From the Richmond Enquirer, 3/14/1863

TERRIBLE EXPLOSION - BETWEEN FORTY AND FIFTY FEMALES KILLED AND WOUNDED. - On yesterday forenoon, between eleven and twelve o'clock, an explosion occurred in Department No. 6 of the Confederate States Laboratory, involving a frightful loss of life and limb to some forty or fifty persons, almost all of whom were females. The department is located on Brown's Island, opposite the foot of 7th street, and in it all breech-loading and pistol ammunition is prepared. The greatest care has hitherto been observed in keeping the stock of ammunition safely confined, but, through some so far inexplicable circumstance, the powder used by some of the operatives in the department ignited about the time above indicated, and exploded with a terrific report, tearing down half the building, and killing, wounding and throwing in the air or upon the floor the operatives who were engaged in their labors. - There were in the building some eighty or a hundred hands, chiefly females, of different ages, from twelve to sixty years. The scene, so terrible, so sickening, we need not essay to depict to our readers. The operatives of the entire Laboratory were at once thrown into commotion, and, together with the people of the neighborhood, streamed out towards the scene of the disaster. The alarm of fire was given and the report spread through the city with rapidity, and within an hour the banks of the river opposite the island were densely thronged with citizens. The pressure about the bridge leading to the island became so great that an extra guard was stationed there to prevent the passage of all who were not engaged in rendering assistance to the wounded or caring for the dead. Very soon, under the direction of officers of the Laboratory, spring wagons and carriages were brought to the spot, and the work of removing the wounded to their homes and elsewhere was commenced. In the meantime, the medical department was alive with promptitude and energy, and none of the wounded were removed until their condition had received the best temporary attention. Some of the unfortunate girls were burnt from head to foot, others were burned in the face and eyes; some had an arm or a leg divested of flesh and skin, others were bleeding with wounds received from the falling timbers or in the violent concussions against floor and ceiling which ensued. The building was about one hundred by twenty feet, with a pitch of some ten feet, and built entirely of wood, the pieces of which were twisted and scattered in every conceivable direction. All day the work of taking care of the sufferers went on. Ten were killed by the explosion at the time of its occurrence, and others are reported to have died during the day, while it is not expected that half of the survivors will recover. Most of the latter were removed to their homes.

The following, all dreadfully burned, were received at General Hospital No. 2, corner of Cary and 7th streets: George Chappell, Sarah Haney, Hannah Petticord, Ella Bennett, Mary Jenningham, Julia Brennan, and one other female - unable to give her name.



For the relief, as far as practicable, of the sufferers by the explosion on yesterday of the Confederate States Laboratory, on 7th street, and for the Relief of the parents and families of those who were killed, I have asked the favor of the Young Men's Christian Association to aid me in raising funds for that purpose; and I confidently appeal to the benevolent people of this city promptly to respond to this call.



THE RECENT EXPLOSION. - Up to Saturday afternoon, the explosion at the C. S. Laboratory on Friday had resulted fatally to 33 of the sufferers. - The rest were, with some exceptions, still in a critical condition.

We present below a list of the injured, stating the number killed and who have since died, the wounded and missing:


FEMALES. - Adeline Myers, Mary O'Brien, Martha Daley, Julia Brannon, Nannie Horin, Mary Rowlin, Catherine McCarthy, Mary Yegingham, Sarah Haney, Mary A. Garnett, Mary Archer, Eliza Willis, Elizabeth Moore, Frances Blassingame, Elizabeth Young, Mary Whitehurst, Mary Valentine, Maria Brien, Ella Smith, Amelia Tiefenback, Annie Davis, Alice Johnston, Mary Cushing, Alice Boulton, Barbary Jackson, Mary Wallace, Ann Dodson, Louisa Riceley, Mary O’Conners, Virginia Page, Ellen Sullivan

MALES. – Rev. John H. Woodcock, Jas. G. Currie.


FEMALES. – Mary Ryan, Delia Clemens, Bridget Grimes, Pauline Smoot, Ann Drake, Margaret Alexander, Elizabeth Dawson, Mary Cordle, Lucy Nicks, Mary Pritchet, Sarah Marshall, Catharine Cavanaugh, Susan Butler, Annie Blankenship, Mary E. Rouke, Caroline Yegingham, Mary J. Andrews, Ella Bennett, Sarah Foster, Mary Mannaham, Ellen O’Brien, Cornelia Mitchell, Mary McDonnell, Catharine Riceley, Dolly A. Folks

MALES. – William Barfoot, Alonzo Owens, John H. Hampton, Sam’l Chappell, Peter Fercron.

Missing and can’t be accounted for, Miss Martha A. Henley. The friends of Miss Henley are anxious to know of her whereabouts, and if any family has her, or know anything of her, will confer a favor by informing Capt. W. W. Smith, Superintendent C. S. Laboratory.

Females – Dead,          31
Males – Dead,              2 – 33
Females – Wounded,    25
Males – Wounded,       5 – 30
Females – Missing        1 – 1
Total,                           64 


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