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Distances on a river can differ dramatically from overland distances between two places. The illustration below indicates the river mileages on the Ohio River of selected cities mentioned in the Anderson letters. Colors differentiate cities in Union states from cities in Confederate states (though readers should keep in mind that political allegiances in Kentucky and Virginia/West Virginia were especially complex during these years). The Ohio flows 981 miles from the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, PA to its meeting with the Mississippi River approximately two miles south of Cairo, IL. St. Louis, MO lies 180 miles up the Mississippi from the mouth of the Ohio, Memphis TN 212 miles downriver.