St. George's, DE Train Through Drawbridge, Jan 1862



From the Philadelphia Ledger, Jan. 16.
A most fearful railroad accident occurred early yesterday morning, on the Delaware Railroad, just where the track crosses the canal, near St. George's station, by which seven persons lost their lives, and fifteen were more or less injured. A wood train, consisting of thirteen platform cars, empty, and one old passenger, in which the conductor, MR. ALBERT BUTLER, and some twenty laborers were seated, went down the Delaware road for a load of wood. When the train reached the high bridge which spans the canal, near the St. George's station, the draw of the bridge was discovered to be open; but the discovery came too late to stop the train, the ice on the road preventing it, and it was precipitated into the canal, a distance of about sixty feet. Car upon car were piled in pieces upon each other, crushing a number of persons. The conductor, MR. BUTLER, was, fortunately, standing outside of the car, and seeing the train was about to made the fearful plunge, jumped off and escaped; but he had no time to warn the workmen in the car, and the entire number were soon mixed with the ruins in the canal. The engineer of the train, JOSIAH ANDERSON, was killed instantly, as well as the fireman, EDWARD MENAM.
The noise made by the breaking of the cars soon attracted the citizens of that vicinity and persons engaged upon the canal, and a dispatch was sent to Wilmington and Newcastle for assistance. THe citizens assembled rendered every assistance in their power to rescue the unfortunate men that were still alive amid the wreck, and also to secure the remains of those who had been killed. In a short time the bodies of the engineer, fireman and the following were got out: WM. McELWEE, WM. MENAM, JOSEPH DOLAN, NATHANIEL SHAY and JOSEPH GRIFFINS. The remains of these unfortunate men were taken to Newcastle, where most of them resided.
The citizens worked with a will, and soon fifteen of the sufferers were rescued, some with slight wounds, notwithstanding the fearful character of the accident, and others were very dangerously injured. These were taken to Wilmington, and immediately placed under the care of a numerous corps of physicians and nurses. We were unable to obtain the names of the wounded men.
MR. ANDERSON, the engineer, has been in the employ of the P. W. & B. R. R. Co. since 1836, and was always considered the most careful and reliable man engaged upon the road. He resided in Wilmington, where he leaves a wife and three children. One of his sons was in the employ of the P. W. & B. R. R. Co., and was attending to his duties in the freight office at Broad street and Washington avenue, when the notice of the accident was sent to the city.
The fireman, and most of the others killed were, we understand, married men, and have for several years been in the employ of the Delaware Railroad Company.
A force was sent from Wilmington to get the road in order for the regular travel, and a scow was sent from Chesapeake City to assist in raising the locomotive and removing the wrecked cars. It was expected that the regular train, later in the day, would be able to pass over, as the bridge was but little injured.

The New York Times New York 1862-01-17