New Orleans, LA JOHN R. MEIGS Hits Mine, Sep 1898
A VESSEL, WHILE REMOVING EXPLOSIVES, BADLY DAMAGED.
A COLUMN OF WATER HURLED 50 FEET INTO THE AIR AND DEBRIS BLOWN SEVERAL HUNDRED FEET HIGH -- WORK TO BE ABANDONED.
New Orleans, Sept. 5. -- A Fort St. Philip special to the Picayune says:
When the John R. Meigs had her forecastle blown off there were six men hurled by the shock into the Mississippi River who never came to the surface. Three others were thrown into the river but were not so badly injured as to prevent their climbing back upon the boat. Contrary to the advices received Saturday night the Meigs did not sink immediately. Disabled as she was, she was carried by the tide and a stiff wind to the east bank where her stern grounded and her bow swung out and pointed down stream. Nearly everything of value had been recovered before she lurched off the bank on which her stern rested and plunged bow foremost into the deep water of the channel. The men hurled to death by the dynamite never saw the mine that exploded. The shock came when it was several feet beneath the surface.
The six men killed were:
Capt. P. R. STARR, of Vicksburg.
Sergt. JOHN NEWMAN, Willett's Point, N.Y.
Private PAT CARLOE, from the same place.
Fireman J. D. MALONE.
RALPH ROGERS, colored.
HARRY JACKSON, colored.
The wounded were:
D. B. REDDICKS and FRITZ KOCH. They are here in the hospital. Pilot J. C. DAVIS was at the wheel at the time of the explosion and the flying fragments of the torpedo and the shattered steel tore the pilot house to pieces. MR. DAVIS, however, escaped unhurt. Lieut. HENRY JERVEY was within a few feet of the pilot house, and he too, was fortunate enough to escape unhurt. Night Watchman FRANK COAPE, asleep in his cabin on the boiler deck was awakened by the crash to find himself in a hole gaping in the roof and his bed jammed against the wall by a piece of the steel deck. He climbed out through the hole. Lieut. JERVEY and Pilot HARRIS were also on the boiler deck. D. B. REDDICKS was blown into the river. A piece of steel went through his right forearm and another tore off a piece of his scalp. Engineer LAYNE was blown into the river and escaped injury. There were 19 people in the boat when the explosion occurred. The explosion occurred about eleven o'clock. It was noon when the Meigs sank. Her entire forecastle was blown off and nothing but her water tight compartments prevented her immediate sinking.
A column of water was hurled 50 feet high into the air and debris blown several hundred feet high. Portions of the torpedo and steel deck fell on the bank in front of Fort St. Philip 1,500 feet from the scene of the wreck.
Maj. Quinn arrived at Fort St. Philip at 3 o'clock. He stated that no more torpedoes would be taken up. The work will be abandoned. There are 19 still in the water. Maj. Quinn and Lieut. Jervey agree that the accident was inexplicable. It was impossible for the torpedo to explode. The torpedo did explode. And that is the way they summarize the situation.
Mt. Vernon Kentucky 1898-09-09