Tupelo, MS Train Wreck, Jun 1898



One Section of His Train Crashes Into the Rear of Another in Mississippi - Fifteen Persons Injured.

Denver, June 26. -- A special from Tupelo, Mississippi, to the Republican, says:
Section 1 of the Torrey train pulled in here about 3 p. m. this afternoon. While watering at the station section 2 come in behind running at least twenty miles an hour.

Your correspondent was in the last or headquarters car and heard a man yell to jump. I looked out of the window and saw a man waving a handkerchief frantically, but there was no appearance of slowing down on the part of the coming train. In the car at the time were MAJOR HARBERD, SURGEON MAJOR JESURUN, CAPTAIN GOLDEN, chaplain, and JAMES McGILL. We all ran for the door and jumped.

There was a deafening crash and the engine almost disappeared under the headquarters car. COLONEL TORREY was in the last room of the last car and was caught in the wreck, but had a miraculous escape. He was carried about 300 feet among a pile of breaking wood and glass. Fortunately the smashing timbers closed only around his feet, leaving his head clear. Finally he was thrown out and escaped with only a few scratches on his head. His feet were crushed, but not seriously.
Two cars ahead of the headquarters Pullman was a tourist sleeper with Troop C. Immediately that the engine struck the train this car telescoped with the one ahead, and went in like a house of cards.

The chief fatalities occurred in a coach which stood in the center of the first section, which carried Troop C, from Laramie, Wyoming. This coach was completely telescoped and the soldiers within were jammed and bruised beneath masses of timbers, broken car seats and other debris.

Those killed are:
GORDON, colored porter.

The Associated Press also places among the dead PRIVATE GIMMER, Troop L, head crushed.

The wounded are:
HENRY S. MAPES, both legs cut off, internal injuries, will die.
B. D. STAILEY, M troop, dislocated elbow.
E. PERKINS, L troop, both hips jammed.
WALLACE D. HODGE, G troop, ankle broken.
GEORGE GARNER, C troop, hip hurt.
J. H. FARR, C troop, both legs hurt.
RUDOLPH WIDEMAR, officers cook, back strained.
HIRAM F. DAVIS, C troop, ankle sprained.
HENRY STELTZ, C troop, leg broken.
WILL GROSVENOR, C troop, leg bruised.
JOSEPH AARON, C troop, back injured slightly.
W. H. ROBINSON, A troop, ankle dislocated.
ARTHUR EVANS, E troop, hip dislocated.
JOSEPH WILKINSON, E troop, slightly injured. This man had his trumpet on his arm. The trumpet was crushed, but the man escaped with a few punctures.
SCHENCK, C troop, leg badly bruised.

Almost before the crashing noise of the colliding trains had ceased the soldiers commenced the work of rescuing their imprisoned comrades. They worked like demons tearing away the wreckage to get at the wounded and dead, and quench the fire which had started in the sleeper Seville, which was a mass of broken wreckage, covering a steaming, hissing engine.

WILLIAM R. WALLACE and SAM JOHNSON, both privates in troop C, were taken out dead. CORNELIUS LENTHAN of the same troop was alive when found, but died a few hours afterwards. The colored porter, GORDON, of the car Granby, was found pinned down between wreckage, When finally freed from the broken timbers, it was found that his two legs were broken and he had received internal injuries. He died in a few minutes.

In the second section a baggage car was crushed out and fell at right angles to the track. In this car SERGEANT HODGE of troop G had his ankle broken.

The engine and about five cars were completely wrecked.

The people of Tupelo showed every attention. All the doctors in town assisted Surgeon Major Jesurun. Houses were thrown open for the wounded. Finally all the injured were taken to the Methodist church and a store on the main street where a temporary hospital was set up. The ladies of the town waited on the wounded soldiers.

Where the blame attaches it is impossible to say, but somebody blundered and a searching inquiry will be made. Colonel TORREY is, as he says himself, on his back, but still in command. A surgeon and a hospital steward will be left in charge of the wounded with a detail of troopers.

Engineer RAWLS of the second section was seen to-night but was unable to talk. He received internal injuries that have caused several hemorrhages.

Not a horse was injured, although several of the stock cars were badly wrecked.

New Castle Nonpareil Colorado 1898-06-30