New Orleans, LA Explosion of the Tow-Boat PILOT, Mar 1845


The steam tow-boat Pilot, Capt. Brown, bursted all her boilers, on March 14th, 1845, a short distance below New Orleans, while engaged in towing the brig Pioneer up to that city.

Some fragments of the boat were thrown into the air with such force as to carry away the top-gallant mast and fore top-gallant yard of the Pioneer.

LIST OF KILLED.—William B. Fagan, first engineer ; Mr. Barry, a passenger ; Mr. Davis, steersman ; and a fireman, name not mentioned.

WOUNDED.—William Webster, branch pilot ; William Reilly, second engineer ; Capt. Brown ; three deck-hands and four firemen.

Capt. Brown was thrown off the vessel by the concussion and was taken out of the water by the crew of the brig.

Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters, Cincinnati, Ohio; James T. Lloyd & Co, 1856, page 261


The Pilot Explosion FACTS

I just discovered a discrepancy between the "original" reporting of this accident and more recent posts. It appears that the change of story might be due to the publisher at the time (1856). You can find the story at:

This is not my cup of tea. I only discovered this while I was looking for my ancestors. Lathrop G Bean, 2nd Engineer, was injured during this explosion. As you can see, his name was omitted from Lloyd's reporting.