From the Richmond Dispatch, 3/16/1863, p. 1, c. 5
The Late Dreadful Explosion on Brown’s Island. – The loss of life by the dreadful explosion at the Laboratory on Brown’s Island, on Friday last, proves far greater than was even at first supposed. Up to 3 o’clock yesterday the explosion had proved fatal to thirty three of those engaged at work at the scene of the disaster. This is a result dreadful to think of, carrying as it does the seeds to never-dying anguish in the bosoms of many families in our midst. We learn that hardly one employed in the room used for breaking up condemned cartridges escaped injury of some nature or other on the fatal occasion. The list of killed and wounded which we publish shows with what concentrated power of destructiveness the powder had. Many of the victims were dreadfully burned about the body not only by the exploding of the powder, but by the inflammable material which composed their dresses to which fire was almost instantly communicated. Many of the poor creatures who were enable to rescue themselves from the debris of the building ran about the island shrieking in their anguish, the clothes in flames, and themselves resembling avenging furies, while others who were too far disabled to move were stretched on litters and after being attended to were borne off uttering feeble moans, the forerunners with many of them of approaching death. One, frantic and blazing, ran towards one of the buildings in which was stored enough of combustibles to have rent in fragments every tenement on the island. She was seized and stopped by one of the workmen just in time to bar her entrance.
It is now pretty definitely ascertained that the explosion came from the ignition of a friction cannon primer at which one of the girls, Mary Ryan, was working.
Acting Coroner Sanxay, with High Constable Freeman, visited the scene of the accident on Saturday, but, exercising his own judgment, did not deem an inquest necessary for obvious reasons.
The funerals of many of the victims took place yesterday.
We are requested by Capt. Smith to state that any family having Miss Burley, a missing employee, in their care, or knowing anything of her, will confer a favor by leaving the information with him.
Work will not probably be resumed on the island before the middle of the week. The funeral of the Rev. Jno. Woodcock, who died from his injuries, took place yesterday evening, from Trinity Church, Broad street, of which he was an elder and leading member for many years. The large attendance of persons present proved the estimation in which he was held by his fellow citizens.
In the different churches yesterday subscriptions were taken up for the benefit of the sufferers. The citizens, also, on Saturday, responded nobly to the calls made on them for the same object.
We append a list of the killed, wounded, and missing:
Died from their injuries – Females: Adaline Meyer, Mary O’Brien, Martha Daley, Julia Brannon, Nannie Horin, Mary Rowlin, Catharine McCarty, Mary Zegingham, Mary Whitehurst, Sarah Haney, Mary A Garnett, Mary Archer, Eliza Willis, Elizabeth Moore, Francis Blassingame, Elizabeth Young, Mary Valentine, Mariah Brein, Ella Smith, Amelia Tiefenbach, Annie Davis, Alice Johnson, Mary Cushing, Alice Boulton, Barbary Jackson, Mary Wallace, Ann Dodson, Louisa Ricely, Ellen Sullivan, Mary O’Conners, Virginia Page. Males: Rev. John H. Woodcock, James G. Currie.
Wounded. – Mary Ryan, Delia Clemens, Bridget Grimes, Pauline Smoot, Ann Drake, Margaret Alexander, Elizabeth Dawson, Mary Cordle, Lucy Wicks, Mary Pritchett, Sarah Marshall, Catharine Cavanaugh, Annie Blankenship, Mary E Rouke, Caroline Zegingham, Mary J Andrews, Ella Bennett, Sarah Foster, Mary Maunaham, Ellen O’Brien, Cornelia Mitchell, Mary McDonnell, Catharine Riceley, Dolly A Folkes, Susan Butler. Males – William Barfoot, Alonzo Owens, John H Hampton, Samuel Chappell, Peter Fereron.
Missing and cannot be accounted for – Miss Martha A Burley.
Aggregate, - Deaths: females, 31; males, 2. – Wounded: females, 25; males, 5. Total killed and wounded, 64.