From the Richmond Examiner, 8/6/1862, p. 2, c. 6

FATAL LABORATORY EXPLOSION – ONE MAN KILLED AND ANOTHER INJURED. – About twenty minutes past eleven o’clock yesterday morning a loud report was heard in the city from the direction of the trial ground for the guns from the Tredegar Iron Works, and at first it was thought the report originated from the testing of one of the guns. It was soon ascertained, however, that the noise of the explosion proceeded from the blowing up of a portion of the Confederate States Laboratory Works, situated on Brown’s island, opposite the Tredegar Works. The explosion occurred in a small frame building where the fulminating powder for percussion caps was prepared. The building was blown to pieces, and Wm. Pratt, engaged at work therein, was instantly killed, his body being dreadfully mangled and torn. Michael Gohean, an Irishman, who was working outside, was knocked down by the concussion and badly cut and bruised by the flying timber, but his injuries were believed not to be serious.

Of course nothing is known of the cause of the catastrophe, as the deceased, Pratt, was the only person in the building.

No coroner’s investigation had been instituted up to yesterday afternoon. Pratt was about nineteen years of age, unmarried, and resided in the city. Gohean also resides in the city, whither he was brought yesterday.

The pecuniary loss by the explosion will not be great, nor will it interrupt seriously the business of the Laboratory.


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