Hidalgo, TX Area Steamer ENTERPRISE Explosion, Aug 1846


On the 21st day of August, 1846, the Enterprise was about casting off from a landing-place on the river, forty-five miles above Renoza [sic - Reynosa, Mexico], where she had been moored during the night ; and scarcely had the paddle-wheels made three revolutions, when the boiler exploded, making a fearful havoc among the passengers (U. S. volunteers) and crew, who numbered altogether about one hundred and fifty persons. The hull, and those parts of the boat adjacent to the stern, were but little damaged, but the forward works, with everything in the neighborhood of the boilers, were torn to pieces or blown overboard. There were sixteen men sleeping between the chimneys, all of whom experienced, more or less, the sad effects of the accident.

Many were shot into the air, and falling into the water, were drowned, being too much disabled to swim, or to make any other effort for their own preservation. Others fell on different parts of the boat, and were horribly mutilated. The boilers were very much shattered, the pieces flying about in every direction, and falling in a shower of iron fragments on the deck. In such circumstances, the escape of so many of the crew and passengers from death or severe injury was almost miraculous. No satisfactory account of the cause of the disaster has been given, but it was conjectured that some leakage in the boilers caused a deficiency of water therein, which is a frequent cause of steamboat explosions.

THE KILLED—Enoch Tucker, Texas ; Thomas Gaufney, N. Y. ; A. Boswell, Tenn. ; Mr. Seaps, second cook ; a passenger, name unknown.

BADLY WOUNDED—Lieutenant Dearing, of the Louisville Legion ; William A. Crook, and C. B. Crook, of Tenn. ; Capt. Woods, William Grey, Jacob Bowringe, and Thomas Eagle, Texas ; J. C. Howard, sutler, of Baltimore, Md. ; Joseph Grigsby and William Hickey, sutlers of Louisville Legion ; Mr. Tabor, pilot ; Thomas Kennepee, Samuel Martin, Patrick Kelley, Frank Tallant, deck hand ; J. F. Clark, mate.

SLIGHTLY WOUNDED—Milton Cunningham and James Wilson, Tenn. ; J. Wheeler, J. Humerick, Matthew Sampson, and Christian Coleman, Texas ; J. Downing and Mr. Adams, sutlers of Louisville Legion ; Edmund Newell, clerk ; Capt. Kelsey, of Conn. ; W. Arthines, fireman ; Henry A. Emmons, second mate ; Dr. IL S. Tudor.

Patrick Kelley, one of the wounded, was maddened by his sufferings, and died in a few days after the accident. The bodies of some of the passengers who were drowned, were recovered from the water and buried some miles below Renoza.[sic]

Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters, Cincinnati, Ohio; James T. Lloyd & Co, 1856, page 117