Uniontown, PA Steamer PACIFIC Fire, Nov 1860
Disaster on the Western Waters.
Drowning of CAPTAIN LAMB -- Total Loss of the Steamboat Pacific and Her Cargo.
[From the Louisville Journal of Tuesday.]
We gave yesterday a portion of the sad details of the destruction of the steamer PACIFIC by fire at Uniontown, and the rumor of CAPTAIN WILLIAM LAMB'S death. The surviving officers and crew of the ill-fated steamer arrived at this port at an early hour yesterday, and we are placed in possession of the particulars of the disaster.
The PACIFIC reached Uniontown, the scene of the conflagration, about half past six o'clock Sunday evening, and was receiving coat when the fire was discovered amidships, among a quantity of hay, which had been placed near the boilers. In an incredibly short time the boat was enveloped in flames, and the confusion which ensued among the passengers may be imagined, but cannot be described. The crew made herculean efforts to stay the work of destruction, but even the attempt of MR. NEWHALL, one of the engineers, to attach the hose to the pumps was unsuccessful, and the work of destruction was sudden and fearful.
When CAPTAIN LAMB discovered that all efforts to save the boat would prove unavailing, he addressed himself with all energy of his nature to aid in the escape of the passengers, and his efforts were gallantly seconded by MESSRS. FRANK SMITH and ROBERT BARCLAY, the clerks and other members of the crew. The accounts as to the number of lives lost are conflicting. One informant expresses the fear that at least twenty persons were either burned or drowned, while others thnk that estimate too large. We annex a list of those know to have been lost:
CAPTAIN WM. LAMB, the commander, of Louisville.
JACOB HESS, a boat hand, of Portland.
EMILY, slave of MR. HURRY, the barkeeper.
TAZEWELL, negro cabin boy, of Lebanon, Ky.
Two children, deck passengers, unknown, of Portland.
MR. MARMILLON, a Frenchman.
MR. J. W. McDONALD, of Indiana.
Servant girl of A. CAMPBELL, JR., of Virginia.
In addition to the above, three females were seen to jump overboard, but one of whom gained the shore. Two or three others, whose names are not remembered, but who belonged to the boat's crew, are missing, together with two or three deck passengers.
The heroic conduct of MRS. J. W. McDONALD, who was travelling[sic] with her husband, who was lying very low at the time with consumption, was a subject of general admiration. The announcement of the conflagration was too much for his delicate nerves, and the poor man swooned and died amid the excitement. The wife refused to leave the corpse of her husband to the merciless, fiery element, but stood bravely by his death-bed until the flames licked the panels of the state-room in which the corpse lay. In vain she offered almost fabulous sums of reward to any on who would convoy the body to the shore; and in sheer desperation she caught up the lifeless form and bore it to the guards of the boat. It fell from her grasp, however, and was destroyed, it is presumed, with the boat. MRS. McDONALD remained in Uniontown after the disaster, in the hope of gathering up the ashes of her deceased husband.