Locomotive Accident With Portion of the 19th Illinois

Taylin

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#1
Location: Widow Valley, Martin County Indiana. On a bridge that crossed Beaver Creek
Indianapolis Daily Journal:
illinois.jpg

Print of the scene:
19thillTrainWreck.jpg

Following is taken from the Martin County History website, bottom right of the page.

"On Sept. 17, 1861, Ohio & Mississippi train carrying about 250 members of the 19th Illinois Regiment were enroute from Cairo, Ill., to Washington, D.C. The train wrecked at Bridge 48, west of Willow Valley in Martin County, after passing bridge east of deep cut pass. The train started to cross the bridge and it collapsed, resulting in the deaths of 40 men and injuring about 105 others.

A reporter from the Cincinnati Daily Commercial accompanied the rescue train to the wreck.... Describing what he seen upon arrival of the wreck he saw a train car thrown off the track some 20 yards from the bridge; that of another car standing on end. The engine passed the bridge safety; the first car was thrown off the track, about 20 yards beyond the bridge. The second car fell directly into the Beaver Creek, the third car went in to the creek, the fourth and fifth cars ran on top of the third, crushing it flat as a board. In the third car was Company I, where the greatest loss took place. The six and last car, containing the field officers and their attendants, was not injured.

The railroad company asked the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce to appoint a committee of mechanics to inspect the bridge and issue an opinion on the cause of the disaster. On Sept. 25, 1861 eight days after the disaster the committee reported that a broken rail near the entrance to the bridge was the cause.

At the time local resident of Martin County blamed the large group of Knights of the Golden Circle, who were southern sympathizers, and were suspected of loosening the rail.

In 1899 Willow Valley Tunnel was built which by pass the 3 miles of track where this train wreck occurred. The county would later take over the old railroad bed to make it into a county road Deep Cut Lake Road which goes in front of US Gypsum."
 

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Taylin

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#2
Edit: Image in post removed, felt it inaccurate. I'll set out to find Bridge #48 via the County Historical Society / further investigating. There are 5 crossings of Beaver Creek that Deep Cut Lake Road takes from where the old track used to be, and 1 crossing each from the new track and what appears to be a section of the old track that comes out of the Gypsum
 
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Taylin

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#3
Scrolled through a website for the 19th Illinois. Here's a list of the killed according to it. Linked to each name is a find a grave page if I was able to locate it. I'll be working on this most the day I believe, will update when I find more. Current count is 28*
Company E
Martin Kelly
Company F
James/John W S Bobbitt/Babbit
Charles H Cutting
Charles H Valentine
*James Hodkinson (Possibly died of Injuries, Official cause of death listed as "Colic" October 5th)
Company G/Bridges Battery
Charles Bratstram
J H Cutler/Cutting
David Noble
Stephen O Sealock
Company I
Henry Barras
John Brown
Robert Bruce
Louis M Carroll
Samuel Clark
Jacob Coleman
Michael Connelly
Henry Conners
John Douglas
Peter M Fowler
William Frost
William Harwick
Bushrod B Howard (Captain)
Henry Hunt
Jerr Ingraham
Albert H Painter
John Rhine (Oct 17th of Injuries)
William Ringer
Anthony Raffner/Roffner
Joseph Smith
 
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USS ALASKA

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#4
Cool illustration, sir. I find the stair-step abutment construction very interesting.
30

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USS ALASKA
 

Taylin

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#5
Another print with a description of the scene and events from this website.
"TERRIBLE ACCIDENT ON THE OHIO AND MISSISSIPPI RAILROAD.
WE illustrate on this page the terrible RAILWAY ACCIDENT which occurred on 17th ult. on the OHIO AND MISSISSIPPI RAILROAD. The Cincinnati Commercial thus describes the event:

At ten minutes to nine on the night of 17th the train, consisting of six cars carrying about 250 men of the 19th Illinois Regiment, Colonel Torchin, had broken the bridge down under the following circumstances : The engine passed the bridge in safety, the first car was thrown off the track, but ran to a place twenty yards beyond the bridge; but the second car fell directly into the creek, hind end downward; the fourth and fifth cars ran on top of the third, crushing it flat as a board. In the third car was Company I, where the greatest mortality took place. The sixth and last car, containing the field-officer and their attendants, was not injured.

Those who escaped represent the scene as full of every conceivable horror. Fires were soon lighted on the banks, messengers dispatched for assistance, and the work of rescue begun. All the while the air resounded with the groans, prayers, and imprecations of the sufferers.

Before daylight eighteen bodies were recovered in addition to rescuing all the living. Lieutenant Whotten was caught by both legs between two platforms, and it required three-fourths of an hour to chop and saw him out, every blow of the axe causing intense agony. A colored servant, caught in a similar though less painful situation, was two hours undergoing the operation of rescue. A brakesman, with an arm and leg both broken, crawled from under the bottom car to a place of safety.

Fortunately, both the regimental surgeons, their hospital steward, and Lieutenant Kellot, also physicians, were in the forward car and escaped without injury. Companies I and G were the greatest sufferers—the latter entire company, except Lieutenant Bridges and two corporals, were more or less injured. The Colonel, who is an old Russian campaigner, Lieutenant Kellot, and Life-Major Moore, were accompanied by their wives. These ladies not only rendered great assistance in dressing the wounded, but even tore their under garments off their persons to make bandages.

It is not known whether the accident was the work of malice or misfortune."
ohio-mississippi-railroad.jpg
 

Taylin

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#8
Click this and you will be taken to the location of Bridge 48, it's been replaced by a culvert. Here is a ground photo of the culvert. It's surprisingly small, the stream that is. Bridge 49 is still a bridge and the stream below it is the main body of Beaver Creek, much deeper and strikes me as the possible location of the wreck as fits the sketches a bit more IMO. A lot changes in 158 years though, so I'll do a bit more investigating.

Also this newspaper clipping from days after the incident claim 28 people were killed outright, which is about what I got when looking into it.
28.jpg


282.jpg
 
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USS ALASKA

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#11
Looking at the 2nd artist illustration, the locomotive was a 2 x 2 x 0? That might have been rare and 'old' even by 1861 standards. Or perhaps just artistic license...

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USS ALASKA
 

Taylin

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#12
From the NPS Battle Unit Details for the 19th:

"SERVICE: Prentiss' Expedition toward Dallas and Jackson, Mo., August 29-September 8, 1861. Moved to Cape Girardeau, Fort Holt, Ky., and Elliott's Mills, thence moved to Cairo, Ill., September 16, under orders for Washington, D. C. While en route East, September 17, via Ohio & Mississippi R. R., bridge No. 48, over Beaver Creek, 30 miles west of Cincinnati, Ohio, broke through, precipitating six passenger coaches a distance of 60 feet, killing and wounding 129 of the Regiment. At Camp Dennison, Ohio, till September 24."

A lot of the wounded stayed in Ohio while the rest of the regiment/companies went on to Kentucky.
"Moved to Louisville, Ky., September 24-25, thence to Lebanon, Ky., September 25, and duty there till October 22. Moved to Elizabethtown, Ky., October 22, and duty there and at Bacon Creek till February 10, 1862."

I'm pretty sure the number of deaths for the regiment was 28 or very close to it. The figure of 35-40 deaths might come from civilian/staff on the train cars but I haven't seen any names in the papers so far.
 

Taylin

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#13
From this website

"While there the Regiment received orders to move to Cairo, take cars on the Illinois Central Railroad, and proceed to Washington, D. C. On the 16th of September the Regiment left Cairo, and on the 17th having changed cars at Sandoval, proceeded in two trains on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad toward Cincinnati. When 46 miles east of Vincennes, Ind., the second train containing four companies and regimental staff, about 10 p. m. , broke through the bridge No. 48, crossing Beaver Creek, between Shoals and Mitchel, Ind.,and in that frightful accident 24 men, including Captain B. Howard, were killed on the spot, and 105 men wounded. Of the Last, some have died in the hospitals at Cincinnati, others were crippled for life, and others recovered and joined the Regiment afterwards. This horrible accident caused a loss in life nearly as great as any of the battles fought by the Regiment during the, whole of its term of service. The troubles at that time in Kentucky caused the Regiment to be and in battalion movements."
 

Cavalry Charger

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#17
24 men, including Captain B. Howard, were killed on the spot, and 105 men wounded.
"When Galena's first company was raised and equipped, all Galena escorted it to the depot. Captain Grant was intensely interested in giving them the benefit of his West Point education and accompanied them to Springfield where he remained for a week or two. When the next company left, everyone, as usual, went to the depot to see them off. The Captain of this company was a Democrat and enthusiastically loyal. I do not think his wife was in sympathy with him. I was standing with my children in the station house, near the south window, and turning, saw Captain Howard stride in and stop within a few feet of his wife and two little boys and her mother, all of whom were standing near the middle of the room. Folding his arms, he gazed sorrowfully at her. She returned his look but did not move. The mother said in a low voice 'Speak, Helen, meet him,' but she did not move. The two little boys running up to him, he stooped, and clasping them in his arms, said: 'God bless and keep you, my darlings,' and turning, he strode out to his company, already seated in the cars, and rolled away. Within a week, there was great mourning in Galena. Captain Howard, with ten or twelve of his men, was borne back dead, the train that carried them having been precipitated from a bridge, killing all these brave fellows."

The Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant (p.90)
 

Cavalry Charger

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#18
Now there is an interesting addendum to add to the story above. Julia refers to the wife as Helen and states the family had two sons. The Find a Grave entry only mentions one son, but what Julia says next seems to corroborate the story of this young man's life:

Julia states she wept over the reception Grant received on his return to Galena after the war and then

"that night thought of poor little Helen, who had lost her dear all. I asked Ulys if he had seen her. He had not, nor had I. We then arranged to see her soon. In a day or two, we found her nestled high up on the hills in a simple little house on the west side of the river. The General told her that as soon as her sons were old enough he would send one to Annapolis and one to West Point, and, leaving a substantial evidence of our friendship, we bade her adieu. Whenever we revisited Galena our call was repeated. The General fulfilled his promise in regard to the two sons. They both graduated high at the national academies and have proved excellent officers."

Thomas B. Howard graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1873; Douglas A Howard graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1878.

Their father, Bushrod B. Howard had indeed served as a Democratic Member of the Illinois House of Representatives (1851-52) and was a First Lieutenant during the Mexican war, also serving as Postmaster in Galena.
 



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