The Great Shohola Train Wreck Page4
Courtesy of Scott J. Payne, NY

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(2010-8) Enlarge ( Evans) “In a very short time a score of people arrived from the village, and the work of removing the dead and rescuing the wounded began. There were bodies impaled on iron rods and splintered beams. Headless trunks were mangled between telescoped cars. From the wreck of the head car thirty-seven of the thirty-eight prisoners it contained were taken out dead….Three of the four guards on the car were also taken out dead…. From the wrecked cars thirty-three of the guards were taken, twenty of whom were dead


(2010-10) Enlarge (Evans) Fifty or more of the prisoners were killed, and at least 100 or more wounded, a number of the wounded dying soon after they were removed from the wreck. The fireman of the coal train was instantly killed. His engineer escaped by jumping. The engineer of our train was caught in the awful wreck of his engine, where he was held in plain sight, with his back against the boiler, and slowly roasted to death. With his last breath he warned away all who went near to try and aid him, declaring that there was danger of the boiler exploding and killing them. Taken all in all, that wreck was a scene of horror such as few, even in the thick of battle, are ever doomed to be a witness of. And, as we heard during the day, it was all caused by a wrong order given to the engineer of the coal train by a drunken dispatcher somewhere up the road…”


(2010-11) Enlarge King and Fuller's Cut

Union and Confederate soldiers who managed to escape the horrors of battle died in equally horrific ways, far from the battlefield. A high hill shut out the view of the opposing trains until they were closer than 100 yards apart. The trains met head-on in a crash that shook the earth and rattled stones from the river bank. The hills on both sides of tracks eerily muffled the tremendous noise of the impact. The reverberations startled the farmers in their fields and brought the farm women from their kitchens


(2010-12) Enlarge King and Fuller's Cut

Indeed it was impossible for Engineer Ingram to see the coal train until almost at the very second of impact. Fireman Tuttle, busy on the cab deck, was in no position to see the coal train. Engineer Hoitt was the first to sight the rapidly approaching danger, for he leaped from the engine and thus escaped death. The leading box-car of the troop train was reduced to kindling wood as the second car knifed through it, forced there by the tons of box cars behind it. The tender of the troop train was heaved on end, tossing its load of firewood into the engine cab, pinning Ingram and Tuttle against the hot boiler-head. Steam pipes burst, filling the cab with scalding vapors. Tuttle was killed instantly, but Ingram lived long enough to warn off would-be rescuers, then died where he stood, horribly burned and walled in by cord wood


(2010-13) Enlarge King and Fuller's Cut

Of the 37 men riding in the car, 36 were killed outright. The lone survivor was thrown clear. The greatest loss of life was suffered in the first three cars where over a hundred Confederates and Federal guards were riding. Seven or eight of the next cars were so badly damaged that they were later declared unfit for use, and no car escaped undamaged. Prisoners and guards were hurled everywhere by the collision, killing some, injuring many


(2010-14) Enlarge Chaplain Scott J. Payne honors the 51 Confederate soldiers who died at the wreck site

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