The Great Shohola Train Wreck Page6
Courtesy of Scott J. Payne, NY

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(2010-21a) Enlarge Possible location of burial trenches

At 9 p.m., a train was sent from Port Jervis with provisions, and due to the kindness of the railroad officials, a New York Tribune reporter was permitted to visit the scene. Upon their arrival at Shohola around 10 p.m., they found most of the wounded had been brought to the village and were occupying the freight and passenger rooms and adjoining platforms. Over sixty injured lay in this locality and several more in the Shohola House across the road. As the severely wounded passed away, the bodies were collected in the freight station to be returned to the crash site for burial


(2010-24) Enlarge Looking towards Delaware River

Railroaders and prisoners who survived the wreck dug a trench 76 feet long, 8 feet wide and 6 feet deep between the track and the Delaware River. Crude pine coffins were cobbled together with pieces from the wreckage. The remains of the prisoners were placed four in a coffin. Toward midnight conventional pine coffins arrived from Port Jervis for the Union dead, who were laid in individual graves. According to the Elmira Advertiser, there were 48 Confederate and 17 Unionists buried there


(2010-25) Enlarge Looking north

The dead at King and Fuller's Cut continued to be buried throughout the night until the dawn of the 16th. By 9:00 A.M. on July 16 four more men had died and were taken to the common grave at King and Fuller's Cut


(2010-26) Enlarge Looking south, towards Shohola

There are a variety of estimates as to the exact number of casualties, depending on the source. During the night, a heavy guard was placed around the Southerners. Later there was criticism of the railroad for the quick burial of the dead on the grounds that a more thorough body identification should have been made. But the mutilated condition of some of the corpses made this impossible. The July heat and sanitary conditions demanded the need for burial as soon as possible


(2010-26a) Enlarge The following day the track was cleared and a new train made up to take the prisoners and some of the injured to Elmira. The new train consisted of twenty cars, the first six being fitted with hay covering the floors. Seven of the injured would require amputation when they arrived at Elmira. Within a week of the wreck all surviving prisoners were delivered to Elmira Prison


(2010-27) Enlarge During an inquest held at Shohola, everyone connected with the wreck was exonerated, including Duff Kent, who gave the coal train the right-of-way. He should have known the train carrying the prisoners was on the track. Persistent reports say that he was a drinker and could have been under the influence of alcohol. He did not take the wreck very seriously and according to a story, which circulated, he went to Hawly to attend a dance. The next day the public became so incensed with his actions that Kent left for parts unknown and was never heard from again

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