The Great Shohola Train Wreck Page5
Courtesy of Scott J. Payne, NY

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(2010-15) Enlarge Chaplain Scott J. Payne and another visitor to the site honor the men who were killed that hot July day in 1864


(2010-17) Enlarge Possible location of burial trenches

Most of the Union guards riding on the open platforms lost their lives as the wooden coaches telescoped into one another, some splitting open and strewing their human contents onto the tracks where flying glass, splintered wood, and jagged metal killed or injured them.
The two ruptured engine tenders towered over the wreckage, their massive floor timbers snapped like matchsticks. Those riding in the last cars of the troop train escaped death, though many were injured


(2010-18) Enlarge Possible location of burial trenches

Union officers quickly threw a ring of uninjured guards around the scene to prevent a mass escape of the Confederates, though few of the prisoners entertained such thoughts at the time. Despite this precaution five rebels took advantage and were never retaken. One was said to have lived for many years afterward in the town of Matamoras, Pennsylvania, some 20 miles away. Another, who was hired by a local farmer, stayed through harvest season, eventually growing homesick, he joined the Union army in order to be sent sent South. As fate would have it, he was put in charge of a group of Confederate prisoners, one being his very own brother


(2010-19) Enlarge Possible location of burial trenches

At least 51 Confederate prisoners and an official total of 17 Union guards died either on the spot or within a day of the wreak. Thirteen soldiers of the 51st North Carolina Infantry lost their lives in a few seconds. Confederate corpses were laid in rows, the most hideously mangled among them were covered with grass and leaves. The Union dead were wrapped in blankets and set apart from the Confederate. North Carolina infantryman Albert G. Smith wrote to his wife,
"I got heart [hurt] in coming up hear by the cars running together but I am not confined. We are faring very well and are treated very kind, more so then I thought we would be."


(2010-20) Enlarge Possible location of burial trenches

A messenger was dispatched to Shohola for assistance. The injured were conveyed to Shohola on the wagons and carriages of farmers and villagers. Six doctors rendered medical attention with help from volunteers from Shohola and Barryville, a hamlet across the Delaware River in New York. The village of Shohola housed over 100 injured as well as uninjured prisoners and guards. They were brought to the Shohola railroad station and Chauncey Thomas’ Shohola Hotel. Townsfolk from both Shohola and from Barryville immediately sprang into action, bringing milk, bread, cake, and tea along with bandages and sheets for the wounded


(2010-21) Enlarge Possible location of burial trenches

The prisoners at first were fearful of being poisoned by the Yankees, but soon realized that, although they were enemies, they were kindly taken care of. The site led one newspaper reporter to compare the scene to
“tales of blood, scenes of slaughter, and the accumulated horrors of the battlefield…{brought} to us, face to face, amid the quiet of civil life. ”

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