In early colonial America, including Georgia, the earliest form of transport bore a variety of names for virtually the same kind of maritime travel. These vessels were variously known as narrow boats, packet boats, or simply canal boats. Horses ambling along a parallel dirt path, called a tow path, pulled the boat at an agonizingly slow speed.
The typical early canal and vessel were both built by hand and hand tools and financed by private capital. Wildly successful, the Erie Canal was built between 1818 and 1825. Suddenly, New York City with its portage on the Hudson River to Rochester, NY. opened up the Atlantic trade to trade along the Great Lakes and transmontane early America. The advent of the train in the 1830’s competed against the early packet boat, potentially reducing tariffs and providing more convenient scheduling.
Later, steam engines powered the packet boats, and for a short period of time, acetylene provided light in the boats during nighttime. By the advent of the Civil Wat, steam engines had completely replaced the old packet boat,