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Steamboat Disasters

( Part One )  

Give list of persons killed and wounded  on Steamboats in our  waterways . Some poor victims were buried along the banks of the Mississippi , Arkansas , Ohio , White and other rivers listed where the explosion or accidents took place . Names of some of the  victims and where from listed , some listed just names , and some names unknown just passengers or part of the crews . Most of the ships log books were destroyed from fire and not a full complete record of the deaths . These horrific accounts of early travel by steamboats were very dangerous , and so many lives were lost .

Might  help locate some of our missing family members that worked or traveled by the Steamboats .

Tina Easley




 Source - Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters - 1856




































This deplorable accident took place on the Ohio river on the 9th day of June, 1816. The Washington was the largest and finest boat which had hitherto floated on any western stream. Her commander, Captain Shreve, was skilled and experienced in all the duties of his calling; her machinery was all presumed to be in the best possible order, and no human foresight could have anticipated the fatal event. The boat left Marietta, Ohio, on Monday, June 7, and on the afternoon of the following day came safely to anchor off Point Harmar, where she remained until Wednesday morning. The fires were now kindled, and other preparations made for continuing the voyage down the Ohio; but a difficulty occurred in getting the boat into a proper position to start the machinery. While laboring to effect this object—the boat having, in the mean time, been carried by the force of the current near the Virginia shore—it became necessary to throw out a kedge anchor at the stern. Soon after, all hands were summoned aft to haul in the kedge, and while they were collected on the quarter for that purpose, by a singular and most unfortunate chance, the end of the cylinder nearest the stern was blown off, and a column of scalding water was thrown among the crowd, inflicting the most frightful injuries on nearly all of the boat's, crew, and killing a number on the spot. The cry of consternation and anguish which then arose might have been heard for miles. The captain, mate, and several others were blown overboard; but all of these, with the exception of one man, were afterwards rescued from the water, but were found to be more or less injured, either by the fragments of the cylinder or the scalding water.

The inhabitants of the neighboring town, now called Harmar, were universally alarmed by the sound of the explosion, which appeared to shake the solid earth to a considerable distance. A number of physicians and many other citizens crowded into the boat to ascertain the extent of the calamity ; but no language can describe the scene of misery and torture which then presented itself to the view of the spectators. The deck was strewn with mangled and writhing human beings, uttering screams and groans of intense suffering. Some, more fortunate than their companions, lay still in the embrace of death. Among the wounded, six or eight, under the influence of their maddening torments, had torn off their clothes, to which the entire skin of their limbs or bodies adhered; the eyes of others had been put out, and their faces were changed to an undistinguishable mass of flesh by the scalding water. But the greatest sufferers, apparently, were those who had been internally injured by inhaling the scalding steam, the effect of which on the lungs is agonizing beyond all the powers of imagination to conceive. The whole scene was too horrible for description, and it made an impression on the minds of those who witnessed it which could never be obliterated.

The cause of the explosion was a disarrangement of the safety-valve, which had become immovable in consequence of the accidental slipping of the weight to the extremity of the lever. The following is a list of the killed and wounded by this calamitous explosion:

Killed:—Peter Lanfer, B. Harvey, Anna C. Jones, Thomas Brown, James Nulta, Jones, passengers ; Samuel Wait, carpenter, Jacob , colored cook.

Wounded :—Captain Shreve, commander, Mr. Clark, engineer, James Blair, George White, Enoch H. McFeeley, Joseph Walsh, John C. Williams, (mortally,) passengers.

Mr. Williams of Kentucky, the unhappy gentleman last mentioned in the preceding list, while lying in the cabin of the Washington, in his last moments, offered one of the cabin-boys all his money if he would knock him on the head to put a speedy end to his misery. The boy who received this offer, and who relates the incident, is now Captain Hiram Burch, of Marietta, Ohio,

Joseph , one of the hands, was missing; he is supposed to have been blown overboard, and carried down by the current. Several of the wounded died a short time afterwards in consequence of their injuries. At a meeting of the citizens of Marietta, a committee was appointed to provide for the sufferers, and to make arrangements for the burial of the dead.

This first steamboat accident in the West produced a great excitement among the inhabitants of that region, and occasioned for some time a strong prejudice against steamboat travel, the people being oblivious of the fact, that when the water conveyance was confined to barges and keel-boats, there was more real danger and more actual loss of life than may be classed among the incidents of steamboat navigation.


On the 4th day of May, 1817, while the steamer Constitution was ascending the Mississippi river, and when she was off Point Coupee, the boiler exploded, making the whole front part of the cabin a perfect wreck, and killing or wounding thirty persons, eleven of whom perished instantly. As soon as the terrific report of the explosion was heard on board, numbers of the excited passengers threw themselves into the rapid current, and many were drowned or wafted down the stream before assistance could reach them. The shrieks of the wounded and dying were reverberated from the distant shores, and many a ghastly and heart-sickening spectacle presented itself on the deck of the ill-fated vessel. One man had been completely submerged in the boiling liquid which inundated the cabin, and in his removal to the deck, the skin had separated from the entire surface of his body. The unfortunate wretch was literally boiled alive, yet although his flesh parted from his bones, and his agonies were most intense, he survived and retained all his consciousness for several hours. Another passenger was found lying aft of the wheel with an arm and a leg blown off, and as no surgical aid could be rendered him, death from loss of blood soon ended his sufferings. Miss C. Butler, of Massachusetts, was so badly scalded  that, after lingering in unspeakable agony for three hours, death came to her relief. Many were drowned whose names do not appear in the subjoined list of those who perished by this disaster. Besides, many of the victims were so mutilated and disfigured, that their bodies could not be identified; and owing to these causes the list may be considered as very incomplete.

Capt. Bezeau and lady, with some others, were fortunate enough to escape unhurt, being forward when the explosion took place. The following are the names of those who were killed :

William Yarnall, Va.; B. Frazier, Gibson Port, M. T.; Thomas Brown, Scotland ; Wm. McFarland, Washington Co., Ky.; Joseph D. Wilson, James Carpenter, Md.; Alexander Philpot, Henry Co., Va.; William Steel, Warrenton, M. T.; Peter Huber, N. 0. and Baltimore ; Robert Robertson, 18 years old; William Larkin, silversmith Natchez; Amos Shorter, Wm. Albright, David Young, Theodore Wright, Mrs. Yancey, of Pittsburgh; Mrs. Amy Farmer, Patrick Dougherty, Waldo Green, W. Wheeler, John Durrick, Augustus Baer, and Dennis Fryer.

The Constitution, formerly called the Oliver Evans, was built at Pittsburgh only a short time before this fatal explosion. At that period she was one of the finest boats on the river.


About ten o'clock, on a dark night, in the midst of a tremendous snow storm, on the 8th of February, 1823, when the steamer Tennessee, under a full press of steam, was ploughing her way up the turbulent Mississippi river, near Natchez, she struck a snag, and immediately commenced filling with water. The Tennessee was crowded with passengers, and the confusion and excitement were great among them all. The deck passengers had retired to bed. Most of those in the cabin were spending a cheerful evening together, in the enjoyment of social intercourse. The shock was great, and called every one instantly to the deck. Some supposed the boat had run into the bank, and would bound off again without injury. But the fatal truth was soon known, and in the confusion many leaped overboard and perished.

Capt. Campbell gave orders instantly to stop the leak ; but the pilot, who had been down to examine the damage, with difficulty escaped from the hold, in consequence of the water so rapidly rushing in. A hole as large as a common door was torn in the hull, and the truth was soon told—the Tennessee was going down. The shrieks of the women were heart-rending at this awful news. The night was dark, and the wind howling around in its fury made the scene doubly terrible. Every one inquired of his neighbor what was to be done, and every one was anxious to provide for his own safety. The yawl and long boat were lowered, and into it the passengers, nearly two hundred in number, crowded, till it was on the eve of sinking.

Those in the boat shoved off, and with one oar could not reach the shore in time to return to assist those left behind. Some, finding there was no chance in the long boat, jumped into the river and swam ashore ; others pulled off the cabin doors and floated on them; some got among the fire wood, and were lost by slipping through and being covered by it; some clung to parts of the boat, which floated off with them. Mr. Keiser got upon the carpenter's bench, and Mr. A. Logan, who had fallen into the water and sunk nearly to the bottom, on coming up, fortunately caught hold of the way-plank, which formed a raft, and on which he floated down stream. Mr. Keiser soon came up with him, and leaving the work-bench joined him on his raft. They floated in company about eight miles, when, seeing a light on shore, they called for aid, and were taken up by a young man named Gibson, who conveyed them to the house of Mr. Randolph, where they were kindly treated.

One man swam with his hat and cloak on, until he reached the willows, when he deliberately relieved himself from the burthen of those outside garments, leaving them on the tree till next morning, and swimming safely to shore. Another passenger swam out with a small bag in his mouth, containing $3000 in gold, which proved of essential service to him; for on getting hold of a plank, and throwing his arms over it, he found the weight of his specie, which he then carried in his hand, admirably calculated to preserve his equilibrium. One man was sick in his berth, and being told of the danger, observed that he was too weak to save himself from drowning, and appeared reluctant to get up; but on being reminded that his father was on board, and required his assistance, he sprang from his bed, and not only saved his own life, but was instrumental in saving others. A young married lady, when her husband was about recklessly to throw himself into the Mississippi, caught hold of him, and by her presence of mind took off some shutters and made a raft, upon which they both floated down the river, and were picked up by a skiff.

The boat floated down the river a short distance and lodged near some willows, upon which many of the deck passengers clung till daylight, when they were relieved from their perilous situation.

Scarcely any property was saved from the wreck; a few trunks and other light things floated off, and were picked up. Some were pilfered by a mean wretch living in the neighborhood, named Charles Goodwin, others were preserved and afterwards reclaimed by the owners. The survivors speak in the highest praise of Mrs. Blanton, formerly of Kentucky, who, in the absence of her husband, Mr. William Blanton, made every exertion for the comfort of the sufferers. By this disaster there were no less than sixty lives lost; the names of many will never be known. The following is a list as far as could be ascertained:

Cabin Passengers Lost.—M. J. Nouvel, Lexington, Kentucky; M. C. Pool, Baltimore; Mr. Maylin, Philadelphia; Mr. Caruthers, Tennessee; Dr. Young, F. A. Boulton, Andrew Stone, Maryland; Alexander Parkhurst, Mobile; Daniel Ebert, P. Striker, A. Booker, John Roberts, Kentucky; A. Perin, Alabama; W. Ashwood, Pennsylvania; A. Harmer, New York; Phillips, Mrs. Jenkins, Arthur Wendell, Massachusetts; Thomas Rodgers, D. Hicks, C. Conley, Martin, Anshultz, A. Derrin, P. Watson, J. Williams, Andrew Hempstead, Texas; and a lady, name unknown.

Deck Passengers Lost.—George Saunders, Lexington, Kentucky; Samuel Cooper, David Knaw, John Curby, S. Hencely, John Stewart, John Kipler, Mrs. Mausker and child, Mr. Terley, James Bradford, and three negroes, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Walters, Miss Williams, Mr. and Miss Armstrong, Mobile, and three servants; D. Fox, Mrs. Hooper, Andrews, and fifteen passengers, no names reported.

This was one of the early disasters, and was the theme of conversation for months after the fatal calamity. Indeed, people, for a long time after this accident, were almost afraid to go on a steamboat; but it was soon forgotten in the narratives of the more heart-rending disasters that followed after, in rapid succession.


MAY 5TH, 1825.

The S. B. Teche left Natchez on the evening of May 4th, 1825, heavily laden with cotton, and carrying about seventy passengers, many of whom came on board at the moment of departure, and were unknown to each other. Her course was down the river, and she proceeded about ten miles, when the night became so excessively dark and hazy that her commander, Captain Campbell, deemed it unsafe to proceed further, and concluded to come to anchor. At two o'clock on the following morning, May 5th, the anchor was weighed, and the steam having previously been raised, the boat had just begun to pursue her voyage, when the passengers, many of whom had been sleeping in their berths, were startled by a shock which seemed sufficient to separate every plank and timber in the vessel, accompanied by a report which sounded like the discharge of a whole broadside of the heaviest artillery.

Every light on board was immediately extinguished, either by the escape of steam or the concussion of the air. As the day had not yet dawned, an impenetrable darkness now hung over the scene of the disaster, the extent of which could only be imagined by the affrighted and horrified crowd collected on the deck ; but at that moment of appalling danger, and still more dreadful uncertainty, was heard a cry that the boat was on fire ! Then followed a scene of indescribable confusion ; the passengers, in the very insanity of terror, were rushing hither and thither, through the dense and ominous gloom, and many anticipated their doom in their erring endeavor to avoid it.

Mr. Miller, of Kentucky, one of the surviving passengers, who afterwards published in a New Orleans paper a narrative of the events of this fearful night, states that when the alarm of fire was given, he attempted to go towards the bow, from whence the cry proceeded, but before he had advanced ten paces, he was precipitated down .the hatchway, (the hatches had been blown off by the explosion,) and after falling, fortunately on his feet, to the bottom of the hold, he found himself knee-deep in scalding water, which had been discharged from the fractured boiler. He would soon have perished in the suffocating vapor which filled the place, had not his cries for assistance been heard by some humane person on deck, who threw him the end of a rope, and thus enabled him to escape from his agonizing and perilous situation.

By this time the flames began to ascend, illuminating the deck with a lurid glare which enabled the passengers to discern the means of escape which offered, though these means were made less available by the terror and confusion which prevailed. The yawl made several trips to the nearest shore, carrying off a load of passengers at each trip ; but as the flames began to extend rapidly over the deck, it was evident that all the people on board could not be saved in this way. In these circumstances, the Captain gave orders that bales of cotton should be thrown overboard, and on these many passengers were kept afloat until the boats finally took them off.

But the last incident of this tragic narrative is one of the most distressing. About three o'clock, A. M., the steamboat Washington, while passing up the river, was hailed by the survivors on board of the burning vessel.. The Washington promptly sent a boat to their assistance, and waited to receive them. All who remained on the Teche, (about twelve in number,) embarked in the Washington's boat; and now, assuring themselves of safety, they had reached the side of the steamer, when, by some unlucky accident, the small boat was upset, and every person on board, man, woman, and child, was drowned. It would seem that their inexorable fate had doomed them to destruction.

The number of lives lost by this accident could never be ascertained. Several persons were instantly killed by the explosion, and others were so badly injured, by scalding, or otherwise, that they died soon afterwards. It is thought that not less than twenty or thirty were drowned.


 AUGUST 12, 1828.

The Grampus was engaged in towing three brigs and a sloop up to New Orleans, and was about nine miles from that city, when the explosion took place. This accident was one of the most remarkable in the whole catalogue of steamboat disasters, on account of the extensive wreck which was made of the machinery. The boat had six boilers, all of which were blown to minute fragments. The same complete destruction was made of the flues, and various other parts of the steam apparatus; and the boat itself was, (as an eye witness reports,) " torn to pieces."

The Captain, (Morrison,) and Mr. Wederstrand, a passenger, were sitting by the wheel at the time of the explosion ; both were blown to a part of the forward deck fifty feet distant, where they were afterwards found, very much bruised, among a mass of ruins. The pilot at the wheel was precipitated into the water and drowned. Another pilot, who was walking the deck aft of the wheel, had a leg broken, and received other injuries, which caused his death. The brig in tow on the larboard side of the Grampus had both topmasts cut away by the fragments of the machinery, and her standing rigging was much damaged. A piece of the pipe fell across this brig's tiller, carried it away, and slightly injured the man at the helm. The brig on the other side of the steamer had her bottom perforated by a piece of the boiler. The other vessels, being astern, escaped without any damage.

The cause of this accident requires particular notice. It appears, from the statement of a passenger, that the chief engineer had " turned in," leaving his assistant in charge of the engine. This assistant, as it is supposed, went to sleep at his post, after partially shutting off the water. The consequence was a deficiency of water in the boilers ; and the assistant engineer, on waking, when he discovered that the boilers were nearly exhausted, ignorantly, or imprudently, put the forcepumps in operation to furnish a supply. At this time the iron must have acquired a white heat, and the contact of the water produced such an excess of steam, that the explosion naturally followed.

Killed, Wounded And Missing.—John Smith, a fireman, killed. George Brown, a Balize pilot, mortally wounded. One of the crew of the brig Anastasia, (name unknown,) killed. Another seaman, belonging to the same brig, badly wounded. William Taylor and John Harden, much injured. Joseph Dryden, second engineer of the Grampus, missing (so reported, but undoubtedly killed). Thomas Dodd, steersman, missing. Harry, Frank, Layden and George Mooney, all blacks, missing. Charles Craig, badly wounded. Nine were killed on the spot, or died soon afterwards, in consequence of their injuries. Four others were wounded.


 FEBRUARY 24,1830.

The steamboat Helen McGregor, Capt. Tyson, on her way from New Orleans to Louisville, stopped at Memphis, on Wednesday morning, February 24, 1830. She had been lying at the wharf about thirty minutes, when one or more of her boilers exploded, with the usual destructive and melancholy effects. The loss of life by this accident was, at that time, unprecedented in the records of steam navigation. In the bustle incident to the landing and receiving of passengers, a part of the deck near the boilers was crowded with people, all of whom were either killed instantaneously, or more or less injured. No person in the cabins was hurt. The number of those who perished at the moment of the explosion is variously estimated at from thirty to sixty. As many of them were strangers whose homes were far distant, and whose bodies were never recovered from the water, into which they were projected, it is very plain that an accurate account of the number of the victims is not to be expected.

The following report of the killed and wounded is the most complete and reliable that could be obtained :—

Killed.—Kichard Hancock, of Louisville, Kentucky ; A. Van Meeter, Hardin County, Tennessee; Mr. Talbot, of Long Beach, Ohio; James Bledso, Kentucky ; Mr. Carrol, Cincinnati, Ohio ; Edward P. Beadles, Clark County, Indiana; J. Dunn, Tennessee; G. B. Giles, Cincinnati; Ephraim Goble, Brookville, Indiana; John Delaney,colored; William Ewing, Clark County, Indiana; William Stockwell, Salem, Indiana ; Solomon Jones, Maysville, Kentucky; J. Reaves, Harrison County, Indiana; Lewis Young, colored; Jack, a colored boy, twelve years old.

Badly Wounded.—George Trey, Tipton County, Tennessee; John Cameron, Clark County, Indiana; Joshua Richardson, Indiana; John Valentine, Massachusetts; Mr. De Haven, Philadelphia; John Leland, a pilot; J. Sugg,Union County, Kentucky; John Felchen, New York; R. Bailey, firm of Bell, Hardin & Co., Tennessee; H. Heldrith, Madison County, Indiana; John Addisson, one of the crew; Thomas Drenard, Wilson County, Tennessee; J. Swan, Orange County, Indiana; J. Tenyck, Shippingsport, Kentucky ; William Case, New York.

Slightly Wounded.—Capt. Tyson, commander of the Helen McGregor; Turner, engineer; P. O'Daniel, Indiana; T. L. Knowland, Ohio ; J. Monaco, Tipton County, Tennessee; John Coons, Clark County, Indiana; William Pottorff, Clark County, Indiana; John Dougherty, Overton County, Tennessee; Thomas Bank, Lawrence County, Indiana; Green Williams, colored fireman.


 JUNE 9TH, 1836.

The Rob Roy was on her route from New Orleans to Louisville, and was under way, at 8 o'clock P. M, June 9th, 1836, near the town of Columbia, Arkansas, when the fatal catastrophe we are about to record took place. The engine was stopped for the purpose of oiling some part of the machinery; and although this necessary operation did not occupy more than two minutes, the accumulation of steam was sufficient to cause an explosion. As soon as the accident occurred, preparations were made to run the boat ashore, which was happily reached within a few minutes. By this judicious measure many lives were undoubtedly saved. None were lost by drowning, and the only victims and sufferers were those who were killed or wounded at the moment of the explosion. The clerk of the boat, a few days after the accident, furnished the following account of the killed and wounded, which he certified to be correct, adding, that some of those reported among the wounded had since died, and others were not expected to recover.

Killed :—John O'Brian, Michael Bregan, John Cavenaugh, (Irish,) Wm. Lynd, of Cincinnati, P. W. Banton, Madison, Indiana, Jane Vincent, Highland Creek, four men, names unknown, passengers; Levi Jackson, Jeflersonville, J. Shane, Louisville, Felix Davis, Jeffersonville, George Williams, Cincinnati, two colored men, names not mentioned. Total of killed, 17.

Scalded :—Wm. Spear, Pittsburgh, badly, John Gebhard Irishman, do., Henry Snodgrass, Parke county, Indiana, Levi Hamblin, Deboyne, Mr. Hentry, Louisville, W. Southworth, New York, E. Ford, Boston, Richard Fulton, Indiana, Wm. Reagan, Scott county, Missouri, R. A. Braden, Lawrence county, Tennessee, Mrs. Barade and two children of Ditto, W. W. Creary, Scott county Missouri, Tilden Hogg, Randolph.


 MARCH 13, 1836.

The steamboat Ben Franklin, on the day of this awful occurrence, was backing out from her wharf at Mobile, in order to make her regular trip to Montgomery. Scarcely had she disengaged herself from the wharf, when the explosion took place, producing a concussion which seemed to shake the whole city to its foundations. The entire population of Mobile, alarmed by the terrific detonation, was drawn to the spot to witness a spectacle which must have harrowed every soul with astonishment and horror. This fine boat, which had on that very morning floated so gallantly on the bosom of the lake, was now a shattered wreck, while numbers of her passengers and crew were lying on the decks, either motionless and mutilated corpses, or agonized sufferers panting and struggling in the grasp of death.

Many others had been hurled overboard at the moment of the explosion, and such were the numbers of drowning people who called for assistance, that the crowd of sympathising spectators were distracted and irresolute, not knowing where or how to begin the work of rescue. Many how many, it is impossible to say perished in the turbid waters before any human succor could reach them.

Apart from the loss of life, which at that time was unexampled, the destruction produced by this accident was very extensive. The boilerdeck, the boilers, the chimneys, and other parts of the machinery, besides much of the lading, were blown overboard and scattered into fragments over the wharf and the surface of the river. Mr. Isaac Williams, a passenger, was blown at least one hundred feet high in the air, and his dead body fell into the water, about one hundred and fifty yards from the boat.

The cause of the accident is believed to have been a deficiency of water in the boiler. The boat was injured to that degree that repairs were out of the question, and she was never afterwards brought into service.

The usual uncertainty attends the estimated number of lives lost by this calamity. Many of those who perished, had just entered the boat, and had not registered their names; and, among the mangled corpses, not a few retained scarcely any vestige of the human form, so that the identification of particular persons was impossible. We have, after much research, obtained the following list of the sufferers, which we believe to be the most complete account ever published.

Killed.—Robert Brinkley, pilot; Isaac Williams, of Wilcox County, Kentucky; James Purnell, William Jones, Jacob Patty, firemen ; James Hulson, Isaac Flannegin, deck hands; Mr. Martin, of North Carolina; S. G. Simpson, carpenter; Thomas Cravin, cabin-boy; three colored men, names unknown; two slaves of Mr. S. B. Heade, and one of Mrs. Terry.

Badly Wounded.—Captain H. A. Leade; R. G. Gordon, of Mobile ; Colonel R. Singleton, of Baldwin County, Alabama ; Capt. Scuddy, James Flommen, Clark County, Indiana; E. II. Dickerson, Montgomery; Mr. Godfrey, Washington; Joseph Thompson, William Jacobson, first and second engineers; Mr. Thompson, of Columbus, Ohio; Miss Norris and slave, of Mobile.

Slightly Wounded.—Samuel Murphy, bar-keeper; Dr. Tunstall, Mount Vernon; Thomas Tony, deck hand; William Hyde, Baldwin County, Alabama; J. A. Wiggins, Claiborne.

The citizens of Mobile, with their customary humanity and generosity, took the wounded in charge, and did every thing in their power to mitigate their sufferings.


This distressing accident, by which sixteen persons were instantly killed, and several others were badly scalded, took place on the Mississippi, while the boat was on her voyage from St. Louis to Galena. The locality of the dreadful event was off Muscatine Bar, eight miles below Bloomington. The Dubuque was running under a moderate pressure of steam at the time, when the flue of the larboard boiler, probably on account of some defect in the material or workmanship, collapsed, throwing a torrent of scalding water over the deck. The pilot immediately steered for the shore and effected a landing.

When the consternation and dismay occasioned by the explosion had in some measure subsided, Captain Smoker, the commander of the Dubuque, and such of his crew as were not disabled by this accident, made their way, with considerable difficulty, through the ruins to the afterpart of the boiler-deck, when it was found that the whole of the freight, and every other article which had been there deposited, was cleared off and wafted far away into the water. The unfortunate deck passengers, together with the cooks and several of the crew, were severely scalded, either by the hot water or escaped steam. Many of these wretched people, in their agony, fled to the shore, uttering the most appalling shrieks, and tearing off their clothes, which in some cases brought away the skin, and even the flesh, with them.

Humanity shudders at the recollection of the scene. It was several hours before any of them died; nor could medical relief be obtained until a boat, which had been despatched to Bloomington, returned with several physicians who resided at that place. At 10 o'clock, P. M., eight hours after the explosion, the steamboat Adventure, Captain Van Housen, came up with the wreck, and took it in tow as far as Bloomington.

The following is a list of the sufferers as far as ascertained:

Killed :—John Littleton, second engineer; he was badly wounded in the head by a piece of iron, a part of the flue, and survived about three hours ; Isaac Deal, of Pittsburgh, fireman ; Felix Pope, Kaskaskia; Charles Kelly, deck hand, from Ohio; Noah Owen, Quincy; Jesse Johnson, colored cook, thrown overboard and drowned ; Benjamin Muser, another colored cook. The rest of the killed were deck passengers,  James C. Carr, St. Clair county, Illinois; George McMurtry, Francis Pleasant, colored, Henry A. Carr, John C. Hamilton, Joseph Brady, and John Boland, of Dubuque; Joseph L. Sams, and L. B. Sams, of Clay county, Illinois; Martin Shoughnohoy, St. Louis; George Clix, of Galena; David Francour, Frenchman; wife and child of Michael Shanghnessy.

M. Shanghnessy, the husband and father of the two victims last mentioned, was badly scalded, but survived. Three other deck passengers, young men, names unknown, are supposed to have been thrown overboard and drowned ; and it is strongly suspected that others beside these perished in the same manner.


On the night of Saturday, June 2, 1832, the steamboat Hornet, Captain Sullivan, while ascending the Ohio river on her way to Kanawha, and when about thirty-three miles above Maysville, Kentucky, encountered a sudden and violent gale blowing from the southwest, and immediately capsized. Exclusive of the persons belonging to the boat, there were forty-two people on board, : twelve cabin and thirty deck passengers, nearly half of whom were drowned. The Hornet righted soon after the disaster, and was towed to the nearest port, Concord, by the steamboat Guyandotte, Captain Davis Embree.

Of the twenty persons drowned by this accident, all the names which have been preserved are comprised in the following list:

Thomas Duvall, of Muskingum, Ohio ; Messrs. Le Clerc and Perot, two French gentlemen of New Orleans; Mrs. Garrett, of Greenupsburgh, Kentucky ; Mr. Blackstone, of Guyandotte; Wm. H. Colbert, of Kingston ; and two colored women, slaves belonging to passengers.

Of the boats crew, Captain Sullivan, master ; John Johnston, pilot, of Gallipolis; Edward Jones, a sailor, of Cincinnati; a chambermaid and a female cook, both colored.


SEPT. 10, 1816.

In the midst of a furious thunder-storm, accompanied by a heavy fall of rain, the steamboat Enterprise, Capt. Howard, was making her way up the river, at nine o'clock, p. M., (having but a few minutes before stopped to land some passengers on Sullivan's island,) when the boiler exploded, killing eight persons instantly, and wounding five or six others, with various degrees of severity. Fortunately, a majority of the passengers had crowded into the cabin to avoid the rain ; this circumstance, no doubt, was the means of saving many persons from a horrible death; a fate to which nearly all who remained on deck were subjected. The noise of the explosion was so very slight, as to be scarcely noticed by the people collected in the cabin; and they were first made aware of the accident by hearing the hissing sound of the hot water which escaped from the boiler, and the shrieks of the persons on deck who had been scalded or otherwise burnt.

There were about seventy passengers on board the Enterprise, and providentially no women or children. Several of the persons whose deaths are reported below, were killed by pieces of the boiler and flue, some of which were blown to a great distance. Others were scalded to death, or badly burned by the ignited fuel from the furnace, which was scattered in every direction, knocking some of the people down, and overwhelming them, as it were, in a whirlpool of fire. The night was made hideous by the cries and groans of the sufferers, which rose above the din of the warring elements.

At the time of the accident, the steamer was fortunately not more than one hundred yards from the Island, from whence boats were immediately despatched to the scene of destruction, to afford that assistance which the situation of the passengers and crew required. All the survivors, including the wounded, were conveyed to the Island, where they were provided with such accommodations as their condition demanded and circumstances would admit of.

Some difference of opinion existed with respect to the cause of this accident. Captain Howard, master of the boat, and some of the passengers, held the opinion that the flue was struck by lightning, which being conducted by the metallic tube down to the boiler, shivered the latter to fragments. In opposition to this opinion, it is alleged that salt water was used for the purpose of raising steam, and as the boiler was composed of cast iron and not of copper, an explosion, according to the theory of skillful engineers, was inevitable.

As stated above, eight persons lost their lives by this accident. Their names, with one exception, Mr. Robbs, were never published. Three of those killed were colored men. Four of the crew, not included in the above statement, were so severely burned that their lives were despaired of, and it is probable that they died soon after.


The Polander, Captain Menaugh, had just left the wharf at Cincinnati, about eight o'clock, p. M., the night being dark and foggy, when she encountered the Hornet, which was coming into port. Both vessels were considerably injured, and the Captain of the Hornet was crushed to death. One of the crew of the same vessel was severely wounded. No further particulars have been published.


The destruction of the Lioness was caused by the explosion of several barrels of gunpowder, which were stowed, among other freight, in the hold. The accident, therefore, cannot be attributed to any defect in the steam apparatus, or to any mismanagement thereof. The catastrophe took place at an early hour, on a calm and beautiful Sabbath morning in spring. Many of the passengers had not left their berths. Among those that had embarked in the Lioness at New Orleans, were the Hon. Josiah S. Johnston, of the United States Senate, and several other distinguished citizens of Louisiana. The boat was commanded by Capt. William L. Cockerell; her place of destination was Nachitoches, on Red river. She had accomplished a considerable part of the voyage, and reached the north of a small stream called Ragolet Bon Dieu, when, on the morning referred to above, the mate and several of the crew were arranging some part of the cargo in the hold; and as the place was dark, they found it necessary to use a lighted candle. It is conjectured that a spark from the candle, in some way, found access to one of the kegs of powder; but as every person who had been at work in the hold was killed by the explosion, the mode in which the powder became ignited could never be ascertained. It is reported that some articles of a very combustible nature, such as crates containing a quantity of dry straw and several casks of oil, were stowed in dangerous proximity to the powder. It was stated by some of the passengers that three distinct explosions were heard. The forecabin, the boiler deck, and the hold immediately under them, were literally torn to pieces, and the fragments were scattered over the surrounding waters to a surprising distance. A part of the hurricane deck and a portion of the lady's cabin were likewise detached; and this proved to be a favourable circumstance, as the hull almost immediately sunk, and, in all likelihood, every female on board, and many other persons, would have been drowned, had they not been sustained on the detached pieces of the wreck just spoken of. As it was, all the women were saved; and the loss of life, though terrible enough indeed, was less than might have been expected, in view of all the circumstances of the disaster. The hull of the vessel was on fire almost from stem to stern, at the time she went down. All of the crew and passengers who survived, saved themselves by swimming, or were floated to the shore on fragments of the wreck. The names of the sufferers, as far as they could be ascertained, are given below.

Drowned, Or Killed By The Explosion.—Hon. Josiah S. Johnston, Member of Congress, of Louisiana; B. Riggs, Esq., Michael Boyce, Esq., of Alexandria, Louisiana; Michael Clifford, New Orleans ; H. Hertz and Thomas Irwin, a deck passenger, of Texas; John Coley, mate of the Lioness, Louisville ; John Clarke, Englishman, steward of the same; Samuel Landis, William Kant, James Folsome, sailors; another sailor, name unknown; Mary Anderson, chambermaid; Alexander, colored cook; and a colored servant belonging to one of the passengers.

Wounded.—Josiah Johnston, Jr., son of the Hon. J. S. Johnston, mentioned in the list of killed; Hon. Edward D. White, of Louisiana; Henry Boyce, Esq., Mr. Dunbar (badly hurt), of Alexandria, Louisiana ; J. H. Graham, New Orleans; Michael Colgen, J. V. Bossier, M. Rupen, of Natchitoches ; Isaac Wright, Pilot; John Roberts, engineer ; John Rogers, sailor; and two firemen, names unknown.


This awful calamity, which hurried more than fifty human beings into eternity, occurred on a cold wintry night, while the Black Hawk was about to ascend the Red river, on her passage from Natchez to Natchitoches. The boat had a full load of passengers and freight, including ninety thousand dollars in specie belonging to the United States government. She had just reached the mouth of Red river, when the boiler exploded, blowing off all the upper works forward of the wheels. The pilot and engineer were instantly killed.

The number of passengers on board is stated to have been about one hundred, nearly half of whom were women and children. No estimate of the number killed was ever published, but it appears from the best accounts we have that a majority of the passengers and crew perished. A large proportion of the passengers on western steamboats are persons from distant parts of the country, or emigrants, perhaps, from the old world, whose journeyings are unknown to their friends, and whose fate often excites no inquiry. When such persons are the victims of a steamboat calamity, their names, and frequently their numbers, are beyond all powers of research. So it appears to have been in the case now under consideration. Instead of a list of the slain, we are furnished only with a catalogue of the survivors, and these, alas, appear to have been merely a forlorn remnant. The only cabin passenger whose name is mentioned in the list of killed furnished by the clerk, was Mr. Delisle, of Natchez. Among the deck passengers, fifteen were known to be lost, three others died soon after the explosion, one was observed to sink while attempting to swim ashore, and twelve more were scalded severely, and fifteen slightly. A subsequent account added to the above list of killed Mrs. Delancey and her three children, of Boston ; Dr. Van Bantz, drowned, and Wm. Tolling, who was mortally wounded and died within a few hours. The latest and most authentic account stated that not less than fifty persons must have perished by the explosion of the Black Hawk. The crew of the boat suffered to a considerable extent. The pilot was blown overboard and lost. Henry Sligh, colored engineer, was killed. George Johnson, another engineer, was dangerously wounded. Felix Ray, barkeeper, was very badly scalded. Four firemen were killed, and one was wounded. Two deck hands were killed. The cook, steward, and cabin boy were all dangerously wounded. Two slaves belonging to Mr. Duffield were drowned. After the explosion, the wreck, being all in flames, floated fifteen miles down the stream, and then sunk. Some of the passengers were taken off the burning wreck by a flat-boat. It is mentioned that the females on board of the Black Hawk rendered essential service by baling and assisting to extinguish the flames. A part of the cargo and seventy-five thousand dollars of the specie were saved. Several valuable horses, which had been shipped at Natchez, were drowned.


 APRIL 25, 1838.

We are now about to relate the particulars of an event which seemed for a time to shroud the whole country in mourning ; an event which is still believed to be almost without a parallel in the annals of steamboat calamities. The Moselle was regarded as the very paragon of western steamboats ; she was perfect in form and construction, elegant and superb in all her equipments, and enjoyed a reputation for speed which admitted of no rivalship. Her commander and proprietor, Capt. Perrin, was a young gentleman of great ambition and enterprise, who prided himself, above all things, in that celebrity which his boat had acquired, and who resolved to maintain, at all hazards, the character of the Moselle as "the swiftest steamboat in America." This character she unquestionably deserved ; for her "quick trips" were without competition at that time, and are rarely equalled at the present day. To give two examples:—her first voyage from Portsmouth to Cincinnati, a distance of one hundred and ten miles, was made in seven hours and fifty-five minutes; and her last trip, from St. Louis to Cincinnati, seven hundred and fifty-miles, was performed in two days and sixteen hours; the quickest trip, by several hours, that had ever been made between the two places.

 On the afternoon of April 25, 1838, between four and five o'clock, the Moselle left the landing at Cincinnati, bound for St. Louis, with an unusually large number of passengers, supposed to be not less than two hundred and eighty, or, according to some accounts, three hundred. It was a pleasant afternoon, and all on board probably anticipated a delightful voyage. Passengers continued to crowd in up to the moment of departure, for the superior accommodations of this steamer, and her renown as the finest and swiftest boat on the river, were great attractions for the travelling public, with whom safety is too often but a secondary consideration. The Moselle proceeded about a mile up the river to take on some German emigrants. At this time, it was observed by an experienced engineer on board that the steam had been raised to an unusual height; and when the boat stopped for the purpose just mentioned, it was reported that one man, who was apprehensive of danger, went ashore, after protesting against the injudicious management of the steam apparatus. When the object for which the Moselle had landed was accomplished, the bow of the boat was shoved from the shore, and at that instant the explosion took place. The whole of the vessel forward of the wheels was blown to splinters ; every timber, (as an eye witness declares,) "appeared to be twisted, as trees sometimes are when struck by lightning." As soon as the accident occurred, the boat floated down the stream for about one hundred yards, where she sunk, leaving the upper part of the cabin out of the water, and the baggage, together with many struggling human beings, floating on the surface of the river.

It was remarked that the force of the explosion was unprecedented in the history of steam; its effect was like that of a mine of gunpowder. All the boilers, four in number, burst simultaneously; the deck was blown into the air, and the human beings who crowded it were doomed to instant destruction. Fragments of the boiler and of human bodies were thrown both to the Kentucky and Ohio shores, although the distance to the former was a quarter of a mile. Captain Perrin, master of the Moselle, at the time of the accident was standing on the deck, above the boiler, in conversation with another person. He was thrown to a considerable height on the steep embankment of the river and killed, while his companion was merely prostrated on the deck, and escaped without injury. Another person was blown to the distance of a hundred yards, with such force, according to the report of a reliable witness, that his head and a part of his body penetrated the roof of a house. Some of the passengers who were in the after part of the boat, and who were uninjured by the explosion, jumped overboard. An eye-witness says that he saw sixty or seventy in the water at one time, of whom not a dozen reached the shore.

It happened, unfortunately, that the larger number of the passengers were collected on the upper deck, to which the balmy air and delicious weather seemed to invite them in order to expose them to more certain destruction. It was understood, too, that the captain of this ill-fated steamer had expressed his determination to outstrip an opposition boat which had just started ; the people on shore were cheering the Moselle in anticipation of her success in the race, and the passengers and crew on the upper deck responded to these acclamations, which were soon changed to sounds of mourning and distress.

Intelligence of the awful calamity spread rapidly through the city; thousands rushed to the spot, and the most benevolent aid was promptly extended to the sufferers, or, as we should rather say, to such as were within the reach of human assistance, for the majority had perished. A gentleman who was among those who hastened to the wreck, declares that he witnessed a scene so sad and distressing that no language can depict it with fidelity. On the shore lay twenty or thirty mangled and still bleeding corpses; while many persons were engaged in dragging others of the dead or wounded from the wreck or the water. But, says the same witness, the survivors presented the most touching objects of distress, as their mental anguish seemed more insupportable than the most intense bodily suffering. Death had torn asunder the most tender ties; but the rupture had been so sudden and violent that none knew certainly who had been taken or who had been spared. Fathers were distractedly inquiring for children, children for parents, husbands and wives for each other. One man had saved a son, but lost a wife and five children. A father, partially demented by grief, lay with a wounded child on one side, his dead daughter on the other, and his expiring wife at his feet. One gentleman sought his wife and children, who were as eagerly seeking him in the same crowd. They met, and were re-united .

A female deck passenger who had been saved, seemed inconsolable for the loss of her relatives. Her constant exclamations were, " Oh, my father ! my mother ! my sisters !" A little boy, about five years old, whose head was much bruised, appeared to be regardless of his wounds, and cried continually for a lost father; while another lad, a little older, was weeping for his whole family.

One venerable looking man wept for the loss of a wife and five children. Another was bereft of his whole family, consisting of nine persons. A touching display of maternal affection was evinced by a lady, who, on being brought to the shore, clasped her hands and exclaimed, " Thank God, I am safe!" but instantly recollecting herself, she ejaculated in a voice of piercing agony, "Where is my child?" The infant, which had also been saved, was brought to her, and she fainted at the sight of it.

Many of the passengers who entered the boat at Cincinnati had not registered their names ; but the lowest estimated number of persons on board was two hundred and eighty; of these, eighty-one were known to be killed, fifty-five were missing, and thirteen badly wounded. It remains for us to give the names of the sufferers, as far as they could be ascertained; but this list, although we have searched every record of the accident, for reasons which have already been explained is still far from complete.

Killed.—Elijah North, of Alton, Illinois; Miss Mary Parker, (drowned,) and B. Furmon, merchant, Middletown, Ohio; Job Jones, of Loudon County, Virginia; B. Mitchell, barkeeper, of Cincinnati; Capt. Perrin, master of the Moselle ; J. Chapman, second clerk; T. C. Powell, of Louisville, Kentucky; H. B. Casey, of Cincinnati; James Barnet, of Missouri; Calvin R. Stone, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts ; James Douglass, of Fort Madison, Wisconsin ; J. Williams, colored; Henry Stokes, second steward; Holly Dillon, fireman; J. Madder, first engineer ; Robert Watt, deck hand ; E. Dunn, chambermaid ; James B. McFarland, Knox County, Ohio ; Miss Dunham; J. M. Watkins, of Virginia ; M. Thomas, first mate; A. Burns, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Halsey Williams, second engineer; a child of P. Troutman; G. Kramer's wife and five children; J. Fleming, pilot, (body blown to the opposite side of the river,) and J. Dillon. Many whose names are inserted under the head of "missing" may properly be added to this list. A large number of those who perished were Irish and German emigrants, whose names are unknown.

Badly Wounded.—William H. Inskeep, St. Clairsville, Ohio; Mr. Sherwood, of Cincinnati; Benjamin Bowman, first clerk ; James Tyrrell, deck hand ; De Jaune, fireman; Stephen Bailey, carpenter ; Isaac Van Hook ; a brother of Capt. Perrin; D. Higbee, of Cayuga County, New York; Edward Sexton ; Mr. Teed, of Worcester, Massachusetts ; Franklin, second cook ; James Fry, third cook.

Missing.—Lieut. Col. Fowl, U. S. A ; two children of George Kramer ; Wm. Parker's wife and two children, Dr. H. Huey, U. S. A.; Joseph Swift, Buffalo, N. Y.; Joseph Fotler, Filbain Fotler, Grechan Fotler, and Jacob Fotler, of Boston, Mass.; John Beaver, Joseph Beaver, Eva Beaver, Mary Beaver, Jacob Beaver, and several children of Joseph and Eva Beaver ; a child of Peter Trautman, aged two and a half years ; Thomas Watt, a deck hand ; Michael Kennedy's wife and two children ; D. Higbee's wife and two children; E. Raymond, wife and child, of Baltimore, Md.; John Endig and John Leim, and the wife and child of each ; John Tyree, St. Louis; Payton Bird, fireman; John Anderson ; Mr. Weber and three children; J. Weaver, St. Louis; Wilson Burrows, deck hand ; Mr. Fox, first clerk; J. Duncan, wife and two children; M. Manning and J. Lander, from Ireland ; Wm. Dougherty, G. Weaver, D. Brackwell.

On the day after the accident a public meeting was called at Cincinnati, at which the Mayor presided, when the facts of this melancholy occurrence were discussed, and among other resolutions passed was one deprecating " the great and increasing carelessness in the navigation of steam vessels," and urging this subject upon the consideration of Congress. No one denied that this sad event, which caused so much consternation, suffering, and sorrow, was the result of a reckless and criminal inattention to their duty on the part of those who had the management of the Moselle, nor was there any attempt to palliate their conduct.

The Moselle was built at Cincinnati, and she reflected great credit on the mechanical genius of that city, as she was truly a superior boat, and, under more favorable auspices, might have been the pride of the •waters for many years. She was quite a new boat, having been begun on the 1st of December, 1838, and finished on the 31st of March, less than one month before the time of her destruction.


On the 8th of May, 1837, the large Louisville and New Orleans packet, the Ben Sherrod, caught fire on her upward trip, while she was engaged in an exciting race with the steamer Prairie. It was one o'clock at night, and the boat was about fourteen miles above Fort Adams, ploughing her way up the Mississippi with great velocity. The Prairie was just ahead of her, in sight, and the crew of the Ben Sherrod were determined, if possible, to go by her. The firemen were shoving in the pine knots, and sprinkling rosin over the coal, and doing their best to raise more steam. They had a barrel of whisky before them, from which they drank often and freely until they were beastly drunk. The boilers became so hot that they set fire to sixty cords of wood on board, and the Ben Sherrod was soon completely enveloped in flames. The passengers, three hundred in number, were sound asleep, not thinking of the awful doom that awaited them. When the deck hands discovered the fire, they basely left their posts and ran for the yawl, without giving the alarm to the passengers. Capt. Castleman attempted for a time to allay the excitement and confusion, by telling them the fire was extinguished. Twice he forbade the lowering of the yawl, which was attempted. The shrieks of nearly three hundred and fifty persons now on board, rose wild and dreadful, which might have been heard at a distance of several miles. The cry was, " To the shore ! to the shore !" and the boat made for the starboard shore, but did not gain it, as the wheel ropes soon burnt. The steam was not let off, and the boat kept on up the river. The scene of horror now beggared all description. The yawl, which had been filled with the crew, had sunk, drowning nearly all who were in it; and the passengers had no other alternative than to jump overboard, without even taking time to dress.

There were ten ladies who all went overboard without uttering a single scream; some drowned instantly, and others clung to planks ; two of the number were all that were saved. Several passengers were burnt alive. One man by the name of Ray, from Louisville, Kentucky, jumped overboard, and hung to a rope at the bow of the boat, until rescued by the yawl of the steamer Columbus, which arrived at the scene half an hour after the boat took fire. Mr. Ray's face and arms were much burnt while clinging to the boat. He lost twenty thousand dollars in specie. The steamboat Alton arrived half an hour after the Columbus, but from the carelessness or indiscretion of those on her, was the means of drowning many persons who were floating in the water. She came down under full headway among the exhausted sufferers, who were too weak to make any further exertion, and by the commotion occasioned by her wheels drowned a large number. A gentleman by the name of Hamilton, from Limestone county, Alabama, was floating on a barrel, and sustaining also a lady, when the Alton came up, washing them both under. The lady was drowned, but Mr. Hamilton came up and floated down the river fifteen miles, when he was rescued by the steamer Statesman. Mr. McDowell sustained himself some time against the current, so that he floated only two miles down the river, and then swam ashore. His wife, who was floating on a plank, was drowned by the steamer Alton.

Mr. Rundell floated down the river ten miles, and was taken up by a flat-boat at the mouth of Buffalo creek; he saved his money in his pantaloons' pocket. Mr. McDowell lost his wife, son, and a lady named Miss Frances Few, who was under his protection; also a negro servant. Of those who escaped, we have seen and conversed with James P. Wilkinson, Esq., Mr. Stanfield, of Richmond, Virginia, and Daniel Marshall, Esq., of Moscow, Indiana. The scene, as described by them, was truly heart-rending; while some were confined to their berths, and consumed by the flames, others plunged into the river to find watery graves. One lady, who attached herself to Mr. Marshall, and had clung to him while they floated four or five miles, was at length drowned by the waves of the Alton, after imploring the boat's crew for assistance and mercy. Mr. Marshall was supported by a flour barrel. Only two ladies out of ten who were on board were saved; one of these was Mrs. Castleman, the Captain's wife ; the other was Mrs. Smith, of New Orleans.

It was said by some of the passengers, that the captain of the Alton did not hear the cries of those who implored him for assistance as he passed, it being midnight; but there can be no excuse for the monster who commanded the Prairie, for leaving a boat in flames without turning around and affording the sufferers relief. He reported her on fire at Natchez and Vicksburg.

A man in a canoe near the scene of the disaster refused to save any who were floating in the water, unless they promised to pay him handsomely for his services. So rapid were the flames that not even the  register of the boat was saved; hence it was impossible to get a full list of the lost. One of the officers of the boat informed us, that out of seventy-eight deck passengers not more than six were saved. This was one of the most serious calamities that ever occurred on the Mississippi river, there being at least one hundred and seventy families deprived by it of some dear and beloved member, and over two hundred souls being hurried by it out of time into eternity, with scarce a moment's warning. During the burning of the Ben Sherrod eight different explosions occurred ; first, barrels of whiskey, brandy, and  then the boilers blew up with a fearful explosion, and lastly, forty barrels of gunpowder exploded, which made a noise that was heard many miles distant, scattering fragments of the wreck in all directions, and producing the grandest sight ever seen.

Immediately after, the wreck sunk out of sight just above Fort Adams. A large quantity of specie, which was on its way to the Tennessee Banks, was lost. One gentleman placed his pocketbook, containing thirty-eight thousand dollars, under his pillow, and though he managed to escape, he lost all his money. One scene was distressing in the extreme; a young and beautiful lady, whose name was Mary Ann Walker, on hearing the cry of fire, rushed out of the ladies' cabin in her loose night-clothes in search of her husband, at the same time holding her infant to her bosom; in her endeavors to get forward her dress caught fire, and was torn from her back to save her life. After witnessing her husband fall into the flames in the forward part of the boat, and unable to reach him, she leaped with her child into the water, seized a plank, and was carried by the current within forty yards of the Columbus, but just as she seized a rope thrown to her, both mother and child sank to rise no more. One young man, who had reached the hurricane deck in safety, hearing the cries of his sister, rushed back to the cabin, clasped her in his arms, and both were burnt to death. One of the clerks, one of the pilots, and the mate were burnt to death. All the chambermaids and women employed in the boat perished; only two negroes escaped out of thirty-five that were on the boat.

Lost—Three children and father of Captain Castleman; Mrs. McDowell, of Belfont, Ala.; Mrs. Gamble and three children, of New Orleans ; Miss Frances Few, of Belfont, South Alabama; Mr. Frances, burnt to death.

Passengers Saved—James Smith, lady and son; Thomas Cook, W. H. Cloud, Wm. Beattie, Amos Brundell, Thomas Larmer, Samuel Ray, Lister Sexton.

Great praise is due to Captain Austin of the Statesman, and Captain Littlejohn of the Columbus, for their humane efforts to save the passengers of the Ben Sherrod, for had they acted as the Captain of the Alton, not a soul would have heen saved to tell the tale of that calamity. Mr. Wm. Stamp's family did everything in their power to relieve the wants of the sufferers, and they will long be remembered for their kindness to the strangers in that trying time.

List OF Saved—G. Stanfield ; Mr. Gamble and his son, of New Orleans ; Ephraim Stanfield, Richmond, Virginia; Rosamond P. Andrews, A. H. Hartley, Arkansas; John Lowney, Indiana; Hugh Simpson, and Constantine Mahan, Tennessee ; P. H. Watkins, Bedford county, Virginia; Thompson Duvall, Shelby county, Indiana; Matthew M. Orme, Natchez; Thomas W. Blagg, Alabama ; J. S. Lowe, Tennessee; Charles W. Andrews, Yates county, New York; John Montgomery and James 0. Phillips, Indiana; J. W. Brent, Pecan Point; John Dasua, E. Bushman, E. H. Burnes and J. M. Williams, Indiana; John Blanc, New Orleans ; John A. Davis, Florence, Alabama; Erastus Griggs, Marietta, Ohio; A. Randall, Rocky Springs, Mississippi;. James P. Wilkinson, Richmond, Virginia; Canton Macon, Cincinnati; Wm. Wallace, New York ; Mrs. Smith, of Mobile.

List Of Officers Picked Up By The Columbus—Captain C. G. Castleman and lady; George Stiles, clerk ; Wm. Bell, first engineer; Stephen Hooks, second engineer; Charles Greenlee, pilot; Samuel Big, second mate ; John Hill, carpenter ; P. Rice, Jacob Lightstroff, John Eggman, A. Goddin, Amos Burby, Brilly John, M. P. Hard, Charles Simms, Fred. Cowen, Willis Caldwell, John Caldwell, John Johnson, Jacob Rose, Edward Fleece, B. McDaniel, Moses Caldwell, Charles Anderson. Peter Sevier, Andrew Moore, Joseph Cooper, Joseph Fisher, and John Clark.

A gentleman, Mr. Cook, floated down the river several miles before he was picked up. He hailed the wretched and despicable character who had put off in a yawl from the shore, and begged his assistance. The scoundrel, who was intent in picking up baggage, boxes, asked with the utmost sangfroid, "How much will you give me?" To the entreaties of others for help, he replied, " Oh, you are very well off there; keep cool, and you'll come out comfortable."

Poor Davis, the pilot at the wheel, was consumed; he was one in a thousand, preferring to die rather than leave his post in the hour of danger. Just before he left New Orleans, he was conversing with another pilot about the burning of the St. Martinsville ; said he, "If ever I should be on a boat that takes fire, and don't save the passengers, it will be because the tiller ropes burn, or I perish in the flames." And just such men as Davis are to be found among the western boatmen ; many have stood by their posts in the hour of danger, and perished rather than flinch from their duty.


The steamboat Brandywine, Capt. Hamilton, left New Orleans on the evening of April 3, 1832. Her place of destination was Louisville, Kentucky. Her voyage was prosperous until the evening of the 9th, at seven o'clock. When the boat was about thirty miles above Memphis, she was discovered to be on fire. Among the lading, it appears there were a number of carriage wheels wrapped in straw, as articles of that kind are usually put up for transportation on the river. These wheels were piled on the boiler-deck, near the officers' rooms, and under the hurricane roof. It is supposed that the fire was communicated from the furnaces to the highly combustible envelope of these wheels; the wind blew hard at the time, and the sparks were ascending very rapidly through the apertures in the boiler-deck, which were occupied by the chimneys, these not being closely fitted to the woodwork. It appears, too, that the Brandywine was racing with the steamboat Hudson at the time the fire broke out; and that, for the purpose of producing more intense heat, and thus accelerating the boat's speed, a large quantity of rosin had been thrown into the furnaces. This fatal ruse was resorted to because the Brandywine had been compelled to stop and make some repairs, and the Hudson, in the meantime, had gained considerable headway. Soon after the Brandywine had resumed her course, the pilot who was steering discovered that the straw covering of the carriage wheels was on fire. Strenuous efforts were made to extinguish the flames and to throw the burning articles overboard, but it was found that their removal allowed the wind to have free access to the ignited mass; from which cause, as Capt. Hamilton reports, the fire began to spread with almost incredible rapidity; and in less than five minutes from the time the alarm was first given, the whole boat was wrapped in a bright sheet of flame.

The state of affairs on board may be imagined, when it is understood that the Brandywine was crowded with passengers, and the only means of escape from a death of fiery torture which presented itself was the yawl, in which scarcely a tenth part of the affrighted people could be conveyed to the shore at a single trip. But even the faint hope of deliverance which this single mode of escape offered them, soon terminated in disappointment and despair. In the attempt to launch the yawl, it was upset and sunk. The heat and smoke had now become so insupportable, that not less than a hundred persons, made desperate by fear and suffering, threw themselves into the river.

The number of passengers on board, according to some reports, was not less than two hundred and thirty; of these only about seventy-five were saved; the rest were either drowned or burned to death. Among those who perished were nine women, and about an equal number of children.

As soon as all hope of extinguishing the flames was abandoned, an attempt was made to run the boat on shore, but she struck on a sandbar, in nine feet water, and about a quarter of a mile from the nearest bank of the river, where she remained immovable, until she was burnt to the water's edge. Those passengers, and other persons belonging to the boat, who had the good fortune to escape, saved themselves by swimming, or floating on detached pieces of timber to the nearest island. It is reported to the honor of Capt. Hamilton and his crew, that they remained on the burning boat to the last possible moment, exerting themselves to the utmost to save the lives which had been entrusted to their charge.

In this case, as in several others which we have noticed, the number of victims cannot be ascertained with any degree of precision. The following list of the killed, although it is the most complete account that we could obtain, does not, in all probability, comprise more than one-third of the real number.

Cabin Passengers.—H. Hilyard, H. II. Davenport, Fowler, and Robert Stothart, Nashville; Mrs. Walker and child ; Mrs. Sparks ; three colored women, and several children.

Deck Passengers.—L. Hamilton, Joseph Ford, Abner Osborne, Byce Jackson, B. Williams, Joseph Leonard, L. Flourney, Rails, B. Murell, Martin Cozine, John Myers, H. McMillan, Edward Bebee, John Mortimer, E. Wright, Marell, John Adams and brother, and W. Downes, Cincinnati; James Saunders, A. Stansbury, J. Knock, and Adam Abrams, New Orleans ; Mrs. Johnson, Philadelphia ; Miss Thompson, Baltimore; Miss Hettie Jones, Cincinnati; William Peters, St Louis; W. Williams, Chicago; Henry Hull, Detroit; James Ott, Hartford, Connecticut; D. French, New York; S. Michael, Missouri; E. Blanks, Kentucky; J. Carter, Natchez; Z. Shires, Boston; B. Colt, Memphis; Miss Blanton, Mississippi; Mrs. Williams; three children of Mr. Thompson, and Ethan Johnstone, Louisiana; and three slaves belonging to the boat.

The number of wounded could not have been less than seventy, some of whom were severely injured, and died, in consequence, soon after. Of those who escaped to the island, some were so badly burned, or otherwise injured, that they survived only for a few hours.


On Saturday morning, at six o'clock, April 21st, 1838, the steamboat Oronoko, Capt. John Crawford, came to anchor in the Mississippi, opposite Princeton, one hundred miles above Vicksburg, where she stopped for the purpose of sending her yawl ashore to receive some passengers. In less than five minutes after the machinery ceased moving, a flue collapsed, spreading death and devastation throughout the boat. This accident occurred before the people on board were aroused from their slumbers. The deck passengers were lodged on the lower deck, abaft the engine, where, as is customary in western steamboats, berths were provided for their accommodation. On this occasion the number of berths was insufficient, as the boat was thronged with emigrants, and mattresses had been spread over the floor for the use of those who could not be lodged in the berths. This apartment between decks was densely crowded with sleeping passengers, when the flue collapsed, as aforesaid, and the steam swept through the whole length of the boat with the force of a tornado, carrying everything before it. Many of the crew, whom duty had called on deck at that early hour, were blown overboard; and as the scalding vapor penetrated every part and recess of the cabin and space between decks, the slumbering population of the boat, with scarcely an individual exception, were either killed on the spot, or injured in a manner more terrible than death itself. Some of these unfortunates were completely excoriated, some shockingly mangled and torn, while others were cast among masses of ruins, fragments of wood and iron, piled up in inextricable confusion.

The deck was strewn with more than fifty helpless sufferers; the river was all alive with those that had been hurled overboard by the force of the explosion, and those who, frantic with pain and terror, had cast themselves into the water. Some of those who had been scalded swam to the bank, and then in the wildest phrenzy, occasioned by intolerable agony, leaped back into the water and were drowned. Those persons who occupied the cabin generally escaped before the steam reached that apartment; but one gentleman, Mr. Myers, of Wheeling, while making his way forward with his child in his arms, became alarmed at the scene of confusion and distress which presented itself, and rushing back to the cabin, which by this time was filled with steam, he and the child were both badly burned, and died soon afterwards.

Nearly one hundred deck passengers are supposed to have been sacrificed, the names of a great majority of whom were unknown, and are therefore not inserted in the subjoined list.

Persons Known To Have Been Killed—John Porter, second engineer, of Shippingsport, Kentucky; Owen Owens, Welshman, (blown overboard and drowned ;) Mr. Myers, of Wheeling, and his child, eight months old; John Walker, fireman ; E. Webb, Trumbull county, Ohio; P. McGallagher, brother and child, Mr. and Mrs. Flanegan, and two children, of Ireland; R. Hardenbroch, and Joseph Oilman, firemen, of Pittsburgh; Martha Mulligan, of Ireland; Wm. Jackson, Dr. Young, Georgia; Samuel Smith, New York ; V. Armstrong, Virginia ; Walter Dillon, Boston ; E. D. Murray, Syracuse, New York ; Dr. Williams, J. B. Clawson, M. D. Perry, Bath, Maine; Jethro Jacks, Mass.; 0. Arbinger, Louisville; S. Winters, Indiana; David Few, Lexington, Kentucky; John Bloodgood, B. Hunter, New Hampshire; D. Atkinson and U. Terrebonne, Louisiana; M. Dorsey, Kentucky ; Miss Wilhoite, Rhode Island; 0. Torrence, Missouri; Mary Ann Bostick, Cincinnati ; A. Hemfield, Delancy, New Orleans; Charles Olmstead, South Carolina; A. Dinwiddie, Maine'; and three others, not named.

The Wounded :—George Pettibone, of New York ; Joseph Tunis, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Enoch Heritage, Cincinnati, Ohio ; William Clayton, Galloway county, Kentucky ; George Henry, Wheeling, Virginia ; Wm. Haynes, Frederick county, Maryland; S. Smith, Onondago county, New York ; James Lloyd Harrington, Roxbury, Massachusetts ; wife and child of P. Gallagher; George Snodgrass, Cooper county, Mo.

Several of those mentioned in the list of wounded died of their injuries. Some of those blown overboard were picked up by the yawl, and two or three were saved by a skiff from the shore. The inhabitants of Princeton did all in their power to assist the distressed crew and passengers, and to alleviate their sufferings.

THE PILOT , March 10 , 1844

On the tenth of March, 1844, while the steamboat Pilot, Capt. Grow, was leaving the woodyard of Mr. Felix, opposite New Orleans, the starboard boiler burst with a terrific report. Capt. Gow and Mr. Felix were standing on the boiler-deck; both were blown overboard, and each had a leg broken, and they were otherwise severely injured, yet they succeeded in reaching the shore. William Gow, a son of the captain, was standing on the forecastle, and was frightfully mangled. His spine and both his legs were broken. He was removed to the hospital at New Orleans, where he expired on the following morning. One of the deck-hands jumped overboard and was drowned. John Nixon, first engineer, and Henry Fox, second engineer, were badly scalded. One of the steersmen was slightly scalded, and had both his legs broken. Capt. Gow himself had his legs broken, his skull fractured, and was internally injured, and it was supposed that he could not possibly recover. Several others who were on board were more or less hurt. One of the crew died of his injuries at the hospital, about a week after the accident took place.

Captain Gow and Mr. Felix were blown to the height of fifty feet in the air, and their escape from instant death is certainly one of the most extraordinary circumstances which we find in the records of steamboat calamities.


This steamer was on her way from New Orleans to St. Louis. On the fatal day, at one o'clock, A. M., when the boat was eighty miles below Natchez, the piston-rod gave way, by which accident the forward cylinder-head was broken, and a part of the boiler stand was carried away. The steam which escaped scalded forty-five persons, twenty of whom died on the same day. A list of the dead and wounded was furnished by the clerk. We copy it, with the usual doubts respecting its accuracy, as many names must have been unavoidably omitted.

Killed.—T. J. Spalding, fireman, of St. Charles, Mo.; Charles Brooks, deck passenger, residence unknown; William Blake, Boston, Mass.; Christian Herring, Germany; Mrs. E. Welch and two children, and J. O'Brian and wife, New Orleans; Seldon J. Broqua, Poland, Ky.; John Idida, France; David J. Rose, New Orleans; Dederick Groe, Germany; Frederick Gross, and Joseph B. Bossuet, Boston, Mass.; Peter Smith, New Orleans ; Joseph Lawrence, Parke co., Ind. ; Charlotte Fletcher and brother, England; Bilch, fireman; and six others whose names are unknown.

Wounded - Passengers — D. Husselnanger, and Mrs Christian Herring, Germany, (both badly scalded); Thomas Fletcher and wife, England, (badly burnt); Francis Bryan and wife, and Francis Sernelly, St. Louis; Thomas Butler; Isaac Raney; Alfred Davis, deck hand; John Brown, and James McDonald, firemen; five children of Adam Woolbridge, some of them badly scalded ; a slave of Thomas Johnston; Isadore Idida, deck passenger, badly scalded.

The cause of the disaster was probably a flaw or imperfection in the machinery.


The Tangipaho, N. Sharpe, master, was on her way from the lake terminus of the railroad to the Balize, and when about forty miles from her place of destination, she was discovered to be on fire. After some time spent in the vain effort to extinguish the flames, Captain Sharpe, Mr. Wilson, the pilot, and Mr. Smith, a passenger, left the boat (being obliged to use the hatches for a raft, as there was no small boat on board), with the intention of reaching the nearest land. Mr. Phillip Grennell, the mate, and six colored men employed as deck hands, remained in the steamer. About night-fall the chimneys fell in, and then the mate and his assistants succeeded in extinguishing the fire. Mr. Grennell then constructed several sails by joining blankets together, and put the boat before the wind, hoping to reach South Pass, or some other place of security. After drifting about all the succeeding day, Saturday, March 3rd, they cast anchor near the beach,and went on shore for water, but were unable to obtain any. They weighed anchor, and ran the boat on shore in the marshes on Sunday afternoon. From thence they travelled to Johnson's store on the Mississippi, where they procured a skiff, crossed to the opposite side, and were taken on board by the tow-boat Farmer, Captain Morrison.

The gentlemen who betook themselves to the hatches,  : Captain Sharpe and Messrs. Wilson and Smith, were doubtless lost, as nothing was heard of them afterwards. All might have been saved, had the steamer been provided with a small boat!

THE GEN. BROWN, NOV. 25, 1838.

For the particulars of this disaster we are indebted to Capt. Robert McConnell, now of Paducah, Ky., who was clerk on board the General Brown, and an eye-witness of the explosion and its dreadful results. This steamer, under the command of Captain Samuel Clark, left Louisville, Ky., for New Orleans on the 19th of November, 1838. This was her first trip of the season, and the water was quite low in both rivers, being only five feet in the Ohio and seven feet in the Mississippi. Circumstances seemed to threaten misfortune from the very beginning of " the voyage ; for in passing over a sand-bar at no great distance from Louisville, the General Brown came in collision with the steamer Washington, bound up the river, by which accident the larboard wheel of the Gen. Brown was damaged to that degree that repairs were necessary before the boat could proceed. The carpenter succeeded in fitting up a temporary wheel, which answered the purpose very imperfectly; however, the boat was enabled to continue her trip, working along slowly until the morning of Sunday, November 25th, when she reached Helena, Ark., where she stopped to land a passenger .

This being done, the captain, who stood on the hurricane roof, took the bell-rope in his hand to give the usual signal of departure; but at the first tap of the bell, the boilers exploded with a deafening crash, and that single stroke of the bell was to many a signal of departure to that eternal world from whence no traveller returns. Capt. Clark himself, while still grasping the bell rope convulsively in his hand, was blown overboard, together with a portion of the wood-work on which he stood. He had been holding a lively conversation with Dr. Price, of Lexington, a few moments before. Dr. P. stood on the same platform, and shared the same melancholy fate, both gentlemen being afterwards found among the dead. Captain McConnell, who gives this account, was thrown from the railing on which he stood after notifying the captain that the boat was ready to start. He fell on the deck and received but little injury. He supposes that the persons killed numbered about fifty-five, and the wounded fifteen or twenty. The names which follow are all that he could call to remembrance.

Killed - Capt. Samuel Clark, master of the boat; Joseph Underwood, and Hamilton McKay, pilots; James Wilson, first engineer ; Basil Boons, mate ; Ely Johns, second clerk; carpenter, name not recollected; Patrick Dunn, bar-keeper; eight or ten firemen and deckhands.

Passengers - C. Libley, D. L. Davis, N. A. Miller, and Dr. Price, of Lexington, Ky.; H. M, Blanchard, E. Hubbard, George Johnson, J. K. Gutherite, T. D. Sims, C. Keane, T. D. Levey, A. Dugan, Dr. Johnson and wife, B. Walker, C. Stansbury, 0. Perry, and several others, making a total of fifty-five.

The names of the wounded are not given. Capt. McConnell exonerates the commander of the General Brown from all blame, declaring that he frequently urged the firemen and engineers to use the utmost caution, and to carry as little steam as possible, on account of the crippled condition of the boat.


The steamboat Elizabeth, Capt. Gordon, was ascending the Mississippi on Tuesday, April 3d, 1845, having left New Orleans on the preceding Sunday. About three o'clock, P. M., just as she entered the Courtauban, her boiler collapsed, making a complete wreck of her upper works. The numerous pieces of the deck, &c., blown overboard, afforded the means of escape to a number of persons who had been projected into the water.

The names of the persons who were killed or injured by this accident were given by the clerk of the boat, whose statement we copy:

J. H. Gordon, the captain, was very badly scalded and bruised. Daniel Yorke, mate, killed. Freeman B. Lamb, first pilot, leg fractured. James Marquite, first engineer, very badly injured. Nelson

Hill, second engineer, missing. Rhodes, deck hand, missing.

One colored fireman slightly scalded, and another missing.

The passengers were uninjured, except a few who were slightly bruised.


On the 21st day of August, 1846, the Enterprise was about casting off from a landing-place on the river, forty-five miles above Renoza, Where she had been moored during the night; and scarcely had the paddle-wheels made three revolutions, when the boiler exploded, making a fearful havoc among the passengers (TJ. S. volunteers) and crew, who numbered altogether about one hundred and fifty persons. The hull, and those parts of the boat adjacent to the stern, were but little damaged, but the forward works, with everything in the neighborhood of the boilers, were torn to pieces or blown overboard. There were sixteen men sleeping between the chimneys, all of whom experienced, more or less, the sad effects of the accident.

Many were shot into the air, and falling into the water, were drowned, being too much disabled to swim, or to make any other effort for their own preservation. Others fell on different parts of the boat, and were horribly mutilated. The boilers were very much shattered, the pieces flying about in every direction, and falling in a shower of iron fragments on the deck. In such circumstances, the escape of so many of the crew and passengers from death or severe injury was almost miraculous. No satisfactory account of the cause of the disaster has been given, but it was conjectured that some leakage in the boilers caused a deficiency of water therein, which is a frequent cause of steamboat explosions.

The Killed—Enoch Tucker, Texas; Thomas Gaufney, N. Y.; A. Boswell, Tenn.; Mr. Seaps, second cook ; a passenger, name unknown.

Badly Wounded—Lieutenant Bearing, of the Louisville Legion ; William A. Crook, and C. B. Crook, of Tenn.; Capt. Woods, William Grey, Jacob Bowringe, and Thomas Eagle, Texas ; J. C. Howard, sutler, of Baltimore, Md.; Joseph Grigsby and William Hickey, sutlers of Louisville Legion ; Mr. Tabor, pilot; Thomas Kennepee, Samuel Martin, Patrick Kelley, Frank Tallant, deck hand ; J. F. Clark, mate.

Slightly Wounded—Milton Cunningham and James Wilson, Tenn.; J. Wheeler, J. Humerick, Matthew Sampson, and Christian Coleman, Texas; J. Downing and Mr. Adams, sutlers of Louisville Legion ; Edmund Newell, clerk ; Capt. Kelsey, of Conn.; W. Arthines, fireman; Henry A. Emmons, second mate; Dr. H. S. Tudor.

Patrick Kelley, one of the wounded, was maddened by his sufferings, and died in a few days after the accident. The bodies of some of the passengers who were drowned, were recovered from the water and buried some miles below Renoza.


This magnificent steamer, Capt. Titus, commander, was destroyed by fire, on Lake Erie, on the 6th day of August, 1841, by which calamity more than one hundred and seventy-five persons lost their lives. The following account is given of the origin of this disaster. Among the passengers on board were six painters, who were going to Erie, to paint the steamboat Madison. They had with them several large demijohns filled with spirits of turpentine and varnish, which, unknown to Capt. Titus, they had placed on the boiler-deck, directly over the boilers. One of the firemen who survived the accident, asserts that he discovered the dangerous position of these demijohns, a short time after the boat left the wharf, and removed them to a safer locality ; but some person must have replaced them, without being aware of the inflammable nature of the contents. Immediately before the fire broke out, a slight explosion was heard; the sound is said to have resembled that which is made by a single puff of a high-pressure steamengine. The supposition is that one of the demijohns bursted, in consequence of its exposure to the heat. The liquid poured out on the boiler-deck instantly took fire, and within a few minutes all that part of the boat was in flames. The steamer had recently been painted and varnished, and owing to this circumstance, the whole of the woodwork was very soon in a blaze. There were two hundred persons on board the Erie, and of that number only twenty-seven were saved.

Mr. Mann, of Pittsford, N. Y., who was one of the passengers, gives the following narrative, which comprises a history of this memorable and most horrifying event. Mr. Mann was walking on the promenade deck, in company with a young lady, Miss Sherman, and had just reached the point above the boiler-deck where the demijohns were placed, when the singular sound spoken of above arrested his attention. This report was followed by the ascent of a volume of black smoke, which, as Mr. Mann describes it, " resembled a cloud of coal dust." Without any apprehension of danger, he stopped for a few moments when the smoke subsided, and was instantly succeeded by a red, lurid flame, which spread with fearful rapidity, and soon enveloped every thing combustible that was within its reach, cracking the sky-lights with intense heat, and filling up the space between decks with what appeared to be a dense red flame. While Mr. Mann was looking around for some means of escape, the young lady rushed from him and disappeared ; but in a short time she returned, calling on her father, who, being indisposed, had retired a few minutes before to his berth. Frantic with alarm for her parent's safety, she was again about to rush below, where certain destruction would have met her, when Mr. Mann detained her almost by force, promising to render all possible assistance to her father as soon as he had provided for her own security. A prospect of deliverance now presented itself. Mr. Mann saw a passenger force up a board which formed a part of the seats that surrounded the promenade deck, and throwing it overboard he leaped after it, and was enabled by grasping the plank to keep himself afloat. Mr. Mann followed this person's example, and succeeded in detaching another board, which he hoped to make the means of preserving the life of the affrighted girl who clung to his arm. But new difficulties presented themselves; no persuasions could induce Miss Sherman to descend to the water. In these embarrassing circumstances, he placed one end of the board over the railing at the stern ; Miss Sherman was seated on the projecting extremity, and Mr. Mann earnestly entreated some men who were clustered around the rudder post, to assist him in lowering the plank and the young lady to the water, but no attention was paid to his entreaties. Miss Sherman in the meanwhile, being made dizzy by her fearful position, fell from the plank, sunk in the river, and was seen no more.

Having failed in his noble attempt to save this young lady, Mr. Mann now began to make some effort for his own preservation. Glancing around him, he saw Capt. Titus endeavoring to reach the ladies' cabin, and heard him give the order to stop the engine. It was a moment of overwhelming terror. From bulk-head to rudder, the flames were raging with an impetuosity which seemed to mock at all hope of deliverance. The shrieks of many human beings expiring in fiery torment within the vessel, and the cries for assistance of many others who were struggling in the water, almost deprived the listener of sense and reflection. The engine seemed to work with a double power, as if it were maddened by the appaling character of the scene. The flames, as they rushed aft, sounded like the roaring of a hurricane, threatening every moment to engulf the boat and every affrighted soul on board. Forward of the wheel-house several persons were struggling to wrench partially loosened timber from the vessel, for the purpose of sustaining themselves in the water. Below and in rear of the ladies' cabin, some thirty or forty people were clustered, each frantically endeavoring to descend by the rudder chains for safety. In this, some had partly succeeded, but were forced off by others struggling for the same object. Several persons were hanging from the sides of the boat, husbands vainly endeavoring to sustain their wives in that position, and mothers their children. But not one of all the females whom Mr. Mann saw gathered there, and not one of the children, was saved. Wives, mothers, helpless infants, all sunk " with bubbling groan" into the deep tomb of waters.

After making this survey, and abandoning every other hope of escape, Mr. Mann, who still grasped the board from which the unfortunate young lady had fallen, threw it into the lake, and immediately followed it. He sunk for a moment, but arose to the surface, fortunately by the side of the plank, to which he now clung with desperate energy, as his last resource. He had companions in the terrible struggle for life, but they were few; the greater number had already yielded to the mighty conqueror. Here was one buffeting the waves, unsustained by any thing but his own strength, but that was doubled by the energy of a last hope. There was another shrieking for aid, in a voice which became fainter every moment, and was interrupted by a gurgling sound which foretold a speedy termination of the struggle. From another direction came the voice of supplication, the last prayer of a dying man, not for deliverance from earthly peril, (for all hope of that had been abandoned,) but for pardon for himself and protection for a wife and children far distant. Then was heard the shriek of the mother, bewailing the child which she had vainly endeavoured to withhold from the distended jaws of death. 'Turning his agonized gaze to the deck above him, Mr. Mann saw many passengers, one after another, throw themselves into the water ; the greater number, after a few feeble efforts to save themselves from the fate which threatened them, disappeared with wild exclamations of terror and despair.

When Mr. Mann left the deck of the burning steamer, she was driving ahead with a rapid motion; but having left him on his plank about two miles astern, she suddenly veered around, and again approached him; so near did she come, indeed, that he was in danger of being engulfed, but contrived, with some difficulty, to get out of her way. As the boat passed him, he saw five or six persons hanging to the anchor, and about as many more holding on to the pole which supported the liberty cap at the bow. All of them appeared to be suffering greatly from the heat. Near the bulkhead, a person stood almost surrounded by fire ; he held in his hand a piece of white cloth, with which he appeared to be bathing his face, which must have been severely scorched. When he saw Mr Mann, he begged him, for God's sake, to allow him to get on the plank, as he could not swim, and therefore dare not leap into the water. Mr. Mann replied that the plank would not support two persons, but the suppliant made such piteous entreaties, that Mr. Mann was about to yield, when a heavy swell bore the blazing wreck to a distance, and carried the unhappy sufferer beyond the reach of all human aid.

When Mr. Mann had been in the water about two hours, he was taken up by the steamboat De Witt Clinton, which rescued several others of the drowning passengers.

Among others who embarked at Buffalo in this ill-fated boat, were two brothers, Charles J. Lynde and Walter Lynde, sons of the Hon. Tully Lynde, of Homer, Cortland Co., N. Y. These brothers resided at Chicago, and were returning from a visit to their parents. The wife of one of these young gentlemen, a lady of superior intellect, was the only female passenger saved. She conducted herself throughout the whole trying scene with exemplary fortitude and intrepidity. Her husband had provided two life preservers, one for her and one for himself. - As soon as it became evident that the boat could not be saved, Mrs. Lynde fastened her life-preserver around her waist, and fearlessly committed herself to the water, expecting that her husband would follow immediately. But in this she was disappointed ; her anxious gaze searched in vain among the floating objects on the water, for the dearest object of her affection. Yet, although she saw him not, she had no fears for his safety, as she had seen him put on his life-preserver before she left the boat. He was much excited at the time, and she exhorted him to be more calm and self-possessed. When the De Witt Clinton had taken up all the persons that could be found floating on the water, and Mrs. Lynde among the rest, she eagerly sought her husband among those who had been rescued. He was not there: but she saw the life-preserver, which she knew to be his, in the possession of a German, who was one of the deck passengers. The man declared that he had found it in the water, and made it instrumental in saving his own life. It was believed by some persons that the German, in order to save himself, had wrenched the preserver from Mr. Lynde ; but the more charitable supposition is, that Mr. Lynde, in his excitement and agitation, had failed to fasten it securely to his person, so that it came off at the moment he leaped into the water.

There was a musical band, consisting of ten persons, on board the Erie, all of whom, except two, perished in the conflagration, or in the water.

The following list of the killed, wounded and missing is the most complete that could be obtained.

Killed.—W. M. Camp, Harrisburg, Pa.; Willet Weeks, Brooklyn, N. Y.; John C. Pool, New York City; E. S. Cobb, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Otto Fox, wife and three children, N. Y.; Lloyd Gelston, of Erie, clerk; Mr. Joles, steward; Mrs. Giles Williams, Chicago; Charles J. Lynde, Milwaukie; Watts S. Lynde, Homer, N. Y.; Mrs. William H. Smith and child, Schenectady, N. Y.; A. Sears, Philip Barker, Henry Weaver, William Thomas, John Evarts and Peter Finney, painters, of Buffalo; (these six persons last named brought the fatal demijohns on board, and are supposed to have placed them in their unsafe position ; all six paid with their lives the penalty of their indiscretion ;) Miss A. Miller, of Buffalo; (the brother of this young lady, Mr. W. G. Miller, was the master painter who employed the six journeymen named above, and sent them to paint the steamer Madison, as mentioned in the preceding narrative ;) J. D. Woodward, N. Y. ; William Gisfin, Miss. ; D. S. Sloan, Geneva; F. Stowe, Canada; William Sacket, Mich.; Mrs. Spencer and two children, Mrs. Dow, Mrs. and Miss Robinson, and Miss King, Balston Spa., N. Y.; Mr. Moore, lady and two children, moving to Mich. ; Roome Button, Fort Plain; Orin Green, Rushville, Yates co., N. Y.; Charles S. Mather, Mount Clemens, Mich.; Mr. Miltmore, dentist, and wife, of Chicago ; Von Ockerman, a German, tinsmith, Buffalo; Mr. Sherman and daughter, and John Harrington, Harrisburg, Erie Co. N., Y. ; Luther Tuller, wheelsman ; Frederick Parmalee, bar-keeper; William Cheats, William Winters, and James Reed, colored waiters ; Robert Smith, first cook; Henry Vosburg , second cook; David Mills, third cook; Israel Vosburg and William Sparks, colored porters; Dr. Hackett, Thompsonian physician, of Lockport, N. Y.

The following names are those of Swiss emigrants, who were either burned to death or drowned:  Z. Zuggler and family, six persons ; John Hang, wife and child ; Martin Zulgen and wife ; George Rettenger, wife and child ; George Christian and family, five persons; George Neigold and family, eight persons ; M. Reibold, wife and child ; George Steinman and wife ; Peter Kling and sister; L. Gillig, wife and child; Peter Schmidt; John Netzel; Peter Schneider and family, five persons ; J. Newminger and family, four persons; S. Schapler, wife and three children; R. Tilling and wife; C. Obens ; J. Korter ; C. Durbur; M. Lithold, wife, sister -in-law and two children; C. Deitcherich and wife ; C. Wilbur, wife and four children ; C. Palmer, wife and three children; J. Garghum, wife and three children; G. Mulliman, wife and two children; C. Kellenman ; C. Mintch, and his companion, name unknown.

Wounded.—Jerome McBride, wheelsman, badly burned; three Swiss passengers, much injured ; Capt. Titus, master of the Erie ; Mr. Rice, of Buffalo, badly burned.

Among those who perished were a number of infants, not included in the preceding list, as no charge was made for their passage, and they were therefore not mentioned on the boat's books.


With strict propriety of language, we might call the awful catastrophe about to be particularized, a massacre, a wholesale assassination, or anything else but an accident. In some instances, and this is one of them, a reckless disregard of human life, when it leads to a fatal result, can claim no distinction, on any correct principle of law or justice, from wilful and premeditated murder.

The steamer Monmouth left New Orleans, October 23rd, 1837, for Arkansas river, having been chartered by the U. S. government to convey about seven hundred Indians, a portion of the emigrant Creek tribe, to the region which had been selected for their future abode. On the night of the 30th, the Monmouth, on her upward trip, had reached that point of the Mississippi called Prophet Island Bend, where she encountered the ship Tremont, which the steamer Warren was then towing down the river! Owing partly to the dense obscurity of the night, but much more to the mismanagement of the officers of the Monmouth, a collision took place between that vessel and the Tremont, and such was the violence of the concussion, that the Monmouth immediately sunk. The unhappy red men, with their wives and children, were precipitated into the water; and such was the confusion which prevailed at the time, such was the number of the drowning people, who probably clung to each other in their struggles for life, that, notwithstanding the Indians, men, women and children, are generally expert swimmers, more than half of the unfortunate Creeks perished. The captains and crews of the steamers Warren and Yazoo, by dint of great exertion, succeeded in saving about three hundred of the poor Indians, the remaining four hundred had become accusing spirits before the tribunal of a just God, where they, whose criminal negligence was the cause of this calamity, will certainly be held accountable.

The cabin of the Monmouth parted from the hull, and drifted some distance down the stream, when it broke in two parts, and emptied its living contents into the river. The stem of the ship came in contact with the side of the steamer, therefore the former received but little damage, while the latter was broken up, to that degree that the hull, as previously stated, almost instantly went to the bottom. The ship merely lost her cut-water.

The mishap, as we have hinted before, may be ascribed to the mismanagement of the officers of the Monmouth. This boat was running in a part of the river where, by the usages of the river and the rules adopted for the better regulation of steam navigation on the Mississippi, she had no right to go, and where, of course, the descending vessels did not expect to meet with any boat coming in an opposite direction. The only persons attached to the Monmouth who lost their lives, were the bar-keeper and a fireman.

It is not without some feeling of indignation, that we mention the circumstance that the drowning of four hundred Indians, the largest number of human beings ever sacrificed in a steamboat disaster, attracted but little attention, (comparatively speaking,) in any part of the country. Even the journalists and news-collectors of that region, on the waters of which this horrible affair took place, appear to have regarded the event as of too little importance to deserve any particular detail; and accordingly the best accounts we have of the matter merely state the outlines of the story, with scarcely a word of commiseration for the sufferers, or a single expression of rebuke for the heartless villains who wantonly exposed the lives of so many artless and confiding people to imminent peril, or almost certain destruction.


A new and elegant steamboat called the Washington, was burned on Lake Erie, opposite Silver creek, June 16th, 1838. In the early part of the preceding night, the Washington passed the steamer North America, while the latter lay at the town of Erie. On the following morning, about three o'clock, when the North America was within three miles of Buffalo, the helmsman discovered a brilliant light, which appeared to rise from the bosom of the lake in the direction of Silver creek. The North America was immediately put about, and steered for the scene of the apprehended disaster. On approaching the spot, about six o'clock, the burning hull of the Washington was found driving before the wind, about four miles from land, and not a living object could be discovered on board. The surface of the lake was literally covered with hats, bonnets, trunks, baggage and blackened fragments of the wreck.

The intense anxiety of those who beheld this fearful scene for the fate of the passengers and crew of the Washington, was partially relieved by the discovery of several small boats near the shore, in which it was supposed that some who had embarked in  the Washington were probably saved. In fact, the alarm had been given at the town of Silver Creek as soon as the flames were perceived from the shore, and all the boats that could be found were sent to rescue the sufferers. There were only three skiffs, however, which could be employed in this service ; but these, together with the yawl of the Washington, were the means of saving all who could be found on the steamer, and all who were still floating on the water when the skiffs arrived. But, in the meanwhile, a number, variously estimated from thirty to sixty, had perished. Six dead bodies, those of two women and four children, were picked up by the boats near the burning wreck. One man died of his injuries soon after he reached the shore, and a child was found dead in its mother's arms when taken out of the lake. The mother survived, though she was insensible when found in the water, clasping her dead infant to her bosom.

The origin of the fire is not well explained, but it appears that the flames broke out in the immediate neighbourhood of the boiler. The helm was immediately put about, and the head of the boat directed to the shore, but within a few minutes , the wheel ropes were severed by the fire, and the boat became an unmanageable wreck. Had iron rods, instead of ropes, been used in the construction of the steering apparatus, it is highly probable that every individual on board would have been saved, for in that case the boat could have reached the shore without difficulty. The surviving passengers unanimously testified that no blame could be attached to Capt. Brown, the commander of the Washington. The names of the victims, with the usual allowance for defective reports, are subjoined,

Persons Drowned Or Burnt To Death.—Capt. Clemens, of Dudley, Mass.; Conrad Shurtz, and William Shurtz, wife and three children, Clinton, N. Y.; Wm. Sheld, St. Lawrence; Mr. Baker, wife and three children (one child of Mr. Baker was saved.) A Scotchman, name unknown, lost three children, together with his mother and sister. Several of the survivors, whose names are not given, were badly burned before they left the boat.

The Washington was built at Ashtabula; she was not more than six months old, and had made but one trip before the one which was interrupted by this deplorable accident.


This explosion took place on Lake Ponchartrain, on the 2nd day of December, 1840. The particulars were never published before. The following list of the killed and wounded was furnished by D. H. Ryder, who was clerk of the Walker at the time of the explosion :

Killed—J. S. Harper; John Pierson, steersman ; G. E. Sedenberg, of Baltimore; A. Budd, J. Cloon, Z. Ferrell, Smith.

Badly Scalded—J. H. White, of Tennessee; J. Bellow, of New Orleans; Mr. Lanier, Mr. Nelson, pilot, and R. Roach, deck hand.

Slightly Scalded—Capt. J. A. Otway, J. H. Caldwell, Esq., and four stevedores from Mobile Bay, names unknown.

Missing—John Dean and Wm. Powell, stevedores.

The accident is ascribed to the "weakness of the boiler," and not to any omission of duty on the part of those who had charge of the engines.


The steam tow-boat Mohican, on the 19th day of February, 1842, while engaged, together with the tow-boat Star, in towing the British ship Edward Thorn across a bar near New Orleans, burst all her boilers, causing the death of ten or twelve persons. The Mohican took fire immediately after the explosion, and was entirely consumed. One of the boilers of the exploded vessel was found on the forecastle of the ship in tow. The accident is ascribed to a deficiency of water in the boilers.

Lieutenant Bukup, one of the revenue officers stationed at the Balize, was blown from the deck of the Mohican to the deck of the Star, and was killed instantly. The mate of the English ship was killed, and the Captain was dangerously wounded. Capt. Heaton, of the Mohican, was much injured, and two engineers, two firemen, and three deck hands, belonging to the same boat, were killed.


On the night of December 14, 1844, a disastrous collision took place on the Mississipi river, between the steamers Belle of Clarksville and Louisiana, the former from New Orleans, bound to Nashville ; the latter, from Memphis to New Orleans. Both vessels were heavily laden. The Belle of Clarksville was completely demolished. The hull parted from the cabin and sunk immediately, the cabin floating off with a number of passengers inside, all of whom were saved. None were drowned but deck passengers, and some of the crew of the boat. The Louisiana was immediately brought around, and every exertion was made by the captain and crew to save those persons who were floating on small pieces of the wreck. The detached cabin grounded about half a mile below the place where the boats came in contact. All the cargo and the baggage of the passengers was lost. The boat was laden with sugar, salt, coffee, arid molasses. Mr. J. H. French, one of the passengers, had with him three negro slaves, and three valuable horses, among them the celebrated Ann Hayes; these slaves and horses were all drowned. The iron safe containing $12,000 was saved. The cargo was insured at New Orleans for $23,000; the boat for $8,000.

The following are the names of the persons drowned:

Deck Passengers—W. Tabb, P. Linn, W. Linn, J. Ryan, A. Malisle, N. Sills, Wm. Jones, T. Whitley, N. T. Allen, A. Kirland, J. Askew, G. Hycr, a son of J. W. Hall, J. Peay, and four colored men.

Boat's Cbew—John Holliday, assistant engineer, and twelve colored firemen, names not given.


On Friday night, May 5th, 1843, at 11 o'clock, as the steamer Forrest was lying , to put off a passenger, about twenty miles above the mouth of the Alleghany river, with her head down stream, she was run into by the steamboat Pulaski, which was coming up the river with about one hundred and fifty passengers. The bow of the Forrest struck the side of the Pulaski opposite the boilers. The boilers were thrown down, the steam-pipes separated, and the steam rushed out among the passengers, scalding many of them in a terrible manner. The side of the Pulaski being broken up by the collision, the boat almost immediately sunk, leaving the boiler-deck above water. Five or six persons, names unknown, were thrown overboard and drowned. One of these floated past the Forrest, calling piteously for assistance, but before it could be afforded him the current had swept him away. Another was drawn in under the wheel and drowned. One young man swam ashore after throwing himself from the cabin window of the Pulaski.

The following list of the sufferers was furnished by the officers of the wrecked steamer:

Badly Scalded—"Wm. Coon, Erie co., N. Y.; Michael Hawkins, steward of the Pulaski; Sheridan McCullough, of Red Bank, Pa.; James Gibson, Crawford co., Pa.; Joseph Hughes, Jefferson co., Pa.; and Wing.

We have not been able to learn the names of the persons who were drowned.


On the 3rd of January, 1844, the whole city of St. Louis was thrown into consternation and feverish excitement by the intelligence that the steamboat Shepherdess had been wrecked in Cahokia Bend, only three miles from the centre of that city, and that many lives had been lost. Several boats were immediately despatched to the scene of the reported disaster, and the worst rumors were unhappily verified. The particulars of the sad event are given below :

The Shepherdess, while ascending the Mississippi river on her way from Cincinnati to St. Louis, at 11 o'clock, in a dark and stormy night, struck a snag just above the mouth of Cahokia creek. The concussion was very severe, and it is believed that several planks must have been • torn from the bottom of the boat. According to the report of the officers, the number of passengers was between sixty and seventy. Most of those who were in the gentlemen's cabin had retired to their berths; four or five gentlemen in this cabin were sitting up by the stove, as it was cold winter weather. The ladies were generally undressed for the night. In less than two minutes after the boat struck, the water rose to the lower deck, where most of the passengers in that part of the boat were asleep. The Captain, who was on duty, ran to the cabin occupied by the ladies, and assured them that there was no danger; he then returned to the forecastle, and is supposed to have been washed overboard, as nothing was seen or heard of him afterwards. As soon as the shock was felt on board, one of the pilots attempted to descend into the hold for the purpose of examining the leak, but he had scarcely entered when the rush of water drove him back.

About this time shrieks and exclamations of affright and distress arose from the deck below, and several ladies, who hastened to the stern-railing, reported that they saw a number of persons struggling in the river. Certain it is that the water rushed in with tremendous rapidity, and before three minutes had elapsed it had risen to the floor of the upper cabin. Some of those persons who were on deck saved themselves by getting into the yawl, which was cut loose and rowed to the shore with a broom. The water rose so rapidly that it soon became necessary for all to seek safety on the hurricane deck. This position was not attained without great difficulty, for the bow had sunk so deep in the water that the only access was the stern. However, it is believed that all the people from the cabin succeeded in reaching the hurricane roof. In the meanwhile the boat was drifting down the stream, and a few hundred yards below, she struck another snag, which rose above the surface. This threw the steamer nearly on her beam ends on the larboard side. Drifting from this snag, she again lurched to starboard. At each lurch several persons were washed off; some of them reached the shore, but many were drowned. A short distance below, just above the first shot-tower, the hull struck a bluff-bank, which again careened the boat nearly on her side. Here the hull and cabin parted ; the former sunk and lodged on a bar above Carondelet, while the cabin floated down to the point of the bar below that place, where it lodged and became stationary.

The steamer Henry Bry was lying at the shot-tower above Carondelet, and as the cabin passed, the captain of that vessel, being aroused by the cries of the passengers, took his yawl to their rescue. This little boat could only take off a few at a time, but by the strenuous exertions of the captain of the Bry many were saved. This humane gentleman almost sacrificed himself in the work of benevolence, and did not desist until he was covered with a mass of ice, and benumbed to that degree that further effort was impossible. About three o'clock the ferry-boat Icelander came down, and took off all who remained in the detached cabin.

We have thus given a general history of this calamity, but some particular incidents deserve the reader's attention. .A young man, Robert Bullock, of Maysville, Ky., was one of the passengers. With heroic devotion to the cause of humanity, he took no measures for his own safety, but directed all his efforts to the preservation of the women and children. When every other male person of mature age had deserted the cabin, he went from state-room to state-room, and wherever he heard a child cry took it out and passed it to the hurricane deck. In this way he saved a number of women and children. His last effort was to rescue Col. Wood's " Ohio Fat Girl," who happened to be on board. Her weight was four hundred and forty pounds, but with the assistance of several persons on the hurricane deck, he succeeded in raising her to that place of security. A short time after, the boat made a lurch, and Bullock was thrown into the water. He swam to the Illinois shore, having previously given his coat to a lady on the wreck who was suffering excessively from cold. On reaching the land this young hero found two young ladies, who had been put ashore in a skiff, and who were nearly frozen. They were about falling asleep, which would have been fatal in such circumstances, when Bullock aroused them, and with great exertions succeeded in getting them to Cohokia, where they met with the attention which their half-frozen condition required.

An English family, from the neighborhood of Manchester, ten in number, were all saved. Five of them succeeded in getting to the Illinois shore, four to the Missouri side of the river, and one was taken off the wreck by the ferry-boat. They were all re-united on this boat at Cohokia, at a moment when each party supposed the other to be dead. A spectator of that re-union avers that he never witnessed a more affecting scene.

Mr. Muir, of Virginia, and his brother, were on board, with their mother and nine of their slaves. With the exception of seven of the slaves, all of these persons were saved. Levi Craddock, from Davidson Co., Tenn., lost three children; himself, his wife, and two children were saved. Mr. Green, of the same county and state, lost his wife and three children, and was left with two helpless infants, the youngest only three months old. Mr. Snell, formerly of Louisville, Ky., lost a son and daughter. Mr. Wright, of Mecklenburg Co., Va., and two of his children, were drowned. His wife, who survived, was in a state of distraction. The Captain, A. Howell, of Covington, Ky., was undoubtedly lost. He was in the act of ringing the bell, when the boat made a lurch, by which the boilers, part of the engine, and the chimneys, were carried overboard, Capt. H. being overwhelmed among the ruins, and he sunk with them. He left a wife and eleven children, the eldest of whom, a son, was with him on the wreck.

The bodies of two children, who had perished with cold, were brought up to St. Louis. Considering how many children were on board, it is surprising that more of these helpless beings were not lost. The Mayor of St. Louis, who personally assisted in relieving the sufferers, caused all who were saved alive to be taken to the Virginia hotel, where they were amply provided for. Forty persons are believed to have perished in this wreck. The Rev. Mr. Peck, of Illinois, who was on board at the time, makes the estimate much larger. One of the St. Louis papers averred that the number of persons lost was not less than seventy.

Capt. Howell had lately bought the Shepherdess, and this was her first trip after she became his property.


On the 7th day of May, 1840, the city of Natchez, Miss., was visited by a tornado, which occasioned an immense destruction of property and great loss of life. Several steamboats were destroyed at the wharves of Natchez, and many persons who had embarked in them as passengers were drowned. A large number of flat boats, likewise, were wrecked by the tremendous gale, and a number of boatmen, supposed to be two hundred or more, in the aggregate, perished. A tax had recently been laid on flat-boats at Vicksburg, on which account many of them had dropped down to Natchez, so that there was an unusually large number of these boats collected at the last-named city at the time of the tornado.

The steamboat Hinds was blown out into the stream and sunk, and all the passengers and crew, except four men, were lost. It is not known how many passengers were on this boat. The captain was supposed to have been saved, as he was seen on shore a short time before the gale commenced, but' as nothing was heard of him afterwards, it is conjectured that he must have returned to the boat, and shared the fate of his crew and passengers. The wreck of .the Hinds was afterwards found at Baton Rouge, with fifty-one dead bodies on board, forty-eight of whom were males, and three females; among the latter was one little girl about three years old.

The steamboat Prairie had just arrived from St. Louis, freighted with lead. Her upper works, down to the deck, were swept off, and the whole of the crew and passengers are supposed to have been drowned. The number of the passengers is not known, but four ladies, at least, were seen on board a short time "before the disaster. The steamboat H. Lawrence and a sloop were in a somewhat sheltered position at the Cotton Press. They were severely damaged, but not sunk. The steam ferry-boat was sunk, and also the wharf-boat " Mississippian," which was used as a hotel, grocery. Of one hundred and twenty flat-boats, which lay at the landing, all were lost except four, and very few of the men employed on board were saved.

We give the names of some of the victims, but a great majority of the persons drowned could never be identified.

Drowned.—William Stubba and John Ervin, Louisville; David McGowan, C. Butler, Andrew Filer, Absalom Wilson, A Terry, D. Garsford, M. Dunn, B. Booker, B. Floney, and C. Carter and two children, of New York; W. Williams and wife, of St. Louis; E. McFaul, of Boston ; James Orr, of Natchez ; Y. Budhim, of Ind.; Thomas Rodgers, of Cairo, Ill.; D. Ewing, M. Dinwiddie, and W. Johnston, wife and two children, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; C. Phelps, G. Phillips, and Dr. Brady, of Ind.; Marcus Austin, of New Amsterdam, Ind.; M. Tooley, Philadelphia, Pa.; B. Shreve and Miss Margaret Haskell, Ky.; Mrs. Watkins, Ohio; Mrs. Jones, Louisiana; Mrs. Dwight and daughter, Wis.; Miss Hardy, Ill. ; Mrs. Walters and infant, Vicksburg ; Duncan Sherman, John Root, and C. Y. Bunner, Ala.

Besides these, about two hundred flat boatmen, (names unknown,) were ascertained to have been lost. The total loss of life is estimated at four hundred. For its violence and destructive effects, this tornado was without precedent in the recollection of the oldest inhabitant of that region. The water in the river was agitated to that degree that the best swimmers could not sustain themselves on the surface. The waves rose to the height of ten or fifteen feet. Many houses in the vicinity of Natchez were blown down, and many buildings in the city were unroofed; the roofs, in some instances, being carried half-way across the river. People found it impossible to stand on the shore. One man was blown from the top of the hill, (sixty feet high,) and fell into the river forty yards from the bank. Heavy beams of timber and other ponderous objects were blown about like straws. Great was the consternation of the inhabitants of Natchez and its neighborhood, and owing to this cause, perhaps, many persons were drowned for want of prompt assistance. When the first alarm had somewhat subsided, the citizens hastened to the river, rescued some who were still living from the water, and recovered hundreds of dead bodies before they were swept away by the rapid current.


This event is especially remarkable on account of the unusual complication of calamities, (if we may so speak,) which attended it; the explosion, the burning and the sinking of the vessel, all occurring within a few minutes. The Lucy Walker, Capt. Vann, was descending the river, and when about four miles below New Albany, Indiana, some part of the machinery got out of order, and the boat was stopped to make repairs. During this pause, the water in the boilers was measurably exhausted, and about five minutes after the engine ceased working, three of the boilers exploded with tremendous violence and terrible effect.

The principal force of the explosion took an upward direction; and the consequence was that all that part of the boat situated above the boilers was blown into thousands of pieces. The TJ. S. snag-boat Gophar, Capt. L. B. Dunham, was about two hundred yards distant at the time of the explosion. Capt. Dunham was immediately on the spot, rescuing those who had been thrown into the water, and affording all other assistance in his power. Having been a spectator of the scene, with all its horrors, this gentleman has furnished a narrative, to which we are indebted for many of the facts related in this article. He states that such was the force of the explosion, that, although the Lucy Walker was in the middle of the river, many fragments of wood and iron, were thrown on shore. At the moment of the accident, the air appeared to be filled with human beings, with dissevered limbs and other fragments of human bodies. One man was blown to the height of fifty yards, as the narrator judges, and fell with such force as to pass entirely through the deck. Another was cut in two by a piece of the boiler Many other incidents, equally distressing and horrifying, are related. Before Capt. Dunham could reach the spot where the wreck lay, he saw many persons who had been blown overboard perish in the water. But it was his good fortune to save the lives of a large number, by throwing them boards and ropes, and pulling them on board with boat-hooks. Immediately after the explosion, the ladies' cabin took fire and burned with great rapidity, but before it was consumed, the steamer sunk in twelve feet water. Thus the whole tragedy was completed within a few minutes.

The screams and exclamations of the ladies and the other survivors are represented as awful and distressing in the extreme. However, most of the females escaped ; a very few of them are supposed to have been drowned, but none of those who survived were injured. The books of the boat were destroyed; of course it will ever be impossible to ascertain all the names or the number of those who perished. There were at least fifty or sixty persons killed or missing, and fifteen or twenty wounded, some of them very seriously. Capt. Dunham took off the wounded and left them at New Albany, where they were suitably provided for by the hospitable and benevolent citizens of the place.

The following are the names of the killed, wounded and missing, aa far as we have been able to learn:

Killed Or Missing.—Gen. J. W. Pegram, of Richmond, Va.; Samuel M. Brown, Post-Office agent, of Lexington, Ky.; J. R. Cormick, of Virginia; Charles Dunn, pilot, of Louisville, Ky.; Philip Wallis, formerly of Baltimore, Md.; Rebecca, daughter of A. J. Foster, of Greenville, Va.; James Vanderburg, of Louisville, Ky. ; Mr. Hughes, formerly of Lexington, Ky.; Mr. Matlock, of New Albany, Ind.; engineer of the steamboat Mazeppa ; Nicholas Ford, formerly of Baltimore, Md.; David Vann, master of the Lucy Walker ; Moses Kirby, pilot of the same; second mate, second clerk, second engineer, and bar-keeper of the boat, names not mentioned.

Wounded.—Four negro firemen ; W. H. Peebler, Mr. Rainer, of Virginia, and the first engineer, all badly hurt; Capt. Thomson, pilot, both arms fractured; Mr. Roberts, of Philadelphia, slightly hurt.

Two persons, John W. Johnson and Richard Phillips, are supposed to have been in the boat. They were not seen after the explosion, and it was generally believed that they were lost. Another account says, " We understand that the bodies of Nicholas Ford, Philip Wallis, S. M. Brown, and a little girl, killed by the explosion of the Lucy Walker, have been taken from the river, and decently interred by the citizens of West Point."

Additional Incidents.—The Rev. Mr. Todd, of Natchez, was blown overboard, but saved himself by swimming. At New Albany, when the dead bodies and the wounded were brought to that city, the stores and other places of business were generally closed, flags were lowered, and the whole town wore the aspect of mourning.

Mr. Wren, of Yazoo, Miss., was thrown from the boiler-deck, and fell near the bow of the boat, in a state of insensibility. When he recovered bis senses, he saw his little son, six or seven years old, with the flames raging around him, in the upper part of the boat. He watched the movements of the child, as every parent will believe, with intense anxiety. Soon he saw the boy leap overboard ; the river was covered with planks and mattresses, and the lad went from fragment to fragment, until he succeeded in getting on a mattress which would support him in the water. The agonized father, who was unable to rise from the spot where he lay, continued to watch the progress of his little son, until he saw him taken off the mattress by the crew of  Capt. Dunham's boat. Who shall attempt to imagine, much less to describe, the feelings of the father at that moment ?

A man and his wife and four daughters were saved separately, and in different ways. Their subsequent meeting must have been most joyous. A little girl was found clinging to the wreck when the flames were so near that she was constrained to dash water on one side of her face, to protect it from the intense heat. A man was on the hurricane-deck with his wife and little daughter, at the time of the explosion. He dropped the lady aft into the yawl, and saw that she was safe; he then threw the child into the stream, and although suffering severely with a sprained ankle and other hurts, he plunged in, and saved both himself and his little girl by swimming.

Pieces of the boiler were thrown on the Kentucky shore, and it is said that some of them were no thicker than a half dollar. When, where, or by whom could they have been inspected ?

The Lucy Walker was built at Cincinnati, and finished only about nine months before the fatal termination of her career.


The steamer Wilmington, bound from New Orleans to 'St. Louis, burst a toiler at daylight, on the morning of the 18th of November, 1839, when near the mouth of Arkansas river. The boilers, engines, and upper works were entirely demolished. In fact, there never was a more terrific explosion, although the loss of life was small, owing to there being few passengers on board

List Of The Killed.—One of the pilots, Mr. Andrew Helms, who was standing near the stern of the boat, was blown overboard and drowned ; Julius Fisk, the first engineer; Paul Johnson, second engineer, mortally wounded; William Hasker, John Freeman, C. Smith, John Rhoades and Dr. Brant, New Orleans; William Wills, South Carolina ; C. Ebert, and nine wounded.

The Wilmington had just started from a wood-yard, and was under full headway when the explosion took place. The boat was completely riddled with pieces of iron flying through the cabin. The dead were buried at the mouth of the Arkansas river.

Part Two

 Part Two

 Part Three

Part Four