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Steamboat Disasters

 Part Three

 Source - Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters - 1856


































Before daylight on the morning of November 19th, 1847, the steamboats Talisman and Tempest came in collision of the Mississippi river, half a mile below Cape Girardeau. The Talisman was struck forward of the boilers, and sunk within ten minutes. The Tempest, which was but slightly damaged, rounded to, and came to the relief of the Talisman's crew and passengers. The officers and crews of both steamers exerted themselves to save life and property; but to the disgrace of human nature, it is related that a number of heartless and conscienceless scoundrels came in small boats to the scene of the disaster, and totally regardless of the supplications of the drowning passengers who implored their aid, they betook themselves to plunder, seizing on the floating baggage, and every other article of value which came within their reach. One of the villains engaged in these nefarious operations was a resident of Cincinnati, and bore the name of Barnes. His Christian name, (if he ever had any,) is not mentioned, or gladly would we give it to the public ; still more gladly would we

" Place in every honest hand a whip To lash the rascal naked through the world."

Several of the crew and many of the deck passengers were drowned. Two or three families of German emigrants, numbering about twentyfive persons, were among the passengers. Ten persons, all of one family, were lost. An effort was made to rescue the bodies of the persons drowned by means of the diving bell. A young German, who was unable to speak a word of English, continued to wander about the deck of the Tempest, wringing his hands and making exclamations of distress ; his eyes were fixed upon the river, as if he expected the deep waters to give up the wife and children they had taken from him. The fate of Mr. Butler, the engineer, was particularly distressing. He was on watch, and although he saw at once and was told repeatedly that the boat was sinking, he refused to leave his post until the water was up to his waist. It was then too late to save himself, and, being unable to withstand the rush of water, he was borne back among the machinery, and drowned.

An interesting young married couple, whose names were unknown to the people of the boat and to their fellow passengers, were among the victims of this calamity. The young gentleman was a good swimmer and might have saved himself; but perished in a vain attempt to save the life of his bride. These two were the only cabin passengers lost; all the rest of the drowned were deck passengers, or persons belonging to the boat. Fifty-one persons, men, women and children, are known to have been drowned by this accident, and probably as many more, who are not designated in the annexed list.

Persons known to have been drowned.—Mrs. Nicholls, Mrs. Keziah Bennett, Sarah Bennett, her daughter, aged ten years, Belinda Bennett, another child of Mrs. Bennett , aged eighteen months, Thomas Bennett, aged eight years, and Frances Bennett, aged six years, also children of Mrs. B., Miss Charlotte Cady, Miss Eleanor Cady, Eliza Stone, aged two years. (All of these were from Morgan County, Ohio, moving to Schuyler County, Ill. They were travelling under the protection of John B. Stone, whose little daughter was lost with the rest.) E. Williams, Johnson O'Neil, deck-hands from Pittsburgh; John Thomas Butler, chief engineer; two children of Mr. Thomas Pryor; sixteen German emigrants, whose names were not entered in the books ; nine negroes belonging to Mr. R. R. Buchner, of Calloway County, Missouri; two young men from Armstrong County, Pa., and a family of ten persons from Illinois, names unknown.

An intelligent man, who was one of the survivors, stated that the deck was crowded with passengers, and the boiler deck was so thronged with passengers, freight, and live stock, that he (the narrator) could scarcely find a place to lie down. He estimated the number of deck passengers at one hundred and fifty, and supposed that half of them, at least, were drowned. Only four or five bodies, among them the two children of Mr. Pryor, were recovered by means of the diving-bell. Mr. Cady, the father of the two young ladies mentioned in the foregoing list, used many efforts to recover their remains, but did not succeed. It is conjectured that most of the bodies were carried to a great distance by the current.


The steamer Kate Fleming, Captain Dunham, on her way from Louisville to Cairo, at the mouth of the Ohio river, exploded near Walker's Landing, on Saturday, October 5, 1850, at 12 o'clock, P.M. She had been aground on Walker's bar, but had got off", and the bell had given the signal to "go ahead slowly," when after a few revolutions of the water-wheel, the boiler exploded, dislodging the furnace, and setting fire to the boat which burned to the water's edge.

List Of The Killed—E. Y. Bocock, Christian C. Odell, barkeeper; Annette, colored chambermaid; Jeffrey, colored steward; John, cabin boy ; Hutchinson, a slave of Mr. Moore, of Miss.; a fireman and a deck-hand, and a Mr. Jennings, of New Albany.

Wounded—Capt. Dunham ; J. Thornby, of Miss.; the steward of the Kate Fleming; the mate and second cook of do., and several of the deck passengers. Mr. Weld, of Louisiana, was badly bruised.

Capt. Dunham, Capt. Quarrier, and Mr. Lowry, with several others, were standing on the hurricane deck, and were all blown up several feet in the air. Captains Dunham and Quarrier fell on the bow of the boat; the others fell into the river, and saved themselves by swimming.

The safe, containing a large amount of money, some of which belonged to the boat, and some deposited by the passengers, was blown into the river, and was supposed to be irrecoverably lost. Very few of the passengers saved their baggage and clothing, though some had sufficient presence of mind to throw their trunks overboard.


The new and beautiful steamer Anglo Norman, left New Orleans December 14, 1850, on an experimental trip, having on board a large " pleasure party," consisting of two hundred and ten persons. She proceeded in an admirable style some distance up the river, satisfying all on board that she was a first-rate sailer, and giving promise of a brilliant career in the future; but having tacked and directed her course back to the city, all her boilers exploded at the same moment, shattering a considerable part of the boat, and killing and wounding nearly half the people on board.

Mr. H. A. Kidd, editor of the New Orleans Crescent, was one of the excursionists, and was reported among the killed; but he lived to give a graphic account of his miraculous escape from death, which account he somewhat eccentrically entitled " The Experience of a Blownup Man." Mr. Kidd says:

Mr. Bigny, one of the editors of the Delta , and myself, took the only two chairs remaining unoccupied on the deck  chair having the back towards the pilot-house, and mine with its back to the chimney. It will be seen at once that we had seated ourselves immediately over the monster boilers of the boat.

We had been engaged in conversation but a very few moments, when a jet of hot water, accompanied with steam, was forced out of the main pipe just aft the chimney, and fell near us ill a considerable shower. I had never noticed anything of the kind before, and thought the occurrence very extraordinary. Just as I was about remarking this to Mr. Bigny, I was suddenly lifted high in the air, how high it is impossible for me to say. I have a distinct recollection of passing rather irregularly through the air, enveloped, as it seemed to me, in a dense cloud, through which no object was discernible. There was a sufficient lapse of time for me to have a distinct impression on my mind that I must inevitably be lost. In what position I went into the water, and to what depth I went, I have not the slightest idea. When I arose to the surface, I wiped the water from my face, and attempted to obtain a view of things around me, but this I was prevented from doing by the vapor of steam, which enveloped everything as a cloud. This obscuration, however, lasted but for a short time, and when it had passed away, I had a clear conception of my situation. I found myself in possession of my senses, and my limbs in good working order. I looked around in every direction, and discovered that I was not far from the centre of the river, and in the neighborhood of some twenty or thirty people, who seemed to have been thrown into the water somewhat in a heap. They were sustaining themselves on the surface as best they could, many of them endeavoring to get possession of floating pieces of the wreck. I could see nothing of the exploded boat, and was fully satisfied in my mind that she was blown all to pieces, and that all my fellow passengers were lost, except those who, like myself, were struggling in the water. I will do myself the simple justice to say that, from the time at which I had risen to the surface, I had no apprehensions of drowning, though to a more disinterested spectator the chances might have appeared to be against me.

 I never felt more buoyant, nor swam with greater ease. Still I thought it well enough to appropriate whatever aid was within my reach; so, like others, I began a race, which proved to be a tedious one, after a shattered piece of plank. I finally reached it, and putting my hands rather rudely upon it, I got a sousing for my pains. The piece was too small to render me any material service. I abandoned it, and turned in the direction of a steamboat, which I perceived advancing, and which I afterwards discovered to be the Naniopa. To keep my face towards the approaching steamer, I found that I had to oppose the strong current of the river. This, together with the coldness of the water, so exhausted my physical energies, that, for a brief space, I felt that I should not be able to keep afloat until the boat should reach me. As the steamer came near, there was a cry from my unfortunate neighbors in the water, ' Stop the boat! stop the boat!'

There was, indeed, great danger of our being run over by it. I however had no fears on this point, and made no effort to get out of its way. Fortunately for myself, I was one of the first which the boat approached. A sailor threw out to me a large rope, which I succeeded in grasping at the first effort. I was drawn to the boat's guards, which were several feet above the water. While drawing me up, the kind-hearted sailor cried, 'Hold on, partner ! hold on !' But I could not, my strength being exhausted; the rope was slipping through my hands, and I should certainly have fallen back into the water, and been irrecoverably lost under the boat's guards, had not another sailor quickly reached down and seized hold of my arms. I was drawn on board as nearly lifeless as any one could be without being actually dead. Two stout men assisted me to reach the cabin. My chest, as I discovered from its soreness and my spitting blood, had been somewhat bruised, but a little bathing with whiskey soon have me relief. My friend Bigny was one of the first I met on board."

Both these editors had been in the most dangerous part of the boat, and their escape, almost without injury, was a remarkable instance of good fortune. One of the passengers who escaped, remarked, that of the immense boiler, weighing many tons, not a scrap as large as a man's hand remained. Very few of- the names of those who were killed could be ascertained, but the general opinion was that the number of the victims could not be less than one hundred. Mr. Perry, who was attached to the office of the New Orleans Bulletin, was one of the killed. The Hon. James Bebee, a member of the Missouri State legislature, was believed to have been lost. The persons mentioned below were badly wounded. Messrs. Nathan, Jarvis, Stillman, and Storm, of the New York Novelty Works; Captain Ambol; Captain Thompson, of the Ship Lexington. Mr. Kidd, editor of the Crescent, and Mr. Bigny of the Delta, were both slightly injured.


The terrific explosion of the Oregon took place near island No. 82 in the Mississippi river, at one o'clock, p. m., on March 2nd, 1851. All the boilers exploded at the same moment, carrying away the forward cabin, and killing, scalding or mutilating about sixty persons. The boat was heavily laden at the time, and carried about one hundred passengers.

Dinner was just over, and most of the passengers were in the social hall and on the forward guards. Immediately after the explosion the boat took fire, and burned to the water's edge. But for the timely assistance of the steamer Iroquois, which was about a mile off when the accident took place, all on board must have perished, as the Oregon was an unmanageable wreck in the middle of the channel. Capt. Lee, of the Iroquois, hastened to the assistance of the Oregon, but was obliged to stop to make some repairs. He succeeded, however, in reaching the Oregon, just as the flames were bursting through the hurricane deck. Men, women and children, almost surrounded by the raging flames, were collected on the after-part of the wreck. The shrieks of the affrighted women and children were heard far away over the waters, and as the Iroquois approached, the groans of the wounded and dying admonished the passengers and crew of that boat to prepare themselves for a ghastly and heart-rending spectacle. The captain of the Iroquois ran his boat aft of the Oregon ; a communication was then made by placing ladders on the lower deck of the Iroquois and resting against the Oregon's upper deck; and on these ladders all the people on the wreck who were able to exert themselves, passed on to the Iroquois. Afterwards, with great exertion and risk, Capt. Lee succeeded in removing the wounded to his own cabin, the floor of which was soon covered with the most pitiable objects; scalded, charred and dismembered bodies, still panting and writhing in the spasmodic contortions of the last struggle. Some, who seem to have been less injured, appeared to endure equal or greater torment, or were enabled to give expression to their sufferings in frantic exclamations and prayers to heaven for a speedy death.

The cabin servants, who were at dinner, were nearly all killed. Eight white firemen, who were dining in the cabin at the same time, likewise perished. The clerk's office was entirely blown away, with all the books and papers of the boat. Owing to this circumstance, the names of comparatively few of the passengers who were lost can be ascertained; and hence the list of killed must be regarded as very incomplete.

Killed.—George Brown, first clerk; Richard Young, Shelby Co., Ky.; William Miller, Harrison Co., Ind.; Mrs. Asher, and Patrick Murphy, Louisville, Ky.; Patrick Lyons, deck-hand; William Larkin, Louisville, Ky.; six of the cabin servants, (colored,) six white firemen, and Mr. Love, engineer.

Badly Scalded.—Capt. Montgomery; Barrett Milliken, second clerk ; Mr. Lyons, bar-keeper; Mr. Cannon, pilot, and J. M. Cox, Nelson Co., Ky.; besides eight or ten deck passengers who were unknown to the people of the boat, and too badly burnt to give any account of themselves.


The J. L. Avery, J. L. Robertson commander, was a new boat, built in the most substantial manner, and furnished with every necessary equipment for a first class passenger boat, being designed as a regular packet between New Orleans and Natchez. She left New Orleans, on her customary trip up the river, on March 7th, 1854. She stopped at Point Coupee and took in a large quantity of sugar and molasses ; and on the 9th of the same month she passed the steamer Sultana, off Black Hawk point, forty miles below Natchez ; and having left the Sultana, (with which she appears to have been racing,) about a mile astern, she struck what was supposed to be a tree washed from the shore by a recent freshet. A very large leak in the bottom of the boat was the consequence of this accident, and although the pilot immediately steered for the shore, the steamer sunk before she could get near enough to land the passengers. Mr. J. V. Guthrie, an engineer, and the carpenter, were standing just forward of the boilers when they heard the crash the boat at the same time making a sudden surge to one side. The carpenter immediately lifted the scuttle-hatch and leaped into the hold, but finding the water pouring in too fast to admit of any attempt at repairing the damage, he made haste to get out again, at the same time giving notice to the engineer that the boat had snagged. Mr. Guthrie, perceiving that the boat was going down, hastened to the engine, but before he got there, he was up to his knees in water. The cabin passengers were hurried up to the hurricane-deck. Soon after, the boat righted, and the hull separated from the cabin and sunk in sixty feet of water.

As the hull parted from the upper works, the surging of the waters caused the cabin floor to rise up against the hurricane roof, and six persons who remained in the cabin were dragged out through the skylights by Capt. Robertson and his two clerks. Mrs. Parmin, one of the six passengers rescued from that perilous situation, had her eldest child in her arms at the time, and was with difficulty prevented from plunging in again, as her babe was left asleep on the bed. But the situation of the deck passengers was the most calamitous ; there was a large number of them crowded in their allotted place, where they were walled in by hogsheads of sugar, which would have prevented their escape, if escape had been otherwise possible. These unfortunate people were nearly all drowned.

There were many Irish emigrants on board, whose names were unregistered, and there is a great deal of uncertainty respecting the number of those who perished. Eye-witnesses testify that a large number of men, women and children could be seen drowning at one time. Of the twenty firemen on board, twelve were drowned. The second mate and another person launched the life-boat, but it was almost immedidiately upset, probably by the eager and ill-directed efforts of the drowning people to get into it. The steamer Sultana, with which the Avery had been racing, promptly camo to the rescue of the drowning crew and passengers, and was the means of saving some of them ; but the number lost is believed to be at least eighty or ninety.

Mrs. Seymour, one of the cabin passengers who escaped, relates the following incidents of the wreck :

While the passengers were at dinner, it was remarked that the atmosphere of the cabin was overheated, a circumstance which one of the party accounted for by stating that some unusual means had been used to get up extra steam, as the officers of the Avery were resolved to outrun the rival steamer, Sultana. Mrs. Seymour had retired to her state room for an afternoon nap, from which she was aroused by the concussion when the boat struck ; and soon after, she found herself in the water. She was drawn up into the floating cabin by one of the waiters, named John Anderson, who, as Mrs. Seymour testifies, was instrumental in saving the lives of several other passengers. She states that her pocket-book, containing nine hundred dollars, which had been placed under her pillow, was lost. She also lost a manuscript which she was preparing for the press, and which she valued still more highly than her pocket-book.

Mrs. Seymour continues : I cast my eyes upon the water, which was covered with fragments of the cabin. To these frail supports human hands were clinging, while many human voices were crying, "Save me ! oh, save me !" The water at first was dotted with human heads, sinking and rising, and then sinking to rise no more. A sudden splash drew my attention to the side of the boat, and I saw that a young lady, who had been drawn from the inundated cabin through the sky-light and placed in safety on the floating deck, in the delirium of the moment had plunged again into the water, from which she never again emerged. Several others followed her example, but appearing again on the surface, they were rescued by the waiter Anderson and two or three others of the boat's crew, who never slackened in their efforts to save human life. Two or three gentlemen leaped into the water and swam to land. A fine Texan poney, belonging to Mrs. Emerson, escaped from the deck, and endeavored to save himself by swimming. He reached the shore, but not being able to climb the bank, he fell back into the water and was drowned. In a faint but earnest tone, I heard a female voice say, " Oh, William, do save her!" On directing my gaze to the place from whence the voice came, I saw a woman sinking in the river. At the same time a child's voice exclaimed, " Oh, mother, he cannot save me!" I saw her fair hair, all wet, fall back from her young face as her little arms loosened their grasp on the neck of her brother, and the mother and her two children sank together.


The steamers Chesapeake and Constellation from Buffalo, were sailing in company on Lake Erie, June 9, 1847, and being off Conneaut about midnight, they met the schooner Porter, which turned aside to avoid the Constellation, and came in contact with the Chesapeake. It appears that the light on board the Chesapeake was mistaken by the helmsman of the schooner for a light on shore, and by some miscalculation of the distance, the schooner ran into the steamer, which she struck on the larboard bow. At the moment of collision, the crew of the Porter sprang on board the Chesapeake, and the latter continued her course out into the lake. Captain "Waine of the Chesapeake, thinking that neither vessel was much injured, put about, and steered for the Porter in order to return her crew; but as she came nearer, it was perceived that the Porter was sinking, and by the time the small boat was lowered, she had disappeared. At this moment, the captain was informed that the steamer was leaking. All hands were called to the pumps, but the water gained on them, and the passengers were set to bailing. The firemen were driven from the hold by the rush of water. The Captain had ordered her to be run ashore; she was accordingly headed in that direction, but before she had proceeded far, the water had put out her fires, and the engine stopped. The anchor was then let go to maintain her position, as the wind was blowing freshly from the shore. From this time to the moment the boat sunk, all hands were employed in preparing floats for the conveyance of the crew and passengers to land. The Captain advised all to stick to the wreck, but some left it not withstanding, hoping to swim ashore, or to float thither on pieces of plank, furniture, &c., but nothing was heard of them afterwards. Among those who left the boat in this way, was the chief engineer.

Within half an hour after the collision, the Chesapeake went down, head foremost, in seven fathoms water. The upper deck separated from the hull, and remained on the surface. On this floating platform, the passengers who remained alive, took refuge. Many of them were women and children, and their shrieks for aid are described by Captain Waine (who tells the story of the disaster) as most appalling. At this critical juncture, the steamer Harrison hove in sight, but soon passed them at a distance without hearing their cries for help. The Harrison stopped at Connaut, about a mile and a half distant from the wreck, and her captain was there informed by the clerk of the Chesapeake, who, with several other persons had reached the shore in a small boat, that his assistance was needed. The Harrison immediately started for the place, and rescued all who were still alive on the floating deck.

The persons named below are known to have been drowned :

Mrs. Houk, Waterton, N. Y.; G. Van Doren, Sandusky; E. Cone, Belle Air, Ohio ; S. York, Tiffin, Ohio; R. Sutherland, chief engineer; Orson Ware, second porter; R. McNabb, deck-hand.

Besides these, many passengers whose names were unregistered, were undoubtedly lost. The clerk's books, and about $8000 in specie, sunk with the hull, and were never recovered.

During that awful half hour which preceded the sinking of the Chesapeake, the state of affairs on board was almost too horrible for description. The night was exceedingly dark; a high wind was blowing from the shore, precluding all hope of reaching land on floats; the boat was fast sinking, and death to all on board seemed inevitable. The captain preserved all his serenity, and advised the passengers that their only chance of safety consisted in remaining on the wreck. He assisted his wife and another lady to climb the mast, and fixed them on the cross-trees. Mr. Lytle, the steward of the boat, was very active and self-possessed, helping such as needed help, and often exposed his life to imminent peril in order to preserve the lives of others.

At length the bow began to fall, and the cry was heard, " She is going!" One loud, long, and unearthly shriek arose simultaneously from the despairing multitude; a shriek which the survivors say is still ringing in their ears, and such a shriek as they hope never to hear again. Many had betaken themselves to floating articles, settees, cabin-doors, planks, tables, &c. One man was seen to turn under his plank, where he remained, his fingers only visible, holding on with the grasp of death. A gentleman and his wife were seen on a float, sometimes sinking, and then rising again to the surface. The lady, not having presence of mind enough to guard against inhaling the water, soon became strangled and exhausted, and died beside her husband, who held out some time longer, but finally sunk into the same watery grave which had received his wife. " They loved in life, and in death they were not divided."

The most touching case was that of Daniel Folsom, his wife, and child. When the engine ceased to work, the yawl-boat was manned and sent ashore in charge of Mr. Sheppard, the clerk. Ten men were put on board, and four ladies, among whom was Mrs. Folsom. She at first refused to go without her husband. . He knew it was not the time to debate such a question, and instantly resorted to the only argument which could prevail, by taking the child and putting it in the boat. She then followed, and the husband took an affectionate leave of her at the gang-way. All of this family were saved.


The steamboat Orline St. John left Mobile for Montgomery, Ala., on Monday evening, March 2nd, 1850. On the fourth of the same month, when within four miles of her place of destination, she was discovered to be on fire on the larboard side, near the boilers. In less than three minutes from the time at which the first alarm was given, the whole cabin was enveloped in a sheet of flame. There were about one hundred and twenty human beings on board, and it is reported that not more than fifty of that number survived the destruction of the boat. As soon as the fire was discovered, the pilot steered for the shore, which the steamer fortunately reached before the tiller-ropes were severed by the flames. The boat was run ashore in a dense cane-brake on which her bow and waist rested, while the stern projected into the river. A few persons who happened to be on the forward part of the boat were landed without any difficulty, but the greater number of passengers ran aft, with the hope of getting into the yawl. But the deck passengers and a part of the crew had got possession of this small boat, and had already left the steamer. More than one hundred people were now collected at the stern, which, as mentioned above, projected into the deep water, which effectually cut off all means of escape in that quarter ; and to go forward was now impossible, as the whole of the middle of the boat was completely wrapped in flame. To make the situation of these people still more critical, the cabin threatened to fall on them. " As the flames spread aft, (says an eye-witness,) the scene was indeed terrible. The ladies and children had gathered in the extreme after-part of the boat, and their screams for help can never be erased from my memory."

If the yawl had been brought back, all might have been saved ; but the deck bands who had taken possession of it, ran it ashore in the cane-brake ; and before the captain and second mate could bring it back, all who remained on the steamer, without a single exception, were drowned or burned to death. Every woman and child who had been in the boat was lost; the only persons saved were those few who escaped over the bow when the boat struck, and the five or six deck hands who ran off with the yawl. There were a number of returned California gold diggers on board; such of them as saved their lives lost all the produce of their toils. No property of any kind was saved, except a trunk belonging to Col. Preston, which his servant threw over the bow into the cane-brake.

List Of Killed.—Mrs. Hall and daughter, Augusta, Ga. ; Mrs. and Miss Vanhorn, and Mrs. Cain, S. C.; Thomas Stevens, printer, Camden, S. C.; Judge Tindslay, Hugh Hughes, second mate, and Peter Upson, steward, and wife, Mobile, Ala.; the second cook, colored, two white deck hands, eight colored firemen and slaves of passengers, and ten or twelve cabin passengers, names unknown.

Edward Maul, second clerk of the steamer Farmer, and a returned Californian, were severely burned. Purser Price, of the United States Navy, from California, lost two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in gold belonging to government. Mr. Noland, a Californian, lost ten thousand dollars, and several others from the gold region lost all they had. The boat, cargo, and baggage were entirely destroyed. There was an insurance on the steamer for twenty thousand dollars.


The Anthony Wayne was an old steamer belonging to the regular line of Buffalo and Sandusky packets. On Sunday morning, at halfpast one o'clock, April 28, 1850, while making one of her usual trips, this boat exploded, on Lake Erie, opposite the mouth of Vermillion river, and eight miles from the shore. Within twenty minutes after the explosion, the steamer sunk, the hull parting from the hurricane deck, and leaving the latter afloat on the lake. The surviving passengers and crew remained on this fragment of the wreck until daylight, when the schooner Elmira, Capt. Nugent, came up and took them off, together with the wounded, and all the dead bodies which could be recovered. There were eighty-four persons on the Anthony Wayne, about half of whom were saved alive, though some of these were badly wounded.

List Of Killed.—Myron Tytus, of Dayton, Ohio; M. Hart, Perrysville, Ohio; wife and child of John Ellis, Mount Hope, Mich.; J. W. Doty, Warsaw, Ill.; J. J. Elmore, and J. Burchard, engineers; Henry Sturges, steward, Mount Clemens, Mich.; G. Franklin, fireman, of Detroit; A. J. Meade, bar-keeper; Wiley Robinson, John Williamson, and Henry Kelly, cooks; two waiters, colored; Alexander Cartwright, deck-hand; John Brainard, and James O'Neil, firemen; Whitney Parsons, porter; Henry Blane, deck-hand ; John Falkner; Henry McDonough, and several others, names unknown.

Dangerously Wounded.—J. H. Josler, Crittenden County, Vt.; Robert Shay, Dayton, Ohio; John Terry, Louisville, Ky.; C. G. Lawrence, Angelica, N. Y.; A. W. Gray, Stillwater, N. Y.; a son of Mr. Ellis, Mount Hope, Mich.

Slightly Wounded.—John Beadley, Cleveland, Ohio; Matthew Faulkner, Sheffield, Mass.

The case of Mr. Archer Brackney, one of the passengers, is mournfully interesting. He was on his way from Lafayette, La., to Philadelphia, with the remains of his wife and child, recently deceased. Both the corpses were enclosed in one box. When the explosion took place, he succeeded in dragging his two living children from their berths, and with them plunged into the water. Finding himself unable to support the two children on the surface, he looked around for some piece of the wreck which might be useful in preserving their lives.

A floating object attracted 'his attention; it was the box which contained the bodies of his wife and child. On this he placed his little boy and girl, and endeavored to keep the box in an upright position, but the surges caused it to pitch and roll in such a manner, that his son, in spite of all his efforts, was washed off and drowned. He now turned all his attention to the preservation of the other child, and finally succeeded in gaining the floating part of the wreck with his little daughter, and both were saved.


 This explosion, of which a very vague account has been preserved, took place on "Wednesday, September 19th, 1843, at about a quarter past twelve o'clock, a.m.. One of the passengers, who lived to relate the story, and who appears to have powers of description peculiar to himself, states that the Clipper " blew up with a report that shook earth, air, and heaven, as though the walls of the world were tumbling to pieces about our ears. All the boilers bursted simultaneously; vast fragments of the machinery, huge beams of timber, articles of furniture, and human bodies, were shot up perpendicularly, as it seemed, hundreds of fathoms in the air, and fell like the jets of a fountain in various directions ; some dropping on the neighboring shore, some on the roofs of the houses, some into the river, and some on the deck of the boat. Some large fragments of the boilers, &c., were blown at least two hundred and fifty yards from the scene of destruction. The hapless victims were scalded, crushed, torn, mangled, and scattered in every possible direction ; some were thrown into the streets of the neighboring town, (Bayou Sara,) some on the other side of the bayou, three hundred yards distant, and some into the river. Several of these unfortunates were torn in pieces by coming in contact with pickets or posts, and I myself, (says the same credible witness,) saw pieces of human bodies which had been shot like cannon balls through the solid walls of houses at a considerable distance from the boat."

Every object in front of the wheel-house was swept away as if by a whirlwind. A gentleman who visited the place where the killed and wounded had been deposited, at Bayou Sara, says, " The scene was such as we never hope to look upon again. The floors of the two large ware-rooms were literally strewn with the wounded and dying, and others were pouring in as fast as it was possible to convey them to the spot. The sufferers were praying, groaning, and writhing in every contortion of physical agony.

Killed.— Mr. Berry, chief clerk; second clerk, name not mentioned; William Sumpter, second engineer; (he was thrown more than one hundred and fifty yards, through the roof and gable end of a house, into the back yard against a fence ; his body being completely dismembered, and crushed out of all resemblance to the human form ;) William Nelson, third engineer ; Arnault J. Laraud, pilot; William Wall, second pilot; the watchman ; Gabriel Pool, carpenter ; two colored cooks, the cabin boy and eight firemen, four deck hands and others, names not remembered.

Wounded.—John Tyson, chief engineer ; John Peterson, mate; and a number of deck passengers, names unknown.

The watchman mentioned in the list of the killed, was thrown one hundred yards from the boat, through the solid walls of Bacon's hotel, and into a bed. He retained his senses perfectly, but expired within half an hour after the explosion. The cabin boy was thrown two hundred yards, through the roof of a shed; he was taken up dead and frightfully mangled.


The George Washington was on her way from Cincinnati to New Orleans, and at one o'clock, A. M., on January 14th, 1852, when she was a short distance above Grand Gulf, Miss., the boilers exploded, and the boat was burnt to the water's edge. She had in tow, at the time, two barges, heavily laden, both of which, with their cargoes, were totally consumed. But these losses are insignificant, when compared with the destruction of human life which was one of the effects of this accident. William Carroll, the first clerk of the George Washington, a Mr. James Treat, P. Supner, the cook, a fireman, six deck hands and six deck passengers were all killed at the moment of the explosion. Several passengers, names not known, are believed to have been burned with the boat. Mr. Chiswell, the carpenter, was badly scalded, and died within a few hours. Mr. Kuykendale, a passenger, was mortally wounded. Capt. Irwin, 0. D. Clemone, passenger, and several others, were more or less injured.


This accident, which caused a frightful loss of life, took place on the Mississippi river, at Bayou Goula, six miles below Plaquemine, on the 29th day of September, 1851. The Brilliant, Capt. Hunt commander, left New Orleans two days before the accident, and was on her way to Bayou Sara, and the intermediate landings. She had stopped at Dr. Stone's plantation, and was about recommencing her voyage, when her boiler bursted, making a total wreck of the main cabin and state-rooms as far aft as the ladies' cabin, and sweeping away all the upper woodwork forward of the boilers. The boiler itself was projected forward among a crowd of the boat's crew and deck passengers, nearly all of whom were killed or wounded. The flues and parts of the machinery were thrown in the opposite direction, and made sad devastation among the cabin passengers.

As usual in the narratives of western steamboat calamities, the names of only a small number of the victims are recorded. Capt. Hunt stated" that he had more than eighty deck hands and firemen on board at the time of the explosion. Of these, only twenty-five could be found after the accident. He could give no account of the number of deck passengers, but is certain that they were very numerous. There were thirtyfive cabin passengers, ten of whom were ladies. Twenty-five of these were seen in the water after the explosion, three of whom were rescued by the steamer Natchez, and it is believed that the others all perished. The Natchez also conveyed to Plaquemine forty-two persons badly wounded who had been taken from the wreck. Of these, fifteen died within six hours. Fifteen others, badly wounded, were carried ashore in the yawl, and the steamer Princess took off three more in a similar condition. A majority of those wounded by this explosion did not recover.

Capt. Hunt furnished the names of a few of his boat's crew who were among the victims of this disaster, viz.: James Fullerton, mate ; J. A. Cotton, first clerk ; Robert Doyle, first engineer, was supposed to be mortally wounded; Mr. Falls, second pilot, was badly scalded. Capt. Hunt himself was in the wash-room when the boiler exploded, and he was uninjured. Mr. Lewison, editor of the Baton Rouge Advocate, was mortally wounded.

The accident is ascribed to the imprudent use of rosin among the fuel, in order to produce a more intense heat, and so to increase the speed of the boat. A wounded fireman stated that four barrels of rosin were burned at the landing, and the fifth was about to be consumed when the explosion took place.


The disaster we are about to record, took place on the Ohio river, a short distance above Carrollton, April 2, 1852. The Redstone was a small boat, about three years old, and was built at Pittsburgh for the Brownsville Slackwater Navigation. At the time to which we now refer, she was plying in the Madison and Cincinnati trade, in opposition to the regular line of Madison packets. She left Madison about noon on the day aforesaid, with thirty or forty passengers on board, and had stopped above Carrollton to take in a Mr. Scott. His parents accompanied him to the shore, and were looking at him when the boat began to move off; a moment after, they were horrified by seeing him blown high in the air, and then fall into the river. Two boilers exploded—one of them was blown on shore, and, in its course, prostrated a sycamore tree two feet in diameter. The trees and the shore, for hundreds of yards, were lined with shreds of clothing, sheets, blankets, and other vestiges of the wreck. A man's boot, ripped and torn, was picked up more than six hundred yards from the wreck, whither it had been blown, no doubt, from the foot of some unhappy victim. A passenger who had got on the boat at Milton, was taking a drink at the bar, and, after paying for it, was returning his purse to his pocket, when he was blown into the river and drowned. A lad from Madison was on board with his two little sisters ; he was drowned, but the girls were saved. A Mr. Claxon, of Carrollton, was on the boat, and was blown ashore, but, strange to tell, he did not receive the slightest injury.

The following are the names of some of the persons killed:—E. G. Crossman, printer; E. N. Durbson, of New Philadelphia, Ind.; Mr. Coons; Rev. Henry A. Scott, (the young man whose parents stood on the shore and witnessed his death); Lewis Berry, of Brownsville, Pa., first engineer ; Joseph W. Berry, of same place, second engineer; E. P. Durbin, Lawrenceburg, Ind.; M. Smith, Petersburg, Va.; seven cabin boys, names not known.

Badly Wounded.—Thomas W. Pate, captain ; Sydney Longly and Charles M. Jackson, pilots: Samuel Fritz; George Breck, second cook ; Henry Boezi, six firemen, and four deck hands.

Slightly Wounded.—Geo. Collard, mate; John Wilson, carpenter; Christman Wilson.

Twenty bodies, recovered from the water, were too much disfigured to be recognized. The boat was so completely shattered by the force of the explosion, that she immediately sunk in twenty feet water.


A few minutes after five o'clock, on the evening of November 15, 1849, the steamboat Louisiana, Captain Cannon, lying at the foot of Gravier street, New Orleans, had completed all the preparations for her departure for St. Louis. She was laden with a valuable cargo, and had on board a large number of passengers. The last bell was rung, and the machinery set in motion; but at the moment the boat disengaged herself from the wharf and began to back out into the river, all the boilers exploded with a concussion which shook all the houses for many squares around to their very foundations. The Louisiana was lying between two other steamers the Bostona and Storm the upper works of which were completely wrecked; their chimneys were carried away, and their cabins were shattered to small fragments. The violence of the explosion was such, that large pieces of the boilers were blown hundreds of yards from the wharf, falling on the levee and in different parts of the city.

One of these iron fragments cut a mule in two, and then struck a horse and dray, killing both driver and horse instantly. Another mass of iron, of considerable size, was projected to the corner of Canal and Front streets, two hundred yards from the exploded steamer, where it threw down three large iron pillars which supported the roof of the portico of a coffeehouse. Before it reached the iron pillar, this fragment passed through several bales of cotton which lay in its passage.

The tremendous detonation gave notice of the accident to the whole city, and soon all the levee near Gravier street was thronged with anxious and sympathizing spectators. A number of bodies, in every conceivable state of mutilation, had been dragged from the wreck, and were surrounded by the immense crowd which had assembled. Hacks and furniture cars were sent for, and the wounded were conveyed with as much despatch as possible to the hospitals. The sight of the mangled bodies on every side, the groans of the dying, and the shrieks of the agonized sufferers, produced a general thrill of horror among the multitude. The body of a man was seen, with the head and one leg off, and the entrails torn out. A woman, whose long hair lay wet and matted by her side, had one leg off, and her body was shockingly mangled. A large man, having his skull mashed in, lay dead on the levee ; his face looked as though it had been painted red, having been completely flayed by the scalding water. Others of both sexes, crushed, scalded, burned, mutilated and dismembered, lay about in every direction. Two bodies were found locked together, brought by death into a sudden and close embrace.

But it is utterly impossible to describe all the revolting objects which presented themselves to the view of the beholders. Suffice it to say, that death was there exhibited in all its most hideous forms; and yet the fate of many who still lived was more shocking and distressing than the ghastly and disfigured corpses of those whose sufferings were terminated by death.

A gentleman who was a passenger on the Louisiana, says that he was standing on the hurricane deck, abaft the wheel house, at the time of the explosion, and though his position was most perilous, he fortunately escaped unhurt. He distinctly saw the faces and arms of several ladies and gentlemen who were vainly struggling to free themselves from the falling planks and timbers. They were carried down with the boat when she sunk. The steamer went down within ten minutes after the explosion ; and it is thought that many citizens who went on board to assist the wounded, sunk with the boat. The passenger mentioned above succeeded in saving a little negro boy. The river was covered with fragments of the wreck, to many of which persons who had been blown overboard were clinging, and a number of small boats Were engaged in taking them up. The confusion was so great that it was quite impossible to ascertain the names of one quarter of those who were killed ; and as a promiscuous crowd of strangers, emigrants, &c., were on board, the greater number of them could not be identified. It is generally admitted that this disaster caused a greater loss of life than ever took place on the Mississippi, before or since. The most authentic accounts make the number of killed one hundred and fifty, and some estimates extend the number to two hundred. The mayor of New Orleans judged from his own observations and diligent inquiries on the spot, that one hundred and fifty lives were lost, at the lowest calculation.

The steamer Storm, which lay in close proximity to the Louisiana, was almost as completely wrecked as the last-named boat itself, and was driven out fifty yards from the wharf by the concussion. Several persons on board of the Storm were killed or wounded. The captain himself was severely injured, but appeared on deck, his face covered with blood, and calmly gave directions for clearing the wreck and bringing his boat back to the wharf.

The fragments of iron, and blocks and splinters of wood, which were sent with the rapidity of lightning from the ill-fated Louisiana, carried death and destruction in all directions. Persons were killed or wounded at the distance of two hundred yards from the boat. There were many miraculous escapes. Dr. Testut, of New Orleans, was standing on the wharf, having just parted from his friend Dr. Blondine, of Point Coupee, who had embarked in the Louisiana, and was killed by the explosion. A fragment of iron struck a man down at Dr. Testut's feet; the poor fellow, while falling, stretched out his hands and convulsively grasped the doctor's palletot, tearing a pocket nearly out. His grasp was soon relaxed by death. Among the citizens who received severe injuries from the flying pieces of the wreck, was Mr. Wray, a clerk in. the house of Moses Greenwood & Co., who had been on board of the steamer Knoxville, lying below the ferry landing, and was passing up at the time. He was struck on the thigh by a piece of wood, and so badly wounded that amputation was deemed necessary. Several newsboys, who had been selling papers on the Louisiana, and had just gone ashore, were killed.

The bodies of persons who had been in the steamer, were, in some instances, blown to the height of two hundred feet in the air, some of them falling on the wharf, and some into the river. Legs, arms, and the dismembered trunks of human bodies, were scattered over the levee. One man, it is said, was blown through the pilot house of the steamer Bostona, making a hole through the panels, which looked like the work of a cannon ball.

Among those who were killed on board of the Storm, was Mrs. Moody, the wife of the first clerk, who was standing on the guard, opposite the ladies' cabin. Twelve or fifteen other persons were killed in this boat, and several others were wounded, some of them mortally. The Storm had just arrived with passengers from Cincinnati, none of whom had been landed.

As stated above, a considerable number of those who were killed were emigrants, and other strangers. These are not included in the following list.

Killed.—Robert Devlin, Baton Rouge ; Capt. E. T. Dustin, of the Bostona ; Mr. Gilmer, second mate, and Andrew Bell, pilot, La.; wife and child of Mr. Robert Moody, clerk of the steamer Storm ; Capt. Edmonston, St. Louis; Mr. Roach, deck hand of the Storm; Mr. Knox, head steward of do.; a cabin boy of do., name unknown; two firemen of do.; John Sullivan, James Wolf, and a third, name unknown, newsboys ; the coachman of St. Charles hotel; several negroes and deck hands of the Bostona ; Dr. Thomas M. Williams, Lafourche ; Dr. Blondine, Point Coupee ; Robert McMackin, clerk of the Louisiana; J. J. Gillespie, Vicksburg; J. Merring, Cincinnati; Mr. Wilson, grocer, St. Louis ; Mr. Edgar, Washington Co., Miss. ; Sylvester Prescott and Eneas Craft, Memphis ; Mr. King, of the firm of J. J. Grey & Co., St. Louis ; Mr. Elliott, clerk of the firm of Marsh & Rowlett, New Orleans; Merrick Morris, clerk of the firm of Small & McGill, New Orleans.

Wounded.—Isaac Hart, New Orleans (supposed to be incurable); Mr. Ray, clerk of Moses Greenwood & Co., New Orleans ; S. Davis, Mobile; Augustus Fretz, brother of Capt. Fretz, formerly of the steamer Memphis ; A. Bird, planter, near Baton Rouge ; Capt. Hopkins, of the Storm ; John Meson, pilot of the Storm; Mr. Horrell, of the firm of Horrell & Gale, New Orleans; Mr. Price, clerk of the Bostona; chambermaid of do.; Harvey W. Bickham ; Daniel Eckerle; Henry Livingston; Isaac Garrison ; Hugh McKee ; Henry, a slave ; Samuel Fox ; William Welch; Clinton Smith; Miley Mulley ; a female slave of Moses Murray, and her two children ; John Evans; William Burke ; John Laws ; Charles, a small negro boy; William Tucker; Henry Tucker ; James Matthews; Juan Montreal; William Nee ; Sandy, a slave of J, Adams; Sam, a slave of Captain Cannon ; James Welch ; James Flynn ; Patrick McCarthy; twenty or thirty other emigrants, whose names could not be ascertained; H. Rea, New Orleans; Thomas Harrison, Missouri; Frederick A. Wood, New Orleans; Samuel Corley, Ky.; Crocket Harrison, Missouri; George, a slave, and a negro child.

During the night, thirty bodies, all of strangers, were brought to the watch-house of the second municipality. Capt. Cannon, of the Louisiana, was on the wharf at the time of the explosion. He had stopped for a moment, to speak to an acquaintance, and this delay probably saved his life. A lady and her two children escaped from the wreck of the boat as it was sinking.

The effects of this disaster, unexampled in the history of steam navigation, were visible in every circle of society at New Orleans. Dismay was in every countenance, and the whole city seemed to be in mourning for the numerous dead ; while every heart was deeply affected with sympathy for the surviving friends, and for all who were suffering in body or mind from the effects of the dreadful catastrophe.


This boat collapsed the outside flue of her starboard boiler, August 22nd, 1852, on the Mississippi river, five miles above St. Genevieve. Thirty-two persons were killed, or so badly wounded that death in every case was the result. Every person on deck who happened to be aft of the engine at the time of the accident was scalded to death. None of the cabin passengers were injured.

List Of The Killed.—Edward Levins, Galena; James Jones, Pa. M. Waggoner, Greensville, Ky. ; Charles W. Williams, St. Louis; Patrick Murphy, boatman ; P. Joy, St. Louis; J. Everett, and Mrs. Schriner and her son Charles, Louisville, Ky.; M. J. Steele, Jackson Co., Iowa; James Mosley, Floyd Co., Ind.; John Brown, Platteville Mo.; H. Dunn, fireman ; M. Hainey ; a fireman, name unknown; George Hardy, third engineer, Louisville, Ky.; and several others, whose names could not be ascertained.


The Caroline was a Memphis packet, employed on the White river. She had ascended that river about twenty miles on Sunday, March 5, 1854, when, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the wood pile near the boilers, was discovered to be on fire. The pilot at the wheel, Mr. John R. Price, steered for the shore, which was overflown by high water. Before the shore was reached, some persons attempted to escape in the yawl, which, being overcrowded, speedily sunk, and all who had embarked in it were drowned. The flames, in the meanwhile, rapidly overspread the steamer, which was soon consumed, down to the level of the water. There were many deck passengers on board, nearly all of whom were lost. The principal sufferers were women and children, who were not able to make the exertions required for their preservation.

The names of those of the crew and passengers who are known to have perished, will be found below:

List Of Killed.—John R. Price and James Creighton, pilots; Lewis Pollock, assistant bar-keeper; eight deck hands and firemen, whose names the captain, in his report of the disaster, omitted to mention ; wife and child of J. Haskins, Marshall county, Tenn.; four children of S. McMullen, of Madison county, Tenn.; Mrs. Haley and three children, Tippah county, Miss.; John Horton, wife, and two children, Mr. Karrell, Mr. Martin, Miss Susanna E. Pool, a son of Mr. Henshaw, Mr. Shelby, of Madison county, Tenn.; a son-in-law, a widowed sister, with her thirteen children, and another sister of Mr. Wortham ; Mr. Harshaw, of Clarendon, Ark.; George Jones, clerk of the house of Poole & Co., Jacksonport, Tenn., and a number of deck passengers, names unknown.

It is a remarkable circumstance that scarcely any of the crew or passengers who escaped with life, were injured in the slightest degree. There was considerable amount of money on board. The safe, containing $5,000, sunk in the river,, and never was recovered. Mr. Penn, one of the passengers, lost $3,500. The remains of Mr. Wilbank, who died a few days before at the Commercial Hotel, Memphis, were on board on their way to his former place of residence, where the funeral was to take place. The body, however, was doomed to find a grave beneath the waters of White river. A package of money which had belonged to the deceased, and which in his dying moments, he had directed to be sent to his widow, was lost with the other money in the safe.

The hull of the Caroline, having burned to the water's edge, broke in two, and sunk out of sight. The whole loss of boat, cargo, money, and other property belonging to the passengers, is estimated at $150,000. There was an insurance on the boat for $5,000. She was finished in the preceding summer, and cost $12,000.


The St. James was a high pressure boat, owned by Capt. W. H. Wright. She was built at Cincinnati in 1850, and was employed on the Mississippi river until about a month before her destruction, at which time she was engaged on Lake Pontchartrain. The accident took place on that lake, at Pointe Aux Herbes. The St. James left Rey St. Louis on Sunday night, July 4th, 1852, in company with the steamboat California, having on board a large number of persons who had been spending the anniversary of Independence at the watering places. Between two and three o'clock, on the morning of the fifth, the St. James stopped at the point designated above, fifteen miles from the Pontchartrain railway landing, and having taken in several passengers, started again on her course. Her companion, the California, was at this time a short distance astern; each boat, probably was endeavoring to outrun the other, and it is conjectured that the officers of the St. James, in their eagerness to beat their rival, exposed the lives of their passengers to very obvious danger.

The St. James had run scarcely two hundred yards from the point where she had stopped, when all the boilers exploded, and nearly at the same moment, the boat took fire. The staunchions being torn away by the explosion, the whole of the boiler deck fell upon the boilers and machinery, precipitating a great many persons into the lower part of the boat, which was now flooded with scalding water, or strewn with the ignited fuel, which had been scattered abroad. Owing to this circumstance, a number of passengers who had not been injured by the explosion itself, were severely scalded or burned when the deck fell in. As the time at which the disaster took place was long before daylight, many of the passengers were asleep. Some of them awoke in eternity, without knowing, perhaps, what cause had hurried them thither, and others were aroused from their slumbers by a sense of intolerable bodily anguish. Vainly would we attempt to picture the scene which now presented itself on the burning steamer. The shrieks of the affrighted passengers were heard on board of the California, and Captain Ensign, of that steamer, immediately steered for the wreck. The space between the two boats was lighted up by the conflagration to the brightness of mid-day, and the spectators from the California could see the terrified men and women on board of the St. James hurrying to and fro, wringing their hands, or seizing on such articles as they could use for temporary support, and jumping into the lake. The screams were awfully distinct and harrowing, as they arose not from the burning boat only, but from the water, in all directions, where many human beings were shouting for help, or gasping in the last agony. Voices were calling from all points, as the boats of the California went about swiftly, picking up all who could be reached. The horrified eyes of the people on the California could see men cease to struggle and go down, while those who saw them perish had no power to save. It was a scene to harrow the soul of humanity, a scene which could not be remembered without horror, and one- that could never be forgotten.

As the California approached the burning wreck, the heat was so intense that Captain Ensign was compelled by a due regard for the persons immediately under his charge, to haul off a short distance. The boats belonging to the California were launched, manned, and sent to the aid of the sufferers. The flames rose from the centre of the St. James, and Captain Ensign, while making a second attempt to reach the persons on the wreck, succeeded, by nice management, in getting under the stern, and a large number of ladies and gentlemen from the St. James were thus enabled to reach the deck of the California. All who were saved owe the preservation of their lives to Captain Ensign.

Among the passengers who were lost, was Judge Preston, of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, and several other distinguished citizens of that State. Judge Preston had his berth over the boilers. He was seen to retire to rest, and immediately after the explosion, the place where he slept was found shattered to pieces, and he was no where to be seen.

J. M. Wolf, Esq., a member of the New Orleans bar, and his son, a lad of fourteen, were seen standing together on the wreck. The boy was urging his father to jump into the water, declaring that he could save him. The father refused, and the boy threw himself overboard and swam towards the California, which was then approaching. He reached her in an exhausted state, and was saved. A rope was thrown io him just as he cried out that he could struggle no more. It is mentioned, as an illustration of this lad's coolness, that he placed his clothes on a small piece of plank and floated them with him to the California, having an eye to the safety of his wardrobe when his life seemed to be in the greatest peril. When taken on board the California, he had his rescued garments under his arm, and dressed himself with the greatest composure. Mr. Wolf, the father of this boy, who could not be induced to leave the wreck, was lost.

Captain Clarke, Commander of the St. James, was asleep at the time of the explosion. When awakened by the terrific report and the commotion on board, he ran on deck, and with the assistance of the pilot, Mr. Samuel Henderson, he took possession of the yawl, keeping back the crowd which was intent on the same object. Having launched this small boat, Captain Clarke placed in it Mrs. Asher, her daughter, (a young lady of sixteen,) and her two younger children ; also Mrs. Sheed and Robert Smith, the steersman, who had an arm broken. With these persons, the yawl started for the California, but striking against that vessel, the little boat upset and all who were in it, except Mrs. Sheed were drowned. Mr. H. L. Sheed, the husband of this lady, was also one of the passengers of the St. James, and he was lost. Captain Clarke's two little sons saved themselves by swimming to the California. Captain Clarke himself was badly scalded, and Captain Wright, the owner of the boat, received severe injuries.

Many of the passengers had not registered their names. The persons named below are scarcely a few  of those who perished.

List Of Killed.—Hon. Isaac T. Preston, Judge of the Supreme Court of Louisiana; Mr. Richard Turner, late Commissary of the Fourth Ward, Second Municipality, New Orleans; J. M. Wolf, member of the New Orleans bar ; John Molley and Nicholas Read, of New Orleans; Mr. Sheed, of the U. S. Branch Mint, of New Orleans; James M. Jones, mate of the St. James; the watchman of do., name not mentioned; a colored boy, slave of Dr. Penniston, of New Orleans; another slave, belonging to Captain Tuft; Mrs. Asher and her three children; Mr. Paul, engineer ; John, a colored man, second steward of the boat; Robert Smith, steersman; S. Forrester; Mr. Gatchet Delisle ; and about twenty others, whose names could not be ascertained.

Wounded.—Captain Wright, owner of the St. James, (badly scalded ;) Captain Clarke, Commander of do., burned by a piece of blazing timber which fell on his head; Oliver Rout, second engineer, (badly scalded;) Francis Turner, Assessor of the First District; Wm. Collins, first engineer, (badly burnt;) Eliza Wilson ; Wm. Deacon, (much injured ;) Francois Francis, a passenger, (severely scalded;) Harry Harvey, passenger, (badly scalded ;) J. G. Wheeler ; Robert McMillar, deck hand, (scalded and right arm broken ;) Gregory, colored boy, and Patrick, a colored man, slaves of Madam Isabel, (much hurt;) George, Bill, Patrick and Julius, firemen, all badly scalded.

Mr. Turner, the Assessor, who is mentioned in the list of wounded, had risen and dressed himself, and was walking about the cabin, thinking that he had been imprudent in venturing on a lake boat which used " high pressure ;" and while his thoughts were thus occupied, the explosion took place. His injuries, however, were not of a very serious nature.


This afflictive event took  place on Lake Erie, July 31, 1850. The head of one of the starboard boilers blew off, turning the boiler deck upside down, raising the upper deck about four feet, and making all the central part of the boat a complete wreck. As soon as the report was heard, several of the passengers jumped overboard and were not seen afterwards. Many persons were killed or wounded, of whose names an imperfect list will be found below. The names of many of the passengers were not registered.

List or Killed.—J. McLaughlin, fireman ; IT. Brown, colored waiter, (he was literally torn to pieces by the pitman, a part of the steam engine ;) Joseph Stancliff, Durham, Conn.; James Chancellor ; Charles Porter; P. Welsh, fireman ; Wm. Terry ; M. Hagerty and James Chintstar, firemen; Patrick Kenby, deck hand; the third engineer, and several passengers, names unknown.

Wounded.—W. H. Burnitt, of New York, hands and arms scalded ; Jeremiah Connor, wife and five children, of Missouri; all badly scalded; Wm. Livas, first cook, scalded; R. Retalil, of Whitby, Canada, do. ; Luther Kinney, of Washington, Macomb county, Michigan, do. ; an old Frenchwoman, shoe-dealer of New York, badly scalded ; Archibald Lindsey, steerage passenger, of Michigan, badly scalded; J. F. Lalor, L. G. Rumsey and Patrick Howley, (deck passenger,) of Cincinnati, slighly scalded ; D. E. Terry, Norwalk, 0., injured by a fall; B. Welsh, of Buffalo, badly scalded ; J. Downing, of Albany, N. Y., slightly do. ; Dennis Warren, deck passenger, much injured ; Patrick Murphy, deck hand, do.; Thomas Purcell, fireman, do.; colored cook, name not known, slightly scalded.

A spectator of this disaster says, " It was a melancholy sight to go through the cabin, and see the terrible condition of the wounded. On  some of them scarcely a particle of skin remained, and the flesh was frightfully burned. I have never witnessed anything to be compared with this awful catastrophe. One poor woman and all her five children were dreadfully scalded. Their sufferings cannot be imagined. The woman was perfectly exhausted with suffering, but seemed to care only for her children. One of them, a little girl, tried several times to jump overboard. Her screams were agonizing to all who heard them."


Between three and four o'clock, on Friday morning, March 1st, 1844, the steamboats De Soto and Buckeye came in contact on the Mississippi, near Atchafalaya. The De Soto was bound down, from Nachitoches, and the Buckeye was on her way to Ouachata, with about three hundred passengers on board, and a cargo of plantation supplies. The concussion was so violent that within five minutes after the accident, the Buckeye sunk to her hurricane deck, in twenty feet water. The passengers were asleep until awakened by the shock. They rushed on deck in the greatest consternation. A terrible commotion and confusion was produced by hundreds of people, in the wildest excitement, seeking their relatives; as many husbands and wives, parents and children, were separated by the universal disorder which prevailed in the fated vessel. All, or nearly all, were in their night clothes, and few were sufficiently self possessed to take proper means for their own safety, or for the safety of those who depended on them for assistance and protection.

A few brave spirits, forgetful of themselves, turned all their attention to the preservation of the women and children; but the boat went down so suddenly that few of those helpless beings could be saved. Mr. Haynes, of Alexandria, La., whose family was with him, lost his daughter, a beautiful little girl, about ten years old. His wife's sister, Miss Elizabeth Smith, an accomplished young lady, was likewise drowned. Mr. Haynes also lost sixteen slaves who were on the lower deck. Mr. Alexander McKinzie, formerly of Florida, lost his wife, seven children, and four slaves. Mr. John Blunt, who was also from Florida, lost his wife, child, and seven negroes. Col. King, of Louisiana, (afterwards Vice President of the United States,) lost two children. A young man named Pollard, supposed to be from Natchez, had a considerable sum of money deposited for safe-keeping in the clerk's office. When the boat was sinking he applied for his money ; it was delivered to him, and he was not seen afterwards. A child of Mr. White, of New Orleans, was lost. Two sisters of a young man named Francis Larkin were drowned. Mr. Larkin and these young ladies had been taken on board at Red river landing. Mr. Beard, one of the unfortunate passengers of. the Buck-eye, attempted to swim ashore with his young nephew on his back ; but in the attempt both were drowned. The whole number who perished could not have been less than eighty. The night was clear, and the moon shed a brilliant light on the water, and to this happy circumstance the preservation of many lives may be ascribed. The De Soto remained by the wreck to the last, and the officers of that boat exerted themselves to the utmost in saving the lives and property of the Buck-eye's passengers. The mate of the De Soto rescued about forty persons from the water by taking them up into the yawl, conveying as many as the little boat could carry to the steamer, and then returning for more.

The surviving passengers of the Buckeye published a certificate exculpating the Captain and other officers of that boat, and ascribing the mischance to a combination of unfortunate circumstances which no precaution or foresight could have averted.


Between ten and eleven o'clock, on the night of October 9, 1854, the steamboat E. K. Collins was burned to the water's edge on Lake Erie, nearly opposite the light house below Mauldin. At the time the fire broke out, she was on her way from Sault St. Marie to Cleveland. Before she could be run on shore, she was completely enveloped in flames. Twenty-three of the passengers and crew were either drowned or burned to death. The fire broke out on the boiler deck, and spread so rapidly that the passengers and crew, most of whom were in bed, had not time to dress themselves, before they ran on deck to seek the means of escape. As soon as the boat had reached shallow water she became unmanagable, and while the head was embedded in the sand the stern projected over the deep water, and all who happened to be abaft the machinery were reduced to the necessity of throwing themselves overboard, or remaining in the boat with the certainty of perishing in the flames. Had it not been for the timely arrival of the propeller Finertz, scarcely any would have been saved. The current set strongly from the shore, so that several men who attempted to save themselves by swimming were carried back and drowned. The Captain of the Finertz, seeing the light, hastened to the wreck, and had all his boats ready for service by the time of his arrival. Nearly all who were saved owe their preservation to the prompt assistance rendered by this vessel. As a surprising example of human depravity, it is mentioned that some wretch, in the very height of the consternation on board, stole eighty dollars, the hard earnings of a poor invalid, who had been working at Sault St. Marie, until his declining health obliged him to return to his family, at Cleveland. A purse of twenty dollars was contributed by the passengers for the relief of the unfortunate man who had been victimized by this atrocious and inhuman robbery.

Names Of Those Who Perished By This Disaster.—Mrs. Dibble; Samuel Powell; Lawrence Whalom ; Thomas Cook ; Mrs. McNailly; Mrs. Watrums and child ; a colored man from Alrginia, name unknown ; Charles Adams ; John McNeely; John Ennis; P. Tinker; John Halstead ; Mr. Lyman ; Mrs. F. Lewis; Samuel Brown ; A. Alwick ; Thomas Anderson; J. A. Grinnan; James Grimmet; Nathanial Robins, and one of the pilots, name not mentioned.


One of the boilers of this boat exploded at St. Louis, on Thursday, February 14th, 1854. The Kate Kearney was about to start from the wharf and the last bell had just ceased ringing, when in a single moment the greater part of the boat was changed to a confused heap of ruins. There were fifty or sixty passengers on board, and the names of many, (as usual,) were not registered. It is quite certain that several persons, whose names were never ascertained, were blown overboard and lost. Fifteen persons, badly wounded, were taken to the Sister's Hospital, St. Louis ; of these, several died within a few hours, namely:the Rev. S. J. Gassaway, rector of St. George's church, St. Louis, F. Hardy, second engineer of the Kate Kearney, D. Keefer, a deck hand, and two colored men.

Among the wounded were Brevet Major D. C. Buel, of the United States army, Major R. C. Catlin, of the seventh, U. S. infantry, a son of that gentleman, and several other persons from Illinois and Missouri. Three persons, whose names are not mentioned, were seen to sink in the river.

Major Buel, one of the wounded passengers, gives the following account of his providential escape from a horrible death. He was overwhelmed among falling timbers and rubbish, from which, with great exertion, he extricated himself after the lapse of a few minutes. As soon as he felt himself at liberty he heard the alarm of fire; and although he had received several painful wounds, he united with others in an attempt to extinguish the flames. He continued in this active service until relieved by the arrival of the fire companies. He then went ashore, took a carriage, and drove to the Planter's House. It was only on his arrival there that he began to realize the serious nature of the injuries he had sustained, and from the effects of which he did not recover for several weeks.

The Kate Kearney was an old boat, having been engaged for eight or ten years in the packet trade between St. Louis and Keokuk. About three years previous, the same boiler which caused the disaster just related, collapsed at Canton, on the upper Mississippi, killing and scalding a large number of persons. The collapsed flues were taken out and new ones were substituted, but the shell of the old boiler remained. The boat was adjudged to be unfit for service several months before the explosion at St. Louis. She was withdrawn from the Keokuk trade, but as both the Alton packets had sunk, the Kate Kearney was chartered to do their duty; in which service she was engaged at the time of the explosion.


The Belle of the West was burned to the water's edge, near Florence island, on the Ohio river, April 22nd, 1850. Only an imperfect report of this disaster has been preserved.

List Of The Killed.— Jeremiah Bamberger ; John Anders and wife; Frederick Bretz, wife and three children; (two children belonging to this family were saved ;) Mr. Keller, wife and three children ; a lady, name unknown; a man, wife and six children, names unknown ; three children of Mr. Waggoner ; two German deck passengers; and a family, consisting of two men, two women, and four children.

Wounded.—John Bamberger; Levi Yerdz; Miss Yerdz ; and three or four others, names unknown.

A brave little boy, twelve years old, leaped into the river, and while swimming to the shore, saw his mother on board, overburdened with two small children, and trying to make her escape. He made her understand by gestures, that he wished her to throw one of the children into the water. She did so, and he swam with it to the shore. The mother escaped with the other child, and thus the whole family was saved. Several other families were less fortunate. A Mr. Waggoner, one of the passengers, was accompanied by his wife and eight children. Three of the children were drowned. Mr. Waggoner was emigrating to Iowa, having with him money, with which he intended to purchase land ; but every dollar of it was lost. About fifty German Moravians, some of them with families, were on board. Many of these people perished in the flames, or in the water.


On Saturday, March 31, 1849, at 5 o'clock, p. m., the steamer Virginia, plying as a daily packet between Wheeling, Va., and Steubenville, Ohio, was torn into pieces and sunk by the explosion of her boilers, at Rush Creek, ten miles above Wheeling. Eight or ten lives were lost, and about fourteen persons were wounded. The explosion took place when the boat was about to land a passenger, Mr. Roe, who was killed. As almost the whole of the upper part of the boat was reduced to fragments, and the hull sunk immediately, there can be no doubt that all of the crew and passengers who were missing, perished in the wreck.

List Of Killed.—Mr. Roe, Rush Creek ; the chambermaid of the boat; William Ebert, Wheeling, Va. ; a colored fireman, and eight or ten others, names unknown.

Badly Wounded.—Mr. Boles and lady, Steubenville, Ohio; Mr. Collins, the pilot, one leg broken and otherwise badly injured; Henry Commons, Birmingham, Alleghany county, Pa.; John Taylor, first engineer, Wheeling, Va.; W. Barker, St. Louis ; W. Althouse, Wheeling; the carpenter of the boat; James Zink, a boy, and A. Snyder, (both legs torn off,) Wheeling; and Mr. Atchison, Steubenville.

Slightly Wounded.—Mrs. E. Coen, Wheeling; Capt. Dawson, Richetown; Mr. Beaty, Steubenville ; and Mr. Burgess and lady, West Springfield, Ill.

Mr. Roe, the passenger who was going on shore at the time of the explosion, was on the plank, and was cut in three pieces by fragments of the boiler.


This was an old boat employed in the transportation of hogs from Lawrenceburg to Cincinnati. On the 21st of December, 1853, she was towing two barges laden with hogs, and there were about three hundred of the same kind of animals on the deck of the steamer, abaft the engine. About day break, on the day aforesaid, when the boat was within ten miles of Cincinnati, one of the flues of the larboard boiler collapsed, projecting columns of steam and scalding water fore and aft, killing three of the boat's crew instantly, and scalding five others. The three men who were killed were lying asleep in front of the fire.

The first engineer, Moses Smith, was scalded in the face. The second engineer, John Everhart, was more seriously injured. Captain Prettyman had passed by the boiler a moment before the collapse. The hot water thrown back among the swine scalded many of them so severely that they jumped overboard.

There were thirty-five passengers on board, not one of whom was hurt. One of the deck hands who were killed was named Boyle; the names of the other two are not given.


On Saturday night, January 28, 1854, the steamboat Georgia was burnt on Alabama river, between Montgomery and Mobile. She had two hundred and thirty passengers on board, thirty or forty of whom are believed to have perished. When the fire was discovered, the boat was run ashore as speedily as possible. The scene which followed was one of indescribable confusion. One who saw it declares that women and children were " pitched on to the shore like logs of wood ;" the necessity of getting them out of the burning boat with the greatest despatch seemed to require such rough and unceremonious handling. Several who were thus thrown out of the boat fell into the water and were drowned, and others struck the ground with such violence as to cause serious injuries. Mr. Jackson, of Barbour county, Ala., and one of his children, were lost. His widow and eight surviving children, who were on board with him, were left at Mobile, in destitute circumstances. Mr. Jackson had on his person checks or drafts to a considerable amount, which were also lost. Mr. Jolley and his family, of Randolph county, Georgia, were on the boat. The wife of this gentleman and one of his children were drowned. He lost besides, $900 in specie, and was left penniless. B. F. Lofton, of Lenoir county, N. C., lost two slaves. Rev. J. M. Carter, of Clinton, Ga., lost three negroes. His wife was badly burned. Dr. J. M. Young,' of Hancock, Ga., lost a valuable slave, all his medical books, surgical instruments, and everything, in short, except the clothing which he wore at the time of the disaster.

 Mrs. Davidson, from Macon county, Ala., lost several negroes. Mr. Graham, from Williamsburg, S. C., lost two negroes and $500 in gold. Thos. J. McLanathan, of Bristol, Conn., was drowned. A gentleman from Stewart county, Ga., lost several slaves. A woman who fell or leaped from the cabin floor to the main deck was caught on the horns of an infuriated ox, and thereby received several severe wounds, but the animal threw her into the water and she was saved. A father, who had rescued his wife and six children, went back into the blazing wreck, hoping to save the seventh, but lost his own life. A young man who had escaped to the shore, returned to the boat to bring away his sister, but he was seen to fall into the blazing hull, from which he never emerged. Another man saved three of his children, but his wife and six other children were consumed on this funeral pyre.

A young man, who had lost his wife in the wreck, sat on the wharf to all appearance an indifferent spectator of the frightful scene. It appeared afterwards that his grief had reduced him to melancholy madness, or idiotic apathy. Another young man who had seen his father and mother perish in the boat, loudly lamented the loss of $1,000 which the old gentleman had deposited in the safe. This bereavement seemed to be the only one which occupied his thoughts. W. B; Rhenn, of Newbern, N. C., saved himself, his wife, and his five children, but lost nine slaves.

Of the forty persons who perished in this conflagration, twenty-two were negroes belonging to the cabin passengers, and more than half of the others were children. From the moment the flames broke out until the fate of each person on board, for life or death, was decided, only three minutes elapsed; so quick was the work of destruction. Nearly all of the passengers were dressed, only two or three having retired to their berths. It was a fortunate circumstance that so many of the passengers were awake, otherwise the loss of life would have been still greater. Some were kept up by a desire to see the various landing places, and others were listening to the music of a violin which-a young man was playing in the cabin.


The fine steamer G. P. Griffith took fire on Lake Erie, about twenty miles below Cleveland, and was burnt to the water's edge, on June 17, 1850. The passengers were all in their berths when the alarm of fire was given, about three o'clock in the morning. The day had just begun to dawn, and the shore was in sight. At first very little alarm was felt on board, as the boat was rapidly approaching the shore, to which her head had been directed. But alas ! the prospect of speedy deliverance soon vanished, and every heart was chilled with terror when the steamer, while yet half a mile from land, struck on a sandbar and became immovable.

" Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell,
Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the brave."

Many of the passengers then plunged madly into the lake, and few of these were saved. The scene on the burning vessel is represented as one which would have agonized any spectator who had no personal interest in the event. What must it have been to those whose lives, and lives even dearer than their own, were subject to the contingencies of a moment ? The consternation of all on board may be estimated from the fact that scarcely any of the survivors were able to give a lucid account of the catastrophe. There were three hundred and twenty-six persons on the boat; of these, only about thirty, who were able to swim ashore, were saved. Every child perished, and every woman except one, the wife of the barber. One of the passengers, a Mr. Parkes, had secured a piece of the wreck, which was barely sufficient to support him on the surface, and he was reduced to the horrible necessity of pushing others away when they attempted tp sustain themselves on the same fragment. He saw scores of people sinking around him, and heard many a voice exclaiming in piteous accents, " Save me ! save me !" But who can be humane at such a moment? Who can feel pity for others, when his own life is exposed to the most imminent peril ? Mr. Parkes says, that for a moment he felt like "giving up," and dying with his fellow passengers. But the instinct of self preservation was too strong for the emotions of sympathy. Soon he found himself almost solitary on the bosom of the lake. Most of the struggling people had disappeared, their wild supplications for aid had ceased and nothing was heard except the sullen sound of the waters as they beat against the charred hull of the steamer.

One of the passengers gives the following account of his escape. He was aroused from his slumber by the cries of fire and the screams of women and children. When he reached the deck he found that the boat was about three miles from land. The second mate gave orders for the boat to be steered towards the shore. She reached the bar half a mile from land, before the flames had made much progress; but as soon as the steamer grounded on that bar, the fire spread with appalling rapidity. One of the officers directed the passengers to save themselves, but did not point out any means of escape. Many of the passengers threw themselves overboard. The narrator says they leaped out of the boat in crowds, twenty at a time. The Captain remained on the upper deck, near his state room, forward of the wheelhouse. When nearly all the passengers had jumped overboard to escape from the flames, the Captain threw his mother, his wife and child, and the barber's wife into the lake, and then plunged in himself. He remained a moment on the surface with his wife in his arms, and then both sunk together. The passenger who tells this story saved himself on a small piece of plank, supported by which he contrived to reach the shore.

The books of the boat were lost, therefore the names of very few of the victims can be given. But it  is known that the loss of life was greater than in any previous disaster on the lake, except only in the case of the steamer Erie. One hundred and fifty-four dead bodies were recovered, and probably from thirty to fifty more remained at the bottom of the lake. The scene on the shore, after the awful tragedy was finished, was melancholy in the extreme. One hundred and fifty dead bodies were strewn along the beach. Boats had been employed in dragging for them at the spot where the wreck lay. A long trench was dug on the shore, and here the greater number of the dead were interred, unshrouded and uncoffined, and many of them unknown.

List Of Killed.—William Daley ; Capt. C. C. Roby, wife, mother and two children ; Mrs. Wilkinson; Horace Palmer ; Richard Palmer ; Charles Brown ; Theodore Gilman ; Richard Mann ; W.'P. Tinkham and his two children ; Daniel, a colored waiter ; Hugh McLair; George Wilmen ; P. Keeler; Mrs. Heth and Francis Heth and their four children ; M. June ; W. Tillman ; A Ferguson; J. R. Manson ; Thomas Wild; an unknown man, on whose person was found one thousand one hundred and sixty dollars; J. Marsh; another stranger, whose clothes were marked with the initials F. P. ; Francis Huile; a great many English, Irish, and German emigrants, of whom only one, Robert Hall, was saved. Mr. Hall lost his wife and four children, his mother, two sisters and two brothers. Mrs. Walker and child ; Selina Moony; and others not identified.

Henry Wilkinson, the clerk of the Griffith, swam ashore by supporting his chin on a piece of firewood. When about to leave the wreck, he first threw his mother and little niece overboard, and endeavored to save them, but was unable to do so, being nearly drowned in the attempt.


Only those persons who have witnessed the devastation of a western flood can form any idea of the terrific nature of such a disaster. Sometimes the whole country, as far as eye can reach, is under water ,  while the strength of the current sweeps everything before it. In the year 1786, the Ohio river rose fifty-nine feet above low-water mark. As the surrounding country was but sparsely inhabited at that time, the damage done by this flood was comparatively trivial. In 1792 the Ohio rose 63 feet above low-water mark four feet higher than the flood of 1786.

On the 11th of November, 1810, there was a great flood at Pittsburg. A brig which had been built at Plumb Creek, near that city, and which was ready to be launched, was floated off her ways by this freshet, so that the common process of launching was unnecessary. Fortunately the vessel was secured and made fast, or she would probably have made a long voyage down the river, without the usual equipments.

June 2, 1826, the Mississippi was three feet higher at St. Louis than it had been within the preceding forty years. It was up to Main street in that city houses were swept away, and a vast amount of property was destroyed.

July 14, 1828, there was an extraordinary rise in the Ohio river, supposed to be as great as that of 1792. It carried desolation into the lower part of Wheeling,which was covered with water to the depth of six feet. There was a vast amount of property destroyed along the river.

In 1836 the Mississippi rose fifty-four feet above low-water mark, being nine feet ten inches higher than it was in the flood of 1810.

i In 1844 the houses at Cairo, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi, were nearly submerged. The swollen rivers were fourteen miles wide between the opposite shores of Kentucky and Missouri. Moveable property of every kind, fences, cattle, lumber, furniture, and entire houses, (wooden ones, of course,) were floated down the Mississippi and other rivers.

A building was seen driving down the Mississippi, while several persons from the windows were calling for assistance, which, on account of the torrent-like velocity of the stream, could not be afforded them. Many lives were lost, and the amount of property destroyed by this flood is beyond all estimate. Many drowning people and dead bodies floated down the Mississippi. A house, with a whole family inside of it, went over the Falls of Ohio. Boats passed over fields and plantations, far beyond the usual limits of the river, and took the frightened 17 "  , inhabitant  from the upper stories and roofs of their houses, to which they had been driven for refuge from the water. The levees or embankments made at different places, as defences against the river, were broken through. It is believed that more than four hundred human beings perished in this flood.

Red River was higher in January of this year than ever it was before, within the recollection of man, and higher than ever it has been since. All the lands in the immediate neighborhood of that river were desolated, and every vestige of cultivation was destroyed. In June of this year, the Mississippi, at St. Louis, was eleven miles wide, and was on a level with the second story windows of the houses on the levee at that city. Many houses were swept away and great numbers of cattle were drowned. The loss of property was immense. An obelisk about twenty feet high has been erected on the levee below Market street, St. Louis, to designate the height of the water at the time of this flood.

In March, 1849, the water was ten feet deep in some of the streets of New Orleans. This was the most destructive flood that ever visited that city. The plantations above were overflowed, and the rush of the water over the fields, in some places, was perfectly irresistible, carrying away everything which opposed the current, which was believed to move at the rate of sixty miles per hour. The damage sustained by planters and others was estimated at $60,000,000.

In April, 1852, the Ohio, at Wheeling and Pittsburgh, rose as high as it did in 1832. There was a great destruction of property along the river, and many lives were lost.


The disaster about to be related, took place on Arkansas river, ten miles below Dardanella, on the 14th day of March, 1852. While rounding out from a wood-yard, she collapsed both flues of her middle boiler, blowing out principally aft. Eighteen persons were scalded, of whom eight died before eleven o'clock on the following morning. The boat took fire immediately after the explosion, but was saved by the strenuous exertions of the officers and crew, assisted by the passengers.

Killed.—Wm. Pettit, second engineer, Quincy, Ill.; Michael Maguire, fireman, Ireland; Henry Cook, first cook, Missouri; Lavinia Barker, Simon Barker and Mourning Barker, passengers, of Indiana ; Joseph and John A. McDonald, passengers.

Scalded.—Wm. Sanford, (badly,) third engineer, St. Louis; Wm. Blythe, fireman, Ireland; Wm. Morgan, deck hand, New Orleans; Matilda Housely, passenger, Indiana; Thomas Barker, infant, (badly,) Indiana; W. J. McDonald and son, Susan McDonald, and Amanda Housely, of Indiana, passengers, and the first engineer.




Part Four



 Part Two

 Part Three

Part Four