Chickamauga River, TN Railroad Accident, Sept 1852


The following account of the recent accident on the Atlantic and Western Railroad is from the Christian Telegraph, and is the most complete we have seen:
A fearful catastrophe occurred on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, usually known as the State Road, on Thursday night, Sept. 23. The up train had been detained by some defect in the engine, and this threw her behind her time, but proceeding on after night, which was quite dark from its being very thick, cloudy, and raining, till near one of the Chickamauga bridges, the engine was thrown from the track by a large ox which was lying down on the road. The engine entered the bridge off the track, and tore it up, so as to let the engine, tender, and baggage-car fall through. The wood-passer and fireman were killed. The latter had one leg torn from his body to the hip joint, and we have not heard that his leg has yet been found -- he died directly.
The former was caught between the boiler and fender, with the lower part of his legs and feet fastened against the burning boiler, where he remained for several hours, attempts to relieve him proving abortive till a physician was obtained, and cut off his legs, when he soon after expired. The poor fellow begged them to cut off his legs, but no one seemed to have fortitude enough to do it. The engineer escaped, being badly scalded, but it is thought he will recover. He jumped from the engine as she went down, swam the river, and was found quite irrational some distance from the bridge on the road.
MR. THOMAS B. DANIEL, of Atlanta, the mail agent, was carried down with the cars nearly or quite twenty feet, and was very seriously bruised about the loins, but he is mending, and will probably recover. This awful accident was caused by the neglect of the man appointed to watch the bridge. Had he been at his place with his light, those lives might have been saved, and the sufferings of the injured prevented, and the damage and cost to the Road Company saved.

The New York Times New York 1852-10-06