This is certainly a great song and its fascinating to read the history of the J. M. White.
Thanks for the references.
Perhaps the steamboat techies can help me with the answers to a couple of further questions about how steamboats used to work.
Would the song actually be a shanty/chanty (ie a work song) and, if so, for what sort of task on a steamboat would it be appropriate?
Also, in the last verse the captain says "Heave the larboard lead". Is that last word "lead" a cable or a heavy lump of metal? And how would the heaving of it help to get the steam up, as requested by the engineer (for instance would it open a vent to get more air to the fire)?
"The engineer shouts through his trumpet...!"