New London, CT Steamer WALLACE Explosion, June 1872





New London, Conn., June 24, 1872.
A fearful catastrophe occurred here today, which shades every other calamity at this place since the burning of the steamer City of New London. Terrible as the latter disaster was in most respects, there was at least an opportunity afforded for escape to a number of persons on board the ill-fated vessel; but in the present instance the suddenness of the accident almost precluded the possibility of escape.

The Explosion.
At about a quarter past six A.M. the steam-lighter Wallace, Captain THOMAS A. SCOTT, of Jersey City, started with a load of stone from the government wharf, back of the Custom House, for Race Rock, where the foundation for the new lighthouse is now being laid. When about twenty rods from the dock she exploded her boilers with a tremendous concussion, scattering the fragments in all directions, and dealing death and fearful injuries upon the unfortunate crew. There were on board at the time thirteen men, all of whom, excepting the captain, were more or less injured -- several fatally.
Captain SCOTT leaped overboard immediately and escaped with little or no injury. Two of the crew are missing, and one, at least, is known to be killed. There is a hope that the other was not on board. Fragments of the boilers were hurled into the air and carried a hundred rods from the scene of the explosion. The tug sunk immediately, and boats put off from the shore to the wreck to render whatever assistance was possible. The injured of the crew were brought ashore and taken into the Custom House, which Collector George H. Marshal converted into a hospital, and where the best medical aid of the town was summoned to the aid of the unfortunate men. The character of the wounds inflicted is frightful, the hot steam and fragments of the exploded boiler making dreadful work.

List Of Killed, Missing And Injured.
The following is a list of the crew, and their injuries as far as ascertained:
DANIEL ALLISON, fireman, killed; and as yet no traces of him have been found. He was probably blown to pieces, as he was in the engine room at the time. He belonged in Manahawken, N.J.
LAWRENCE BLACK, missing. He is also supposed to have been killed, but there is a possibility that he was not on board.
JOSEPH WATERS, steward, Sandy Hill, N.J.; badly scalded and otherwise injured by contusions.
J. W. CRAMMER, Manahawken, N.J.; leg broken in two places, badly bruised, but no scalds.
NAPOLEON CRAMMER, from the same place; badly scalded and bruised.
GEORGE BRICKLEY, spine injured and badly cut about the legs.
HARRY PASCO, New York; legs hurt.
WILLIAM WHITLER, engineer, Jersey City, fatally injured, with scalds and bruises.
Other members of the crew escaped with comparatively slight injury, and none of them are supposed to be dangerously hurt. Everything was done for the injured that could be, and during the forenoon all but the engineer were removed from the Custom House to more quiet quarters. The injuries of the unfortunate engineer are of such a character that his removal was not attempted.
Among those rendering valuable aid were Collector Marshal and the medical fraternity of New London. Captain SCOTT also did everything in his power for his unfortunate crew. A boat from the cutter James Campbell, Captain Warner, went to the assistance of the sufferers immediately after the accident and rendered valuable assistance. The remains of the killed and missing men have not been recovered, and the services of a diver will be needed to recover them. The Wallace was what is called a boom derrick lighter, and had two locomotive boilers on board, both of which blew up.
There is not cause assigned for the explosion.

New York Herald New York 1872-06-25