Cape Girardeau, IL Steamer SEA BIRD Explodes, Jan 1848


The St. Louis Republican, of the 8th, says that the steamer Declaration arrived at this port yesterday from the Ohio, bringing the first news of the burning of the steamer SEA BIRD, at Cape Girardeau, and of the explosion of twelve hundred kegs of powder, stowed in the hold of that vessel. The following particulars are contained in a slip from the Cape Girardeau Eagle:
The steamer SEA BIRD arrived here last Sunday morning, from New Orleans. After putting out a parcel of freight, and finding the water too low to proceed on her trip to St. Louis, she dropped down about half a mile below the landing, and tied up, intending to wait for a rise. She had a large lot of freight on board, including between eleven and twelve hundred kegs of powder. About 3 o'clock last night there was an alarm of fire. It was soon ascertained that the SEA BIRD was burning. It commenced in the ladies' cabin, and had made such headway that it was found impossible to arrest them. An attempt to scuttle her proved unsuccessful. Capt. McMURTRY and some of his hands started off to apprise the citizens in the vicinity of their danger, and secure their own safety. About an hour after the fire commenced, the powder exploded, causing the most tremendous and terrific noise that was ever heard in this section of country.
The concussion caused an almost universal jarring of houses and crashing of windows -- causing many who were unacquainted with the cause, to conclude that it was a terrible earthquake, and others supposed that the day of judgement had come certain. The damage done to windows and doors of houses, in many instances is immense.

The Liberty Weekly Tribune Missouri 1848-01-14