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Steamboat Accidents on the Mississippi River

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by

Sara Mayer

on 28 January 2013

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Transcript of Steamboat Accidents on the Mississippi River

Steamboat Accidents on the Mississippi River Background Information For the first two-thirds of the 19th century, steam boating was the most popular mode of transportation
Accidents on steamboats were usually caused by pressure building up in the boilers on the ship
These boilers were usually located deep within the belly of the boat, so when they exploded, they caused the wooden ship to either break apart or start on fire 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 May 5, 1825 - Teche,
Killed 20

Boilers Exploded April 27, 1865 - SS Sultana 3 of the 4 boilers exploded
Happened about 7 miles north of Memphis Legally registered to carry 376 passengers
Exploded while carrying 2,300 just released Union prisoners of war
Killed 1,700 Though the explosion was the biggest maritime disaster in US history, including wartime disasters, it was pushed to the back pages of the newspaper because it was overshadowed by the end of the Civil War and assassination of President Lincoln. It even killed more people than the sinking of the Titanic. June 18, 1858 -SS Pennsylvania All four boilers exploded
The Engineer tasked with keeping an eye on the boilers was away from his post, allegedly in the company of some female passengers
Exploded 75 miles south of Memphis, near a place called Ship Island
Was carrying 450, killed 250 Connections to Mark Twain
Sam Clemens was a cub pilot on the Pennsylvania from September 27, 1857 to June 5, 1858, leaving right before it exploded
Mark Twain's brother was working on the ship at the time it exploded, and died from burn wounds he received
Mark Twain never got over this because he blamed himself for his brother's death April 9th, 1852 - Saluda Happened on Good Friday next to Lexington, Missouri
One leg of the journey to take 176 converted Mormons and gold seekers from New Orleans to Utah and California
Saluda was 6 years old, older than most other steamboats, and had been sunk a few times
Couldn't get around the bend in the river north of Lexington Captain ordered boilers at full pressure
Saluda couldn't handle it and exploded while still in port
Sent bodies flying over the town
Killed passengers and bystanders
Only about 50 passengers lived April 21, 1838 - Oronoko Docked in Mississippi about 100 miles above the town of Vicksburg
The ship's flues collapsed soon after the boat stopped
Sent passengers and crew members flying overboard into the river
Sent mass amounts of steam to all parts of the ship with great force Most of the passengers were asleep at the time
Killed almost everyone either instantly or later from wounds it caused
109 people died Ambrose, Stephen. "Disaster on the Mississippi: The Sultana Tragedy." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 1 May 2001. Web. 25 Jan. 2013.
"The Explosion of the Steamboat Pennsylvania and the Missing Engineer." TRIPS INTO HISTORY Visit Historic Sites. N.p., 21 Jan. 2012. Web. 25 Jan. 2013.
Lienhard, John H. "The Saluda Explosion." No. 2512: The Saluda Explosion. University of Houston, 2009. Web. 25 Jan. 2013.
Easley, Tina. "Steamboat Disasters." Steamboat Disasters. Genealogy Trails History Group, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2013.
Debow, J. D.B. "Steamboat Explosions in the West." Loss of the Sultana - Steamboat Explosions in the West. N.p., 25 May 2006. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. Works Cited January 3, 1844 - Shepherdess Was traveling to St. Louis when it hit a snag and had several planks torn from the bottom of the boat
Water was rising rapidly in lower parts of the boat where many passengers were sleeping
The ship started hitting other snags and lurching side to side Eventually the boat split in two and settled at different parts of the river
Some passengers saved themselves by getting on the life boat that was let loose in the river
Many others were thrown off the boat, some managed to swim to shore, most drowned
Was carrying 250 passengers, 100 died in the accident June 9, 1836 - Rob Joy
Killed 20

Boilers Exploded August 9, 1848 - Edward Bates
Killed 53

Flues collapsed September 16, 1848 - Concordia
Killed 28

Boilers Exploded March 13, 1854 - Raindeer
Killed 40

Flues collapsed February 27, 1859 - Princess
Killed 70

Boilers Exploded
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