Camp Hill, PA Train Wreck, Jul 1856

Etching of the Disaster CAMP HILL PA WRECK 1856

LATER
The scene of the disaster is fourteen miles from the city, in the neighborhood of two curves, so that approaching trains cannot be seen five hundred yards distant. The track is also single. --- When the locomotives came together they rose on end, the fire boxes of each nearly touching, and fell over across the road. The fire being scattered about the wreck, the first excursion car soon caught fire, and the flames rapidly communicated to the two others piled upon it. The most extraordinary efforts were made to extricate the unfortunate mutilated beings who were crushed amid the wreck rending the air with their dying groans.

Many of these poor beings were still alive when the flames reached them, and thus suffered as it were a double death. Their groans and shrieks for aid were awful and heartrending, altogether beyond the power of language to describe.

Fortunately there were two hotels, a dwelling and a blacksmith shop and small shed within three hundred yards of the wreck, all of which were used to shelter the dying and wounded. A number of physicians from the city and from Germantown were early in attendance, doing all within their power to aid the sufferers.

Two fire engines from Chestnut Hill came to the spot, and forced water through hose to the wreck from a neighboring stream. After working for several hours the fire was extinguished, and the human remains were removed. Nineteen burned bodies were removed to the blacksmith shop - three supposed to be females. Under another shed were placed eight other bodies, so charred by the flames as to defy recognition.

The body of FATHER SHERIDAN has been recovered and brought to the city.

An immense crowd was attracted to the spot from the surrounding sections of country: many friends of the excursionists walked from the city, and others proceeded thither in every description of vehicles, which were made use of in bringing the wounded and dead to the city.

WILLIAM VANSTAVOREN, the conductor of the down train, driven to desperation by the calamity, committed suicide by swallowing arsenic.

WILLIAM LEE, the engineer of the same train, has been arrested and committed for examination.

The train of this evening brought down four bodies burned to a crisp; one unknown, the others JOHN DILLION and two brothers named ROYCE.

STILL LATER.
PHILADELPHIA, 10 P. M. -- All the remains of the victims have been gathered up and brought to the city. Twenty-seven bodies have not been recognised [sic]. They are mostly burned so as to defy recognition.

Later accounts set down the number of killed at fifty-two, and the wounded at one hundred. Further particulars add, if possible, to the heart-rending character of the catastrophe.

The Republican Compiler Pennsylvania 1856-07-21

The Final List of Casualties:
WILLIAM T. BARNETT, 18.
MICHAEL BURNS, 17.
JOHN BRADLEY, 14.
THERESA CALLAHAN, 18.
HUGH CAMPBELL, 15.
JAMES CANLIN, 17.
ELLEN CLARK, 14.
CATHARINE COAKLEY, 14.
NEILUS COAKLEY, 16.
HENRY CORR, 50.
CAROLINE CROENER, 13.
JAMES DEVINE, 11.
LAWRENCE DILLEN, 50.
JOHN DUDSEN, 21.
JOHN DUGAN, 17.
WILLIAM DUGAN, 17.
EDWARD FLANIGEN, 16.
PATRICK FLANIGEN, 14.
JAMES GALLAGHER, 20.
BERNARD GREEN, 18.
JOHN GRILBEU, 17.
MRS. GUNN, 60.
JAMES HACKEY, 15.
MICHAEL HAGERTY, 15.
EDWARD HALL, 20.
HARRY HARRIS, 30.
PATRICK KEARNEY, 19.
PATRICK KELLY, 16.
THOMAS KELLY, 16.
ANNIE LILLEY, 16.
DANIEL MARLOW, 9.
JOHN McALEER, 18.
FRANCIS McCORT, 21.
SARAH McGEE, 18.
WILLIAM McGUIGAN, 15.
JOHN McGUIRE, 18.
CATHARINE McGURK, 16.
JAMES McINTYRE, 16.
JOHN McVEY, 15.
ROSE ANN MULHOLLAND, 15.
MICHAEL O'BRIEN, 17.
HUGH O'NEAL, 14.
JAMES QUIGLEY, 14.
LEWIS RIVELL, 10.
BERNARD RONEGAN, 18.
JAMES ROY, 20.
JOHN RYAN, 15.
REV. DANIEL SHERIDAN, 35.
MARY SHORT, 16.
JOHN SLOAN, 13.
WILLIAM STREETS, 18.
HIGH TRACEY, 16.
FRANCIS WALLS, 21.