, and righted itself, with water pouring from the doorways and decks. One of the 2 main ventilator funnels had tilted to the center, but one engine was still running, to steer/anchor the tugboat in a flooded cornfield. Another downstream tugboat, M/V Tallapoosa rescued the captain and all 3 crew members, with the pilot, then secured the 2 barges of coal. The barges were later towed to Mobile by the same company's towboat M/V Mauvilla, which itself became infamous, 14 years later, for the 1993 Big Bayou Canot train wreck.[1]

Failure of the Mississippi Highway 25 N/U.S. Route 45 S bridge over the Tombigbee River relief (Big Nichols Creek)/Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in Aberdeen, Mississippi during the March 1955 floods.


Pleasure boats, cruising America's Great Loop, use the waterway each year in the fall.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "The Tugboat story" (M/V Cahaba), Bjarne & Captain Michael L. Smith, (Finland), January 2006, webpage: MBN-soldier.


Coordinates: 31°8′11″N 87°56′39″W / 31.13639°N 87.94417°W / 31.13639; -87.94417



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