Terrible Disaster


A report reached this place on Monday from Victoria, that the steamer Dayton was blown up on the 12th inst., and that several persons were killed.  We regret to say that this shocking news is confirmed by Captain Tichener, who arrived from Galveston on Monday evening.  He was present when the explosion occurred.  He states that the Dayton was within nine miles of Corpus Christi, when from some cause wholly unknown, the boilers suddenly exploded: nine person were instantly killed, and several others severely scalded.  Among the killed were Lieuts.Berry and Higgins, Sergt. Edwards and a private of the U. S. army; the watchman and four unknown.  Capt. West was badly scalded, and fears are entertained that he cannot recover.  He is one of our most respected and most estimable citizens, and his loss would be greatly deplored.  The boilers of the steamer had been cleansed on the morning of the explosion, and were supposed to be in good condition.  The chief engineer, worn down with fatigue, had gone to lie down; the assistant engineer had charge of the machinery when the accident occurred.  It is feared that the pipes connected  with the pumps had become encrusted with salt or from some cause had been partially closed, so that the water was exhausted in the boilers.  While we lament the loss of the gallant men who have thus been hurried into eternity, we have reason for congratulation that this accident did not occur a few days previous, when this boat was engaged in transporting troops to Corpus Christi, and her decks and every part of the vessel were thronged with soldiers; had the explosion then taken place, perhaps scores of brave men would have shared the terrible fate of these victims.  We hope this sad event will be a warning to the agents of the U. S. Government, whose duty it is to engage transport for troops, to be duly cautious in selecting substandard steamers, and engineers of tried skill and experience.


Source: The Telegraph, Houston, Wednesday, September 24, 1845, p. 3, col. 1


Research by: Msgr. Michael A. Howell

Transcription by:  Geraldine D. McGloin, Nueces County Historical Commission

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