Atchafalagar River, LA Steamer CHARMER Burned, Jan 1880



The steamer Charmer, belonging to the New Orleans and Red River transportation company was totally destroyed by fire on Sunday last about five miles above the mouth of the Atchafalagar. The Charmer was owned by Capt. NOAH SCOVELL, CHAS. P. TRUSLOW and CHAS. W. DOWN, and was built by the Hoeards, at Jeffersonville, last summer. The boat was valued at $35,000, and was insured in Cincinnati for $18,000. The steamer at the time of the accident had on board a cargo of 2,105 bales of cotton, sixty barrels of molasses, with a lot of sundries, all of which were destroyed. The fire was first perceived in the bursting out of flames beneath the second tier of cotton, and in a moment after the whole boat was one sheet of flame. Although the steamer was fitted out with all the appliances necessary for safety in time of disaster, the speed of the fire was so rapid that there was no time allowed to apply them. MR. W. H. ATKINSON, the pilot on duty at the time the accident occurred, stood at his post and headed the boat for the shore. But for his coolness and bravery the loss of life would have been very great, there being 104 persons aboard. When the boat neared the shore the planks were immediately shoved out, yet such was the heat of the fire and the haste of those aboard to save themselves that many jumped into the water, and a few of these, fortunately, succeeded in reaching the shore in safety. Two passengers were badly hurt by falling on the staging in the desperate efforts they made to save their lives. All the passengers, among whom was one lady, were saved. Eight of the crew were lost. A portion of the valuable letters were saved, but the boat lost all of her money and books. One of the chambermaids who was lost went back to save $60 which she had left in her room, and was seen no more.
The value of the cargo of the ill-fated boat is put down at $120,000, all covered by insurance in various companies.

Lancaster Daily Intelligencer Pennsylvania 1880-01-28