The Wreck at the Fat Nancy

Stiles/Akin

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#1
Among the train's passengers was JAMES LONGSTREET, who was returning from the 25th reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg. He was uninjured.

The "Wreck at the Fat Nancy" was one of the worst railroad disasters in VA history. On July 12, 1888, a 44-foot-high, 487-foot-long trestle named Fat Nancy gave way, sending the passenger train crashing to the ground. 8 people on the train were killed and many injured.

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USS ALASKA

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#7
The "Wreck at the Fat Nancy" was one of the largest railroad disasters in Virginia's history. On the morning of July 12, 1888, the incident occurred when a trestle collapsed as a passenger train was atop it. Virginia Midland Railroad's Train 52—“The Piedmont Airline”—was crossing the 44-foot-high, 487-foot-long trestle when it gave way, sending the train to the ground.

By 1888, many states had experienced memorable wrecks with high death tolls. Though Virginia newspapers were full of reports of small train accidents, there were typically few deaths. The wreck at Fat Nancy was Virginia’s first experience with a train crash that resulted in multiple deaths and large-scale injuries. Five passengers, one rail employee, one mail clerk, and one newsboy were killed and another mail clerk died from his injuries the following day. At least twenty-six were injured, though some reports list a higher number.

The trestle’s official name was Browning Trestle, for the owners of the property on which it sits, or Two-Runs trestle for the creek that ran below.

One of the deceased was Cornelius G. Cox, the civil engineer who had designed a culvert to replace the trestle, which was known to be unstable. Among the passengers was former
Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet, who was returning from the 25th reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The culvert that replaced the trestle still stands today, where it allows Laurel Creek to flow through. Tracks no longer cross the culvert—they're now to the south. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources erected a historical marker at the site of the wreck, along
Virginia State Route 20, in 2007. A keystone at the top of the arched tunnel is marked “In memory of Cornelius Cox.”

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wreck_at_the_Fat_Nancy

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
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#8
I wonder if this is the same Fat Nancy.

Fat Nancy, the apple-woman, filled the cellar door under his Worship’s shop window. There she displayed all fruits in their season ; the black Pomona of the street, of which she had the monopoly, except so far as her claim was disputed (I should say, infringed upon) by a peripatetic vender, Bob Hummins by name; but as Bob had only one arm, he did not venture to dispute Nancy’s supremacy, and kept out of reach of her tongue. If scolding could have tried down Nancy’s fat, the school boys would have reduced her to a shadow ; for, as some three hundred or more pounds of flesh obstructed her locomotion, the boys stole her apples without fear of arrest (unless by the Mayor, and it was beneath his dignity to interpose) and thus they kept Nancy’s scolding faculties in constant exercise.

"Virginia, especially Richmond, in by-gone days; with a glance at the present: being reminiscences and last words of an old citizen," Samuel Mordecai, 1860, Page 170

https://archive.org/stream/virginiaespecial00mord#page/170
 

John Hartwell

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#10
You look at a picture like that and wonder how any of them made it out.
The photo doesn't quite match the description in the clipping in post #2. It might have been taken after they had pretty much torn the cars apart trying to free victims. Longstreet's coach was described as winding up vertical, one end in the creek below, the other at the end of the trestle, apparently supporting the following coach, in which the quoted witness was riding, preventing it from going off the trestle as well.

Probably, the two coaches were supporting each other, and when they pulled away those still on the tracks (you can see them in the distance in the photo), Longstreet's collapsed into the creek.

Accounts said Longstreet was in a Pullman sleeping car. He would have been thrown about pretty roughly in his berth, but probably wasn't thrown the full length of the car as he might have been if in a regular passenger coach. Might have saved his life.
 
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War Horse

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#12
@War Horse, did you see this?



My thoughts exactly!
Yes, I am aware of the train wreck. It takes a lot to kill a War Horse. Like Forrest’s steamboat experience. These men simply had more work to do before they were called home.
 
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#13
Yes, I am aware of the train wreck. It takes a lot to kill a War Horse. Like Forrest’s steamboat experience. These men simply had more work to do before they were called home.
You mean they were just too stubborn to give in to such petty stuff as nearly fatal wounds or life threatening accidents? Very well! Seems your avatar never lost his coolness in personal danger...
 



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