From the Richmond Dispatch, 8/4/1861, p. 2
The Railroad Accident. – Further particulars of the lamentable accident on the Central Road have been furnished us, and it seems to have been one of those sad but unavoidable occurrences for which no particular blame could be attached to any of the employees of the road. The rain of Sunday night had been very heavy, and it was feared the little streams, swollen to unusual proportions, might have washed the soft soil from beneath the track in some of the gullies or ravines through which they ran. – About four miles this side the junction with the Fredericksburg Road, there is an embankment through which a culvert ran, at this time filled with a swollen and turbid stream, which made large excavations in the sides as it dashed through. This place was a point of suspicion, and the engineer at the junction telegraphed his fears to this city, and advised the train to proceed with great caution; but, unfortunately, the cars had left the station before the telegram was received. The Superintendent immediately sent word to start out an engine with red lights, to give warning at the spot where it was supposed there was a liability of the track being washed away. – This was done at once; but before reaching the spot, the outward bound train had been precipitated over the embankment, with its freight and passengers, smashing the cars in a frightful manner, and wounding many of the unfortunate soldiers who were on board. The result as given in our paper of yesterday was correct as far as it went, although there were many others who received some slight hurts, bruises, scratches and contusions. A competent medical force was at once dispatched to the scene of the disaster, and every possible attention given to the wounded sufferers, who are now being cared for at the various houses in the vicinity.