Regolet Bon-Dieu, LA Steamer LIONESS Explosion, May 1833


Louisville, (Ky.) June 5.

We had prepared a short article on the subject of the loss of the steamboat LIONESS, from information derived from the log book of the CHESAPEAKE; we, however, substitute the following from an Alexandria (Lou.) paper, containing more particular details:

From the Alexandria Gazette of the 22d ult.
"It becomes out duty to record an event which thrills us with horror as we relate it, and which has brought desolation and sorrow among us, by the destruction of some of our best and most valued fellow citizens: as well as many others with whose names we are at present unacquainted. The steamboat LIONESS, on her passage from this place to Natchitoches, blew up with a terrible explosion, & was literally torn to fragments. This disaster occurred on Sunday morning last, just at day light, near the mouth of the Regolet Bon-Dieu. The explosion, or rather the three successive explosions, following each other so rapidly as scarcely to be distinguishable, were heard at a considerable distance.
The fore cabin and the boiler deck, and the hold immediately under them, were scattered into fragments over the water for a considerable distance. Many of the passengers who escaped were enabled to do so by seizing those fragments, after they had been themselves thrown into the water. In about two minutes after the explosion, the hull of the boat sunk, leaving a part of the hurricane deck, and portions of the ladies' cabin, floating of the surface. On this the ladies (we are happy to say all of them) were saved, together with many gentlemen.
The explosion seems to have been caused by the firing of some powder which had been shipped in the boat.
There were two of the hands in the hold with a lighted candle, engaged in some arrangements there at the time the boat blew up, and the mate had gone down a moment before, to assist them. It is supposed that by some unfortunate accident the powder was fired by them.
By a letter from G. M. GRAHAM, Esq. who has just returned from the wreck, we learn that the Hon. JOSIAH S. JOHNSTON, BRAZID Q. RIGG, Esq. and CHARLES BOYCE, Esq. are among the missing.
The the Hon. E. D. WHITE has escaped, but is seriously injured from burns and bruises; that MESSRS. BOYCE, DUNBAR, SEWELL, and WILLIAM JOHNSTON, have escaped without any serious injuries; that MESSRS. ROUBIEUX and GRAHAM were somewhat injured, the latter, in fact, very serioiusly; that many of the sufferers unknown to MR. G. were on the plantation of JUDGE SMITH, in a terrible situation from their wounds and burns. Some of these, it is thought, would die.
It is also stated that the inhabitants along the shores of the river generally were prompt and perservering in their endeavors to yield every assistance possible; and that they are still making use of every effort to alleviate the sufferings of those tho have escaped with life.
Even amid the gloom and horror of such a catastrophe, it is consoling to see the spirit of benevolence and humanity displaying itself in a generous assistance, and assiduous attention of our fellow citizens towards the sufferers.

The Sandusky Clarion Ohio 1833-06-26