Washington, DC Storm and Flood, Oct 1869


Overflow of the River and Canal---One Man Drowned.

WASHINGTON, Oct 4.---The heavy storm which prevailed yesterday did much damage. The rain was unprecedented for its violence. The canals backs were overflowed and the lower stories of the houses adjoining were flooded. The bridges over the canal and elsewhere in the city were washed away, and several new houses damaged, owing to undermining by the water. The sewers were also injured, and in several cases the ground caved in. The effects of the storm are seen in all directions. About midnight the whole reserve force of the Seventh Precinct Police was called out to go to the assistance of the families in Purdy's-court, near Pennsylvania avenue and First-street; the Tiber having overflowed into the court, and to rescue some of the women and children, the officers were obliged to wade in the water up to their necks. The families were carried to places of safety, and in one or two instances the removal was extremely hazardous. None of the houses were floated off; but some few articles of furniture were carried away by the flood. The shanties boarding the Tiber, back of the railroad station, were overflowed, but the inmates, mostly colored people, got away with their furniture. Three coffins were washed down the Tiber and lodged near Adams Express office, opposite the station. They probably were washed from some burial place.

There was much damaged in Georgetown. Among the many occurrences a sewer broke loose, the water tearing and washing the street to a considerable distance. Owing to the rise in the Potomac River the merchants on Water-street to-day removed their goods out of reach of the water, in case the flood from the Upper Potomac should be heavy. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal broke just above the Cabin John culvert, and the steam packet that started up this morning was obliged to return to Georgetown. The steamer Pioneer, Captain Cathcart, ran ashore above the Aqueduct Bridge, and is leaking badly. This is a coalboat running on the Philadelphia line.

The New-York train, due here at an early hour this morning, did not arrive until 9 o'clock in consequence of a few feet of the track near the Gunpowder River having been washed away, and a detention in Baltimore because of the Pratt-street Bridge being thought unsafe. The engineer discovered the gap near the Gunpowder River just in time to prevent a serious accident, and the damage was soon repaired.

The New York Times, New York, NY 10 Oct 1869