This event is especially remarkable on account of the unusual compli­cation of calamities, (if we may so speak,) which attended it; the ex­plosion, the burning and the sinking of the vessel, all occurring within a few minutes. The Lucy Walker, Capt. Vann, was descending the river, and when about four miles below New Albany, Indiana, some part of the machinery got out of order, and the boat was stopped to make repairs. During this pause, the water in the boilers was measurably exhausted, and about five minutes after the engine ceased working, three of the boilers exploded with tremendous violence and terrible effect.

The principal force of the explosion took an upward direction; and the consequence was that all that part of the boat situated above the boilers was blown into thousands of pieces. The U. S. snag-boat Go­phar, Capt. L. B. Dunham, was about two hundred yards distant at the time of the explosion. Capt. Dunham was immediately on the

spot, rescuing those who had been thrown into the water, and affording all other assistance in his power. Having been a spectator of the scene, with all its horrors, this gentleman has furnished a narrative, to which we are indebted for many of the facts related in this article. He states that such was the force of the explosion, that, although the Lucy Wal­ker was in the middle of the river, many fragments of wood and iron were thrown on shore. At the moment of the accident, the air ap.. poured to be filled with human beings, with dissevered limbs and other fragments of human bodies. One man was blown to the height of fifty yards, as the narrator judges, and fell with such force as to pass en­tirely through the deck. Another was cut in two by a piece of the boiler Many other incidents, equally distressing and horrifying, are related. Before Capt. Dunham could reach the spot where the wreck lay, he saw many persons who had been blown overboard perish in the water. But it was his good fortune to save the lives of a large num­ber, by throwing them boards and ropes, and pulling them on board with boat-hooks. Immediately after the explosion, the ladies’ cabin took fire and burned with great rapidity, but before it was consumed, the steamer sunk in twelve feet water. Thus the whole tragedy was completed within a few minutes.

The screams and exclamations of the ladies and the other survivors are represented as awful and’distressing in the extreme. However, most of the females escaped; a very few of them are supposed to have been drowned, but none of those who survived were injured. The books of the boat were destroyed; of course it will ever be impossible to ascertain all the names or the number of those who perished. There were at least fifty or sixty persons killed or missing, arid fifteen or

twenty wounded, some of them very seriously. Capt. Dunham took off the wounded and left them at New Albany, where they were suitably provided for by the hospitable and benevolent citizens of the place.

The following are the names of the killed, wounded and missing, as far as we have been able to learn:

KILLED OR MISSING.-Gen. J. W. Pegram, of Richmond, Va.; Samuel M. Brown, Post-Office agent, of Lexington, Ky. ; J. R. Cormick, of Virginia; Charles Dunn, pilot, of Louisville, Ky.; Philip Wallis, for­znerly of Baltimore, Md.; Rebecca, daughter of A. J. Foster, of Green­ville, Va.; James Vanderburg, of Louisville, Ky. ; Mr. Hughes, for­merly of Lexington, Ky.; Mr. Matlock, of New Albany, Ind.; engi­neer of the steamboat Mazeppa; Nicholas Ford, formerly of Baltimore, Md.; David Vann, master of the Lucy Walker; Moses Kirby, pilot of the same; second mate, second clerk, second engineer, and bar-keeper of the boat, names not mentioned.

WOUNDED.-FOur negro firemen; W. H. Peebler, Mr. Rainer, of Virginia, and the first engineer, all badly hurt; Capt. Thomson, pilot, both arms fractured; Mr. Roberts, of Philadelphia, slightly hurt.

Two persons, John W. Johnson and Richard Phillips, are supposed to have been in the boat. They were not seen after the explosion, and it was generally believed that they were lost. Another account says, “We understand that the bodies of Nicholas Ford, Philip Wallis, S. M. Brown, and a little girl, killed by the explosion of the Lucy Walker, have been taken from the river, and decently interred by the citizens of West Point.”

ADDITIONAL INCIDENTS.-The Rev. Mr. Todd, of Natchez, was blown overboard, but saved himself by swimming. At New Albany, when the dead bodies and the wounded were brought to that city, the stores and other places of business were generally closed, flags were lowered, and the whole town wore the aspect of mourning.

Mr. Wren, of Yazoo, Miss., was thrown from the boiler-deck, and fell near the bow of the boat, in a state of insensibility. When he recovered his senses, he saw his little son, six or seven years old, with the flames raging around him, in the upper part of the boat. He watched the movements of the child, as every parent will believe, with intense anxiety. Soon he saw the boy leap overboard; the river was covered with planks and mattresses, and the lad went from fragment to fragment, until he succeeded in getting on a mattress which would support him in the water. The agonized father, who was unable to rise from the spot where he lay, continued to watch the progress of his little son, until he saw him taken off the mattress by the crew of Capt. Dunham’s boat. Who shall attempt to imagine, much less to describe, the feelings of the father at that moment?

A man and his wife and four daughters were saved separately, and in different ways. Their subsequent meeting must have been most joyous. A little girl was found clinging to the wreck when the flames were so near that she was constrained to dash water on one side of her face, to protect it from the intense heat. A man was on the hurricane-deck with his wife and little daughter, at the time of the explosion. He dropped the lady aft into the yawl, and saw that she was safe; he then threw the child into the stream, and although suffering severely with a sprained ankle and other hurts, he plunged in, and saved both him­self and his little girl by swimming.

Pieces of the boiler were thrown on the Kentucky shore, and it is said that some of theni were no thicker than a half dollar. When, where, or by whom could they have been inspected?

The Lucy Walker was built at Cincinnati, anti finished only about nine months before the fatal termination of her career.


(source: Lloyd's Steamboat Directory from 1856)