St. Louis, MO City and 23 Steamboats Burn, May 1849


From the St. Louis Union.
23 Steamboats Burned !


Five Millions of Property Destroyed !!!

About ten o'clock last night, the steamer White Cloud lying near the head of the levee, was discovered to be on fire. At the time, there was a stiff breeze blowing from the north east, which soon carried the flames across to the Edward Bates, the next boat below, the heat from these, set fire to the Eudora, lying above them; the Belle Isle, next below the Bates, then caught fire. By this time, one or two boats below were dropped down, leaving a vacancy between those on fire and the boats below them.
At this time the Edward Bates being about half burnt up, was cast loose and went floating down the levee, setting fire to those boats still lying at the levee, as she approached them, in the following order: -- The Julia - but slightly injured; the Uncle Sam, also but slightly injured. The Bates but barely touched these boats, being those immediately below her. The following steamboats, with a large number of wood-boats, barges, &c., &c., were entirely consumed: -- The Martha, Sarah, Tagliona, Montauk, Red Wing, Alexander Hamilton, Boreas No. 3, Timour, Mandan, St. Peters, Kit Carson, Mameluke, Prairie State.
We do not presume that this comprises all the boats destroyed, but these are all the names we were able to get hold of.
So intense was the heat arising from this great conflagration, which extended with short intervals from the head of the levee to the head of Duncan's Island, that it set fire the buildings at various points along the levee, all of which above Vine street were extinguished but a row of shanties extending from Locust up towards Vine street was destroyed, and now, while we are writing, one o'clock this morning, the entire block bounded by the levee, Main, Olive, and Locust streets, is wrapped in flames, as are those houses in the square fronting the levee between Pine and Olive streets.