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.