From the Richmond Dispatch, 11/20/1861, p. 2, c. 2

Explosion of a Locomotive - Engineer and Fireman Killed. - A lamentable accident occurred yesterday, about 12 o’clock, on the Central Railroad, a short distance above the depot in this city.  The locomotive “Monroe,” which had come down with a train yesterday morning, was run up the track to the tank where a fresh supply of water was procured, and again starting, got as far as Victor’s pond, when a terrific explosion took place.  Mr. Nathan J. Davis, the acting engineer, who was standing on the left side of the locomotive, was blown some fifteen feet into the air, and fell dead by the side of the track, having received severe internal injuries by the concussion.  The fireman, a free negro named Peter Franklin, was badly scalded by the steam, and apparently insensible when found.  He was carried to a house near the railroad, where he died soon afterward.  A little negro boy, belonging to Mr. Seay, was riding on the rear of the tender when the explosion occurred, and a piece of wood struck him on the head, fracturing his skull.  He will probably die.  The locomotive was thrown off the track and turned completely round, facing the tender; two or three of the trucks were broken apart, and the machinery in several places blown to atoms.  This shows the terrible force of the concussion.  The “Monroe” is an old engine, built at the Tredegar Works, and has been running on the road some ten or twelve years.  It would perhaps be imprudent to attribute the disaster to any particular cause, in advance of an investigation, though it is thought by some that the boiler was overheated when fresh water was let on, thus creating a sudden generation of steam. The body of Mr. Davis was removed to his residence, on 17th street, where an inquest was held last evening, and a verdict rendered in accordance with the facts. He leaves a large family, whose present situation is such as to excite commiseration and sympathy. He was a man of exemplary character, and very popular among his acquaintances.

 

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