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By 1914, neglect and lack of use due to diversion of freight traffic to railroad lines resulted in the Red River becoming unnavigable.In 1994, the United States Army Corps of Engineers restored navigability by completion of a series of lock-and-dam structures and a navigation channel.Originally, the town consisted of 64 city blocks, created by eight streets running west from the Red River and eight streets running south from Cross Bayou, one of its tributaries.Shreveport soon became a center of steamboat commerce, carrying mostly cotton and agricultural crops from the plantations of Caddo Parish.Forming a Military Aid Society, the ladies of Shreveport requested donations of wool and cotton yarn for knitting socks.Joined by others, the Society collected blankets for the wounded and gave concerts and tableaux to raise funds.
During the American Civil War, Shreveport was the capital of Louisiana from 1863 to 1865, having succeeded Baton Rouge and Opelousas after each fell under Union control.
Water levels got so low at one point that Union Admiral David Dixon Porter was trapped with his gunboats north of Alexandria.
His engineers quickly constructed a temporary dam to raise the water level and free his fleet.
In 1838 Caddo Parish was created from the large Natchitoches Parish, and Shreve Town became its parish seat.
On March 20, 1839, the town was incorporated as Shreveport.
Lee's surrender in April 1865, and the Trans-Mississippi was the last Confederate command to surrender, on May 26, 1865.