New Orleans, LA Steamer MARQUETTE Explosion, July 1845

Louisville Morning Courier and American Democrat newspaper, Louisville, KY 1844-1846
Thursday 10 July 1845


We copy the following particulars of a dreadful steamboat explosion, from the New Orleans Bee of the 2d inst.:

Yesterday afternoon, about 4 o'clock, as the steamer Marquette, Capt. E. A. Turpin, bound for Cincinnati, was leaving the Levee, at the foot of Gravier Street, both of her boilers bursted, with a tremendous report, tearing into fragments her boiler deck, and cabin as far aft as the wheel-house on the larboard(sic)side, and throwing her chimneys into the river, and blowing into the air her boilers and every thing above them, and killing and wounding between 30 and 40 of the passengers and crew. Immediately after the explosion, the boat sunk to her guards at the bow, and over the floor of the ladies' cabin at the stern. At the moment of the explosion, Capt. Turpin had just given the word to go-ahead, and was walking aft on the hurricane deck to see that her stern was clear, when after one or two revolutions of the wheels he was thrown about ten feet in the air, and fell on the deck about the same distance aft, escaping with a slight bruise on the leg.

The pilot at the wheel, Mr. Ostander, was blown, it is stated, over 100 feet in the air, and fell upon the deck of the steamer Yazoo City, lying alongside, at the Levee, dislocating one of his hipjoints.

The number of persons standing on the boiler deck is variously estimated at from 10 to 15, among whom were several cabin passengers - they were all blown to the height of 150 or 200 feet in the air, some with their limbs rent asunder, and all of them falling into the river without exhibiting any signs of life, and sinking to the bottom instantly. The clerk and bar-keeper were in their rooms, which were blown overboard - their bodies have not yet been discovered.

The number of deck passengers and of the crew killed, wounded and missing, is, as near as we can ascertain, between 25 and 30. The scene presented on the lower deck was of the most heart-rending description. In one place laid a body with a head severed from it, another with both legs torn off above the knees; some frightful wounds and gashes upon their heads and limbs - others without scarcely a particle of skin upon their bodies, form the effects of the steam and scalding water. A lad of some 15 years of age, was thrown upon the Levee with both legs broken and badly scalded. A deck hand, by the name of JAMES COLEMAN, was also thrown upon the Levee with both legs blown off, and expired in a few moments.

As soon as was practicable, boats were taken alongside of the wreck and the surviving passengers brought on shore, and the wounded sufferers went to the Charity Hospital.

The following, as far as we could learn, is a list of those dead, missing and wounded.


SAMUEL HAYS, first engineer, (died upon arrival at the Hospital)
JAMES COLEMAN, deck hand, (both legs blown off)
a white man, (name unknown) whose head was completely severed from his body
a man (name unknown) who died on his way to the Hospital
a deck hand,name unknown