New Orleans, LA Steamboat KNOXVILLE Explosion, Dec 1850

Steamboat Knoxville Explosion Dec 1850


On the [illegible] day of December, 1850, the steamboat Knoxville exploded [illegible] New Orleans, just as she was leaving the wharf at the foot [illegible]. The flues of both boilers collapsed, tearing all the [illegible] of the wheel-house to pieces. One of the boilers was projected through the guards of the steamer Martha Washington, which was lying at the same wharf, passing entirely through the cabin of that vessel and entering the ladies' cabin of the Griffin Greatman. Another boiler was carried by the force of the explosion one hundred and fifty yards across the levee, knocking down two large piles of flour barrels ; but, happily, no person was injured in its transit, although it passed over the heads of a crowd of people standing on the wharf. An iron chest was blown high in the air, and fell on the steamboat Buck-eye, lying at considerable distance below. The steamboat Ne-Plus-Ultra, which lay near the Knoxville, was much shattered ; and the commander, Capt. Robinson, was badly scalded. The Knoxville took fire, but by the prompt assistance of the firemen of New Orleans the flames were extinguished. There were eighteen passengers on the boat at the time of the accident, a majority of whom were killed or missing. The Martha Washington, which lay nearly in contact with the Knoxville, was much damaged, all her upper works being swept away. We subjoin a fist of the killed and wounded among the boat's crew; the names of those passengers who suffered were never ascertained, but their number is estimated to be not less than sixteen.

KILLED.— William Dowdy, second engineer ; the bar-keeper and third engineer, names not mentioned, and sixteen passengers.

WOUNDED.— Capt. Irvin ; Abraham Young and Henry Turner, cooks ; B. H. Franklin and William Henry, pilots ; Patrick Conelly, J. Collins, John Burke, Peter Millen, John Burns and Patrick Cannon, firemen ; George Stackhouse ; George Oldham ; James Johnston, first engineer ; William Bowen, clerk ; and the bar-keeper of the Martha Washington.

Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters, Cincinnati, Ohio; James T. Lloyd & Co, 1856, pages 158-159