Hidalgo, TX Area Steamer ENTERPRISE Explosion, Aug 1846

Explosion of the Steamer Enterprise

By this arrival we have accounts of the blowing up of the steamboat Enterprise, by which five persons were instantly killed and several wounded. This casualty occurred a little after daylight on the 21st ult., about forty-five miles above Reynosa, when the engine had just made the third revolution, the boat having been tied up to the bank during the night. There does not seem to have been much damaged done to her hull by the explosion; but her upper forward works and part of the cabin were terribly demolished. The first four rims of the boilers were blown literally into fragments, and how so many persons escaped instant death is truly a wonder. There were over 150 persons on board, and many in the immediate vicinity of and directly over the boilers, who were scarcely injured. We obtained these particulars.... from Mr. Emmons, one of the pilots of the Enterprise, who, with seven other persons, was lying upon the boiler deck directly by the wheel. Of these eight persons only four were badly injured. Immediately in front of the wheel, and almost between the chimneys, sixteen other men were lying down, most of them asleep, when the explosion took place. This part of the boat was all demolished. Persons were blown up into the air, some of them falling overboard and others upon the forecastle. Two or three who were in a forward state-room, which was detached from the boat by the explosion fell from there into the hold right through the hatchway.

How the accident occurred, or rather what was the immediate cause of it, is a mystery. It is said that the boilers had been cleaned out during the night, and no positive cause for the explosion is given. It was suggested that what is known as the mud valve may have become obstructed and caused the boilers to leak, this, however is but conjuncture.

The number of killed are 6; badly wounded, 16; slightly wounded, 13.

The wounded, with the exception of four who went to Camargo, were taken to Reynosa. On the 28th ult. it was said that Lieut. Dearing was out of danger and doing well; another man was out of his senses and would probably die. One other man, name not known, was buried at Reynosa the day before. The body of one of those who were blown overboard was picked up on the 27th and buried by some Mexicans at a ranche [sic] some miles below Reynosa.

Augusta Chronicle, Augusta, GA 14 Sept 1846

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The Steamboat Explosion on the Rio Grande. -- The Picayune furnishes the following list of the names of the sufferers by the late disaster on board the steamer Enterprise, on the Rio Grande. The latest Matamoros Flag (the 29th) says that all the wounded were doing well.

Killed - Enoch Tucker, A. Boswell, Tennessee; Mr. Seaps, Texas; Thomas Gaufney, New York, second cook; and a stranger, name unknown.

Badly wounded. -- Lieut. Dearing , of the Louisville Legion; Wm. A. Crook, C. B. Crook, Tennessee; Capt. Woods, Wm. Grey, Jacob Bowridge, Thomas Eagle, Texas; J. C. Howard, sutler, Baltimore; Joseph Grigsby, Mr. Hickey, sutlers, Louisville Legion; Taber, pilot; Thomas Henepee, Samuel Martin, Patrick Kelly, Frank Tallant, deck hands; J. F. Clark, mate.

Slightly wounded -- Milton Cunningham, James Wilson, Tennessee; J. Wheeler, J. Humerick, Matthew Samson, Christian Coleman, Texas; J. Downing, Mr. Adams, sutlers, Louisville Legion; Edmond Newell, clerk; Capt. Kelsey, Connecticut; W. Arthines, fireman; Henry A. Emmons, mate; Dr. H. S. Tudor.

Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, DC 16 Sept 1846