When sunk, she was carrying a cargo of foodstuffs, agricultural and mining supplies, in addition to items necessary to frontier households. Reportedly, the cargo also contained a large amount of mercury and even larger quantity of whiskey, although this was not found when the boat was excavated.
The BERTRAND was built in Wheeling, WV, in 1864, and was a stern-wheeler, measuring 161 feet in length, 32 feet beam, and rated at a capacity of 251 tons burden. When fully loaded, she drew only about 3 feet of water. She was on her maiden voyage on the Missouri when she sank.
I would recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to visit the BERTRAND museum at De Soto Wildlife Refuge do so. The items in the displays tell us much about what pioneer life was like during that time period.
Thanks, Corey. I really do appreciate the input. Hopefully others will have more information on boats carrying troops, &c. on the lower river as well.