On September 1, 1812, John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and a party of twenty-two men set out on flatboats from Lynchburg to the Kanawha River, to survey the best water route between Richmond and the Ohio River. Marshall's biographer, Jean Edward Smith, writes:
...They ascended the James to the mouth of the Dunlop's Creek, portaged over the mountains to the Green brier River, made their way down the stream to New River, and the proceeded to the Kanawha, major tributary of the Ohio. The trip totaled 250 miles and took six weeks. The route Marshall mapped is the one that subsequently was followed by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and by Interstate 64...Once the survey was complete, Marshall consolidated the data and wrote the final report.Marshall's report was to be important in encouraging internal improvements and commercial routes in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Jean Edward Smith, John Marshall, Definer of a Nation (1996, Henry Holt and Company Inc., 1996), page 412