From The New York Herald, May 7, 1853 (Morning Edition)
Another Frightful Calamity.
Awful Sacrifice of Human Life
New Haven Railroad.
The Precipitation of a Train of Passenger
Cars into the Norwalk River.
Forty-Five Lives Lost.
Several Persons Seriously Injured.
Names of the Killed, Wounded, and Saved.
The Cause of the Disaster.
Interesting Statements by Eye-Witnesses.
&c., &c., &c.
It becomes our melancholy duty to record another fatal and disastrous accident, in addition to the long list of those which have occurred in different parts of the country during the last few months. About 12 o’clock yesterday we received a telegraphic despatch from Norwalk containing the announcement and some of the particulars of a terrible railroad disaster which happened at that place about 10 o’clock in the morning. The intelligence created a profound sensation throughout the city when it was known that about fifty persons had lost their lives. The New Haven train, consisting of four passenger and two baggage cars, left this city for Boston at 8 o’clock yesterday morning, but reaching the drawbridge at Norwalk the locomotive, tender, one baggage and one passenger car and a half, ran off into the river, which at this point is over six feet deep. Some idea may be formed of the momentum from the fact that the locomotive cleared a distance of about sixty feet, nearly reaching the opposite abutment in its descent to the water. There is no doubt whatever that the accident – if accident it can be called – was caused by the carelessness of the engineer. It appears that the drawbridge was raised to admit the passage of the steamboat Pacific, the usual signal was displayed by the person in charge, and all the other necessary precautions were taken to warn the engineer of his danger. Instead, however, of checking the speed of the train, which should be reduced to at least eight miles an hour when approaching the bridge, he kept it at a rate of twenty miles, so that when he became aware of the presence of danger he found it impossible to prevent the train from falling into the river. The scene which followed was terrible in the extreme. The engine, the tender, and two cars were engulphed (sic) in the water, and the passengers either crushed to death or drowned.
There were one or two cases of escape which were almost miraculous; but among the numerous accident that have occurred recently we do not recollect any [which] was attended with more disastrous results. One of the cars, while suspended over the side of the bridge, was broken in the middle – one half falling into the river, with a portion of its occupants, and the other half remaining on the road. The height of the bridge from the surface of the water is at least twenty feet, so that all the cars which fell in were literally broken in pieces. The engineer and the other officers saved themselves by jumping off when they discovered their proximity to the bridge. The baggage-master, Mr. Fuller, was in one of the cars which fell into the water, but escaped through the side, which was broken in by the terrible force with which it had been precipitated into the water. He was slightly injured in the face. The conductor, Mr. Comstock, was in the second car, but escaped with several severe, though not serious, injuries. Among the passengers were several physicians who had attended the late convention of the Medical Association, held in this city, and who were on their way home. Of these, about six are reported as killed, and many injured. Tho number of dead bodies recovered, according to the latest accounts, is forty-five, 0f which several are so horribly mangled and disfigured as to render recognition impossible.
The express agent was sitting on a trunk in the baggage car, and escaped by forcing his way through the roof, but is badly wounded. A newsboy in the broken car escaped unhurt. An infant, in the care of an aunt, and on its way to its parents in Springfield, was saved, but the aunt was killed.
The town of Norwalk, immediately after the accident, presented a scene of indescribable confusion and excitement. Horror was depicted on every face, and the greatest indignation prevailed towards those whose negligence was the cause of the accident. The wounded have had ample medical attendance, and all possible assistance has been rendered by the ladies of Norwalk and the citizens generally. We may state here that the mails and most of the baggage are saved, but in a damaged condition.
When the news of the accident was received at the hotels in this city the friends and relatives of those who had left in the fatal train were in a state of the most intense anxiety, waiting the particulars of the disaster. Several proceeded to the railroad depot to ascertain their fate – many to learn of their sudden and violent death.
The following are the names of the passengers who boarded at the different hotels, and who left by the eight o’clock train : –
DEPARTURES FROM THE UNION PLACE HOTEL.
Jonathan Trotter, Esq , President of the Board of Assistant Aldermen, in company with his two friends, G. Flint Spear and James Bishop, of New Jersey, and Dr. Pierson, of Salem, Mass., together with several other gentlemen, left the Union Place Hotel, after breakfasting together, and were all in the first passenger car that went down. Mr. Spear, Mr. Trotter and Mr. Bishop escaped by crawling through one of the windows, while the car was full of water, and have returned to the Union Place Hotel, badly injured. Dr. Pierson, of Salem, was killed. George W. Pomeroy, Esq., of this city, placed his wife and little boy in charge of Mr. Spear, at Twenty-seventh street, just as the cars started – Mr. Spear succeeded, by almost superhuman exertions, in saving the boy, but Mrs. Pomeroy was killed. Mr. Spear returned several times under the water to the cars, but was unable to save her; he however succeeded in saving two other boys. Major Leverett Camden and lady also left the Union Place Hotel, but escaped.
In addition to those we have already mentioned as having left the Union Place Hotel by the eight o’clock train, are the following: –
W. Stoddart, and
C. Miller, of Boston.
Mr. Holt and lady, of New Haven.
Mr. Switser, and
Mr. Plummer, of Maire.
Major L. Camden and lady, of New Haven.
DEPARTURES FROM THE METROPOLITAN.
E. W. Peck, Burlington, Vt.
Miss Clark, Boston.
J. B. Bartlett, Maine.
Mr. Barton, Spingfield, Mass.
DEPARTURES FROM THE IRVING.
J. L. Kendridge, and lady, Boston.
Dr. Woodward, Woonsocket, Mass.
Mr. Harris, three children and servant, including in their party Messrs. E. and W. Dunbay, Montgomery, Ala.
DEPARTURES FROM THE AMERICAN.
Mr. Curtis and lady, Steubenville. New York.
Mr. Chamburne and daughter, Racine.
Dr. Bush, Boston.
DEPARTURES FROM THE ST. NICHOLAS.
Dr. F. M. Warren and family, Boston.
L.G. Grant, Richmond, Va.
The last named gentleman is reported severely Injured.
DEPARTURES FROM THE COLLAMORE.
Mrs. and Miss Hubbell and Miss Clarkson left this hotel yesterday morning, but being too late for the eight o’clock train, they want in the eleven o’clock train for Bridgeport.
DEPARTURES FROM THE HOWARD.
Hungerford, New York.
Dr. Gracy, Springfield.
Miss Willard, Springfield.
Dr. Hockbridge, Bath, Me.
Dr. Daniel Thompson, Northampton, Mass.
Edward Sharks, Waterbury.
Dr. John Benson, Waterville, Me.
INCIDENTS OF THE DISASTER.
The engineer and the watchman at the bridge do not agree in their account as to the signal, the engineer asserting that the ball, which served as a signal, was up, signifying that all was right, while the other maintains that it was down. The engineer and fireman have both been arrested.
Mr. Fuller, the baggage-master, was aware, but too late, of the danger, and steadied himself to receive the shock. He was taken out by a boat from his perilous situation. From the manner in which the cars were thrown over it was impossible to get at the dead bodies until holes had been out in the roofs. At the time of the accident it was high water.
Among other touching incidents, a gentleman and lady who were among the saved got separated in the confusion, and each imagined for some time that the (sic) was killed.
Statements of Passengers.
In addition to the foregoing particulars, we have received the following communications from two passengers
STATEMENT BY A PASSENGER.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK HERALD.
Norwalk, May 6, 1863.
One of the most terrible and fatal accidents that your paper has ever chronicled occurred here this morning about fifty minutes past nine, by which no less than fifty souls have been sent to eternity. I started from New York about eight o’clock, in company with a great many of my friends, for Boston; and all passed off in the usual manner until we neared Norwalk, where the bridge was left open, and melancholy to relate, three cars and the engine were precipitated into the river, a distance of about thirty feet from the bridge. The concussion in the last car was very violent, and it was not until I leaped out of it that I knew the extent of the awful catastrophe, which baffled description. Without any delay, I hurried to the edge of the bridge, and there to my horror, I beheld a scene that I shall not forget until the day I die. The engine was stuck deep into the mud on the far side, and was followed by a baggage, smoking and two passenger cars, all of them being totally submerged beneath the surface of the water. The engineer, Mr. Tucker, had a most miraculous escape with his life, but the conductor, Mr. Comstock, did not fare so well. He was in the smoking car at the time, and escaped out of the door into the river; there he was pulled under water three times by the drowning creatures, but eventually succeeded in reaching the shore In a very exhausted condition, his head being severely bruised, his face disfigured, and his wrist dislocated, The melancholy and heart-rending portion of my story yet remains be told. Both of the passenger cars, as I said before, were wholly submerged In the water, the tide being full high at the time, and the loss of life was of course very great. There were, In fact, only about six or seven persons who escaped with their lives; all the rest, amounting to nearly fifty persons, were drowned. These two cars were the only ones in which any lives were lost. The baggage car and smoking car were smashed to pieces, [indistinct] curious to say, not a single life was lost. The baggage-master, Mr. Fuller, who was reported as dead, had a very fortunate escape. A few seconds before the accident took place, knowing that something was wrong, he ran to the door of his car, but could not get out. He then braced himself firmly In the car and prepared for the crash, which took place in a few seconds. The car being broken, he escaped through the wreck uninjured, with the exception of a deep cut across the nose.
As soon as possible the bodies of the unfortunate beings in the two passenger care were fished up, and laid out in the depot and engine room, where an anxious crowd of spectators were endeavoring to identify the bodies. These killed were for the most part men – many of whom were medical men who were returning from the convention held in New York a few days ago. Men were engaged up to a late hour last evening in removing the bodies from the wreck. The excitement in the town is intense, and everybody is of opinion that the accident was caused by the negligence of the engineer, who was properly warned, by the lowering of a ball, that the bridge was up. He, however, never heeded the signal, and drove the cars, at the rate of about twenty miles an hour, into the
middle of the Norwalk river. The passengers In those cars which were not pitched Into the river were not injured in the least. The most curious portion of the account is, that only two or three persons were injured, while not less than fifty souls were, without any warning, hurried before the throne of their Maker. A young married couple from New York, who were proceeding on their honeymoon, were both drowned, and were laid out side by side in the depot. The eight o’clock train from Boston passed through here about four o’clock, the bridge having by that time been safely repaired. The cars from New York were crowded with passengers containing the friends and relations of the killed. Many a bitter tear was shed by them over the corpses of those who, if not for the carelessness of the managers of this road, would be alive and happy, but now are numbered with the dead. The indignation of those passengers who were saved was beyond description. several of them alleging that the engineer should be hung, and others saying he would be shot. This town is about forty-four miles from your city, and stands on the barks of the Norwalk river, up and down which steamboats are continually plying. This melancholy accident occurred In consequence of a steamboat being let through the bridge when the train was about due, thus precipitating the cars right into the bed of the river. This unfortunate accident will cause deep sorrow in many hearts all over the New England States, as those who were lost were chiefly persons residing In the Northern
and Eastern portion of the Union. VIDI.
ACCOUNT BY A PASSENGER FROM BOSTON.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.
The dreadful casualty which occurred on the New York and New Haven Railroad yesterday morning, will have caused a thrill of excitement, horror, and indignation to spread throughout the whole community. Railroad accidents in this country are, God knows, too rife for us to wonder at their occurrence; but I question if ever their has occurred, in this or any other country, one so fatal and deplorable in its results, and so loudly calling for legal and social denunciation. I was one of the passengers who left Boston yesterday morning, by the express train which started at the same hour as that from New York, which had so melancholy a progress. When we reached New Haven we casually learned from some idlers about the station that a dreadful accident had occurred at Washington, and that some thirty persons had fallen victims. This intelligence spread a feeling of mourning and sadness among such of the passengers as heard it, but from lack of particulars we knew not how the truth might be. As we progressed, however, the truth of the rumor became more apparent, the excitement more intense. In Bridgeport the train was crowded to suffocation with persons proceeding to the scene of the accident, the large majority of whom were idlers drawn by curiosity. On reaching the bridge over Norwalk river, at about 3 o’clock P. M., we for the first time realized the horror of the calamity. On the eastern side stood a train from one of the by roads, which had arrived at 10 1/2 A. M., some twenty minutes after the occurrence of the sad event, and whose passengers had remained waiting for the next train for New York. The tide had fallen, the bridge had been restored to its usual condition, but in the channel of the river, some forty feet beneath, lay the shattered remnants of three or four cars – passenger and baggage – around and about which men were actively employed in extracting the bodies of the victims from the ruins. Sadly we crossed the bridge. and listened to the varied details of the circumstances of the horrible event. Here an official, with his face bandaged, was enclosed In a circle of inquirers, gruffly answering to the questions propounded to him; in another place, one or two of those who had been fortunate enough to escape from the wreck, recounting the incidents of their escape, and under a shed by the roadside was a party of Irish immigrants, who, having been in the second class car at the rear, escaped uninjured, but who did not the less vent their curses, deep and loud, on the persons to whose negligence the casualty was attributed. Throughout the whole neighborhood the excitement was most intense, and the bridge, and either shore of the little river, and the farm houses In the vicinity, to which some of the wounded were brought, were crowded with spectators. In the meantime, the remnants of the cars were placed behind an engine, and the train slowly proceeded on its way, taking in it a few of the wounded, but leaving behind great numbers, who were so much deterred that they were afraid to proceed on their journey, and preferred returning to New York.
The spot where the accident occurred is just outside (east) of the Village of Norwalk, some forty-four miles from New York. The Norwalk river is here crossed by a wooden bridge, there being a draw over the channel, to enable steamboats or sailboats to pass through. From all I could learn from the survivors and others, the calamity was owing to the Ignorance, stupidity, or recklesness (sic) of the engineer in charge of the train. A steamboat was passing through on its way to New York; the bridge was drawn to admit its passage; the usual signal was given – this consisting of the lowering of a ball, which always stands elevated and visible at a mile distance when the bridge is right – but the train, which did not, as usual slack speed in coming through the village, bore on under
a full pressure, proceeding at the rate of thirty miles an hour until the danger was seen when inevitable, and locomotive, tender, baggage car, and two passenger cars, were precipitated into the depth beneath. A gentleman who was about passing under the arch in his boat, drew aside when he heard the train dashing up, and was witness to the horrible occurrence. Of the passengers in the cars which fell into the river, perhaps some half a dozen only were saved; the rest, nearly fifty in number, were offered up a hecatomb to the Molock of the railway. The engine driver, on recognizing the terrible reality of the peril, jumped off the engine and escaped with a broken leg and some bruises. The firemen, brakemen and baggage masters followed his example, so that all the servants of the company escaped with their lives. I learned in Norwalk that the engine driver was arrested and taken in charge by the police. Perhaps it was good for him that such a measure was taken, as it might be hard for him to escape the Incensed vengeance of the people. Indeed, Mr. Editor, I don’t know but it would have a good effect if the engineers, switch tenders, and some of the directors of our railroads were occasionally made to feel the force of Lynch law. I am informed that the engine driver, whose name I have not heard, was dismissed by the company some two years since, on account of an accident which then occurred with the train under his charge, and that he has since been to California, and had been restored on but Wednesday last. And it is his excuse that he did not understand the bridge-man’s signal. If this be so, the directors should be made responsible for his Ignorance, and punished as severely as he would be if he could have made no such plea, but had caused the calamity through sheer carelessness. I think, too, that the Legislature might do much for the travelling (sic) public if they would impose a deodand of one or two thousand dollars on railroad companies for each life lost through carelessness or otherwise on their roads. Until that, or Lynch law is put into practice, I fear, Mr. Editor, the community will be still liable to the [torn area of page] that of four times in which I have been travelling on the New Haven Railroad I have encountered three serious accidents – one in April, 1861, when a car in which I was ran off the track, near Bridgeport, seriously Injuring many passengers; one in October, when a car ran into the canal at Windsor lock, killing two persons; and this last is the third time. H. G. H.
INTERESTING STATEMENTS BY EYE WITNESSES-THE WAY THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED.
We have received the following letter from Mr. James A. Renaud, of Norwalk, engineer of the steamboat Pacific, which plies between this city and Norwalk, also the confirmatory statement of Capt. Byxbee, of the Pacific: –
New York, May 6, 1853.
James Gordon Bennett, Esq.: –
SIR – I witnessed the terrible accident on the New York and New Haven Railroad, which occurred at ten o’clock this morning. The place where it happened is called South Norwalk Village, where there is a drawbridge across the Norwalk river. The drawbridge had been raised to permit the passage of the steamboat Pacific. I am the engineer of that boat, and was on board her at the time the accident occurred. We had got about thirty or forty yards from the draw when we heard the cars coming. I walked immediately aft and stood on the guard, where I could see everything thing that happened. The cars were then coming at full speed. The draw was wide open and the ball was down. This ball is used for a signal. When it is up it signifies that all is right. The locomotive was under such headway when it ran off that before it reached the water it struck the abutment on the opposite side – a distance of about sixty feet, The tender, baggage ear, and two mail cars came next. Two passenger cars went into the opening on top of what had preceded them; the third broke in the middle, and half of it went down. In this third car two were killed outright, and many more were hurt. How many in all were killed I do not know, but before I left, at twelve o’clock noon, between thirty and forty had been taken out dead. They were horribly bruised and mangled. One beautiful young girl, about sixteen years old, had the back of her head knocked in. There was one child about four months old, and many other children, killed. The engineer and fireman of the train, when they
saw the ball down, jumped off before the cars reached the bridge.
When the cars ran off those in the rear ones screamed terrifically. We put right back and rendered what assistance we could. People went to cutting the cars with axes and taking out the dead. Not one that was taken out of the second car was alive. The excitement was intense; women were running down with quilts to cover the dead; others were vainly striving to restore to life the poor victims as they were taken out.
We brought back a few of the passengers to this city, but most of them preferred to remain there.
Very respectfully, yours,
JAMES A. RENAUD,
Engineer steamboat Pacific.
Most of the details stated above I myself witnessed, and I believe the above account to be strictly correct.
Captain steamboat Pacific.
ANOTHER LETTER FROM THE SCENE OF DISASTER.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK HERALD.
Norwalk, May 6, 9 1/2 o’clock, P. M.
I came up in the first cars after hearing of the murders here – in the 5 o’clock train – and reached the station house a little after 7. Ten miles below, we heard that forty-nine dead; bodies had been taken from the water, and as members of my family and dear friends were among the passengers it was with the most fearful apprehensions that I entered the morgue where the dead – the murdered – lay in ranks, their faces gleaming horribly, as lamps were parried along to enable the newly arrived strangers to discover whether their wives arid children, or parents, or brothers, or sisters, were among them. I have very frequently seen dead men and women, but never before so frightful an exhibition. The males were in one large and rude apartment, and the females in another; and both were dark, except as lighted fitfully and imperfectly by candles and lamps, of which the rays could scarcely penetrate more than an arm’s length from the holder.
Every house in the village is a hospital. Every family is devoted to the care of the suffering and the dying. The three physicians who reside there – Dr. Lynes, Dr. Sammis, and Dr. McLeon, are unwearied in their attentions – going from house to house, and chamber to chamber, without rest, all the while – but more are needed, and I hope some of the profession will come up in the next train from the city.
Among the dead there are many who will regret to learn is the amiable and accomplished artist, Mr. Hicks. In the same one with him was the wife of the Rev. Dr. Griswold and his daughter. Mrs. Griswold is not dangerously injured, but the daughter is still unconscious, and there seems to be but faint hopes of her recovery. In the same house with her, (Mr. Quintard’s, to be specifically praised for the most active and judicious kindness of the day) is Mr. Grant, of Richmond, and five others. I write from the residence of Mr. Guyer, who, with his family, have in the same way deserved every praise ever awarded to the most self-sacrificing humanity.
I learn that there was no crying – no apparent excitement – at the time of the catastrophe. Every one seemed frightfully calm; and the utmost presence of mind and energy were exhibited by the citizens of the village and others in rescuing the unfortunate living and dead.
The train for New York is coming and I must close, but I will write again in the morning.
The Very latest Particulars
On our arrival at the Norwalk station in the half-past 3 o’clock train, a large crowd of persons were congregated around the car house, where the dead had been deposited for recognition. On entering the building terrible was the scene exposed to view, the majority of the dead lay side by side, some of whom bore the marks of violence on their heads and faces, caused by the fragments of the broken cars, while others looked calm and placid who had died by suffocation in the water. In fact, the majority of deaths appeared to have been caused by drowning. We passed from this into a small room,
and there saw eleven more bodies, who had been recognized, and the friends were preparing to take them away. Among this wholesale slaughter of human lives were many gentleman of the medical profession, who had the night previous been guests at the complimentary dinner given by the profession of New York, and who were on their return home to their families.
We next visited the scene of the wreck, and notwithstanding it was some six or seven hours after the catastrophe, a large number of persons were still looking at the spot, and many workmen were engaged removing the wreck where the sad affair occurred. The drawbridge is situated at some three hundred yards from the station, around a curve. About half past tea o’clock in the morning, William Harford lowered the signal and opened the drawbridge to allow the steamboat Pacific to pass through for New York. Scarcely had the steamboat cleared he bridge, and before time was allowed for the bridge-master to close the draw again, round came the express train at fall speed, estimated as running thirty miles the hour, and in an instant the locomotive bounded off at the end of the bridge, striking against the abutment of the draw, and burying itself in the river, the tender, baggage cars followed and on the top, and two of the passenger cars, all of which were submerged in the water, and the half of one other passenger car was shattered off with the concussion. Here the scene was terrific. The shrieks of the sufferers for assistance is said by those who were within hearing to have been the most heart-rending. Unfortunately it was high tide at the time of the accident, thereby making the water some twenty-five feet deep. Had It not been for this circumstance the loss of
life would have been considerably diminished. Many citizens of Norwalk witnessed the approach of the train, and some of them called out to the engineer to stop, as they foresaw the danger; but no heed was taken, and from the speed at which the locomotive was then going, it was unable to stop in season to prevent the [torn section]. The engineer, whose [torn section] beholding the danger, sprang from the locomotive, followed by one of the firemen, and the train passed on headlong into the river. Many
incidents occurred at the scene of the disaster. A gentleman, after extricating himself, saved an infant child who was under the care of an aunt; the aunt, it seems, was drowned. A man who saved himself by breaking the window, sprang on the car and called out for an axe to chop open the car to extricate his wife. Several boatmen in the vicinity hastened with their boats and were the means of saving many lives. Mr. Fluent was married the night previous, and his bride was one of the unfortunate sufferers. Mr. Larchier, one of the dead, had on his person a very large amount of money, which
has been taken possession of by Mr. Warner, cashier of the Plainfleld County Bank, Connecticut.
All the watches, jewelry, and other valuables taken from the bodies of the deceased, are in the possession of Justice Weed, acting Coroner.
During the day and evening the trains of cars from New York and Boston brought a large number of persons to the scene of calamity, in search of their friends and relatives. Mr. Robbins, of this city, knowing that his mother and sister were on board that train, arrived at Norwalk by the five o’clock train, and there found his fears realized by the announcement of the death of both his mother and sister.
The lateness of the hour, being compiled to go to press prevents a continuation of the details consequent upon the calamity.
THE INQUEST UPON THE BODIES.
About half-past seven o’clock Id the evening an investigation was commenced in the Marine Hall, North Norwalk, before John A. Weed, Justice of the Peace, and the following
Henry Sellick, Foreman
Doctor Charles Fitch
J. W. Hubball
T. Warner, Jr.
E. W. Stewart
L. L. Beebe
S. E. Ormsted
Having performed the painful duty of viewing the corpses, the jury took their seats In the Hall, which was crowded.
O S. Ferry, (Norwalk,) being duly sworn, deposed –
I saw the accident which occurred to day; I was standing about twenty rods above the bridge at the time; I had a full view of the train and the drawbridge; the signal was down for full ten minutes before the train was in sight; the train was going at full speed, so much so that the locomotive struck the abutment of the draw upon the opposite side; in my opinion I do not think that the man in charge of the draw was to blame, but that the engineer in charge of the train was wholly and entirely to blame; I did not hear a whistle given to put on the “brakes,” I am certain that the parties having charge of the train are to blame; I heard no signal given to slack speed; I heard a long whistle when the train was opposite the depot at Norwalk.
Captain Peter Addley, (Gardiner, Me.) sworn – Was a passenger in the train, sitting In the second car; did not notice the speed of the train to slacken at all; I heard no whistle; I think the conductor of the train was in the rear car at the time of the accident.
Stephen Ormsted, sworn – I was in company with Mr. Ferry at the time of the accident; I saw the signal ball at the draw down; I am sure it was down; I heard no whistling; the steamer had just passed through the draw.
W. H. D. Moore,(Philadelphia,) sworn – I was a passenger in the train; there was no slackening of speed when we were approaching the bridge and passing the curve; I heard no whittle to “brake up.”
F. E. Barton,(Springfield, Mass ) – I was in the train as a passenger; I think the train was driving at full speed passing the curve; there was no letting up of speed from the time we left the station at Stamford.
J. G. Gooderich, (Strockbridge, Mass.) – I was in the last car but one of the train at the time of the accident; I did not perceive any slackening of speed when passing the curve or nearing the bridge; I did not hear the whistle of the engine blow.
Rev. D. R. Austen, (Norwalk) – I was standing near to the bridge at the time of the accident; the train came on at full speed; did not hear any whistle.
The Rev. gentleman coroborated (sic) the testimony of the other witnesses in all its important features.
Mr. Burrell, sworn – The engineer of the train, Edward Tucker, had been in the employ of the New Haven Company at the time of the Port Chester accident, about two years ago; he had been away since; Mr. Whistler, who is present, can give a more full explanation of the rules of the road and circumstances attending the accident than I can; he is now present.
Geoige W. Whistler Jr., sworn – The persons in charge of a train can see the signal red ball, which is at the draw, from about quarter of. a mile above Norwalk; after that, they lose sight of it, in my opinion, at the station; if the signal be lowered from the time at which it is first seen snd the time of losing sight of it at the station, the engineer could still “brake up” by slackening speed to the rate of ten miles an hour, as he came to the curve; they are in all cases ordered to approach that curve cautiously; they are not to exceed a speed of ten miles an hour; if he saw the signal down when just at the station, he could not stop until he reached the bridge; the signal is always lowered before the man touches the draw; he has then to go to each, end of the bridge to get out the wedges; the engineer of a train is under the direction of the conductor; I have heard as a general report that the conductor told the engineer ” to drive like hell through Norwalk, as two gentlemen wanted to get out there, and he did not wish to stop.” The accident, most positively, could not have occurred if the engineer kept a proper look out. I think the fault was entirely with the engineer – if the train stopped at Norwalk it would attain a rate of ten or twelve miles an hour, before reaching the draw,
This witness was still upon the stand when our reporters left, in order to catch the last train to this city.
The melancholy investigation will be resumed this morning.
Names of the Killed.
The following it a list of the dead, so far as had been ascertained up to the time we went to press: –
1. Dr. Samuel Beach, Bridgeport, Conn.
2. Dr. John G. Gray, Springfield, Mass.
3. Walter French, Manchester, New Hampshire.
4. Lady, supposed to be Mrs. Parker, of Woodbury, Ct.
5. Nathaniel King, Athena, Ohio
6. Francis W. Sales, Boston.
7. A. M. Hutchinson, Boston.
8. Dr. Walh, Hartford, Conn.
9. Dr. M. Opendock, Worcester.
10. Female child, about 4 months old.
11. Oliver Barr, agent Antioch College, Ohio.
12. D. W. Demosh, Marshfield, Comm.
13. Lady, unknown.
14. Lady, unknown; on gold ring M. J.
15. Ellen Goss, Poughkeepsie.
16. Ellen S. Bacon, Boston.
17. Jacob G. Van DeVenter, New York.
18. W. C. Dwight, Brooklyn.
19. Man, unknown.
20. Rev. John Henry Lehrs, Williamsburg.
21. Mrs.. J. M. Fluent.
22. Hannah B. Long.
23. John Moss, Gardiner, Maine.
24. Mrs. Dr. Landey,
25. Beverly Parker.
26. Maria Robbins, New York.
27. Dr. J. W. Smith, Springfield, Mass.
28. Samson Smith, Bellows Falls, Vermont.
29. Mrs. Hanna, New York.
30. Suaan Pomeroy.
31. Miss Mary E. Robbins, New York.
32. Mrs. G. R. Sparks, Pittsfield, Mass.
33. Josiah Bartlett, M.D., Mass.
34. Abel L. Pierson, Salem, Mass.
35. Iaaac P. Colbath, Richmond, Maine.
36. J. B. Hotchkiss.
37. Female child, 4 years old.
38. David P. Newell.
39. A. L. Deseque, a lady.
40. Norman Parker, Woodbury, Conn.
41. Alice Carrigan.
42. Miss Mitchell, of Hartford.
43. B. S. Davies
Among the coffins brought to the railroad depot in this [torn] was one labeled Miss Jane Parker, but it is confidently stated by those who knew the lady that is contains the body of another person.
Names of the Injured
Jonathan Trotter, Eaq, President of the Board of Assistant Aldermen of this city – slightly bruised. Had a most narrow escape from death, he was sitting alongside, of Mr. Vandeventer, from New York, who was killed. When our reporter arrived Mr. Trotter was very much depressed in spirits, but then more comfortable, having been visited by Dr. Quakenboss.
Mr. James Mills. much bruiaed.
Mrs. Mills, (his wife,) much bruised.
Miss Griswold, daughter of the Bev. Mr. Griswald, of this city, dangerously injured.
John Colbach, Richmond, Maine, (brother killed ) Had his right aim dislocated. It had been reduced before our reporter left.
Mr. Fuller, baggage-master, slightly injured.
Mr. Charles Comstock, conductor, very severely injured, having received a deep wound upon the chin, many extensive bruises, and a lacerated wound of the inner part of the flesh of this right thigh. Dr. Quackenboss had visited him, and a rather alarming delirium was then subsiding. He will recover.
Names of Persons Saved.
|1. Mrs. Moore,
|48. Mrs. Macy,
|2. Doctor Thompson,
|49. G. Starbuck,
|3. Mrs. Thompson (his wife)
|50. F. Dillingham,
|4. Miss Adams,
|51. T. Cooper,
|5. J. Nutting,
|52. W. Bacon,
|6. S. Nutting,
|53. S. S. Robins,
|7. S. A Spooner,
|54. P. Cock,
|8. Doctor Romer,
|56. M. J. Whetmore.
|9. E. Taylor,
|57. D. Dickinson,
|10. D. L. Hungeford,
|58. N. Marvin.
|11. B Hodges,
|59. H. S. Wilcox,
|12. Mr. Andrew,
|60. G. Switherinton
|13. Mrs. Andrew (his lady,)
|61. Dr. Talcott,
|14. Doctor Gloss,
|62. Mr. Whitney,
|15 Mr. Jameson,
|63. Dr. Levi Ives,
|16. M. Murray,
|64. Mrs. B. Goodnow,
|17. E. Schmidt
|65. Miss Haywood,
|18. J. Eugeno,
|66. D. Woodward,
|19. E. Heath,
|67. George Meeck,
|20. E Stetson,
|68. L. D. Fisher,
|21. J. P. Ingalls,
|69. Mr. Conda,
|22. J. D. Stewart,
|70. Mrs. Conda,
|23. His son,
|71. E. Heath,
|24. Mary E. Clarke,
|72. J. Dresser,
|25. B. Payne,
|78. J. Mills,
|26. E. Martin,
|74. Mrs. Mills,
|27. E. Martin,
|75. R. Palmer,
|28. E. Murray,
|76. Mrs. Palmer,
|29. Doctor Nevins,
|77. E. D. Kinsley,
|30. Miss. Nevins, (his lady) and family.
|78. Miss Kinsley,
|31. J. Newton.
|79. E. Stackpole,
|32. Mrs. Newton,
|80. C. Willard,
|33. J. L. Huntress,
|81. M. D. Scott,
|34. Doctor Jones,
|82. W. B. Hotchkiss,
|35. J. Gilbert,
|83. P. Adley,
|36. His son,
|84. Charles Francis,
|37. M. Hurtt.
|85. M. T. Grinnell,
|38. B. Peabody,
|86. P. Young,
|39. D. Russell,
|87. A. Castle,
|40. G. E. Teller,
|88. H. Holbrook,
|41. H. H. Moore,
|89. Dr. Russell,
|42. E. Savage,
|90. George Elmer,
|43. G. Hodges,
|91. J. McCarthy,
|44. G. Bernard,
|92. D. Curtiss,
|45. J. S. Peck,
|93. Mrs Curtiss,
|46. J. Hart
|94. W. G. Ransom,
|47. P. Macy,
|95. F. A. Barton,
|96. J. H. Strong,
With some few others.
THE EXCITEMENT AT NEW HAVEN.
New Haven. May 6 – P. M.
The railroad accident creates intense excitement here, but fortunately none of our own citizens appear to have been seriously injured.
Two of our citizens, Dr. Ives and L. D. Wilcoxen went down under water in the baggage car, but broke out and escaped.
Source: The New York herald. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]), 07 May 1853. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030313/1853-05-07/ed-1/seq-1/>