17:01 PM

Professor's Article on the Bertrand Steamboat Published on

Aaron Woodard's Accounting of the Wreck and Salvage Efforts Illustrates Risky Business in the Emerging Western United States

Bellevue University adjunct history Professor Aaron Woodard recently authored an article on the Bertrand steamboat wreck in 1865 and  the century-long salvage efforts for Wild West Magazine. The article is currently featured on the home page. 

In the article, Woodard examines newspaper reports of what occurred after the mid-19th paddle-wheel steamer hit a snag in the Missouri River just past DeSoto, Nebraska, and sank in just 10 minutes. His article recounts the salvage efforts that took place immediately following the wreck, a failed effort that took place three decades later, and, finally, a salvage effort led by treasure hunters in 1968. That final effort, conducted more than a century after the Bertrand sank, resulted in the recovery of more than 600 pounds of mercury, as well as ordinary items ranging from tools to clothing to foodstuffs. 

According to Woodard's article, the items recovered from the Bertrand “provide invaluable insight into everyday life in the late 1860s,” and the history of the wreck illustrates the risky steamboat business in the emerging Western United States.

About Bellevue University

About Bellevue University

Founded in 1966, Bellevue University is a non-profit university with nearly 60,000 graduates worldwide. The University is a recognized national leader in preparing students for lifelong success with career-relevant knowledge and skills, while making college affordable. Routinely ranked among the nation’s top military and accessible institutions, the University serves residential students at its main campus in Bellevue, Nebraska, and everywhere online with more than 80 degree programs uniquely designed for working adults. The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (