[As reported in the St. Louis Missouri Republican]
[Missouri Republican, December 2, 1842]
STEAM BOAT ACCIDENT
Mr. Papin, Clerk of the Gen. Pratte, arrived here this morning ; from him we learn the following painful particulars:
On Thursday morning, the 24th ult., about 2 o'clock, when about 12 miles above Memphis, the steam boat Gen. Pratte was discovered to be on fire, between the wheel house and privy. The fire originated from the sparks. The wind was blowing very strong at the time. Captain Casey, Clerk, Mate, and Carpenter, were all up at the time. An effort was made to extinguish it by water from buckets, but it soon became apparent that this was impossible.
The Captain then ordered her to be run ashore, and the passengers to be awakened. So rapidly did the flames spread, that there was hardly time to arouse the passengers before she was a complete sheet of flames. Fortunately, the Pilot and Engineer retained their presence of mind, and stuck to their posts. One wheel was unshipped, and she was run on to the foot of Beef Island. It so happened, that she had a long flat in tow at the time, which lay in between the boat and the shore, and to this is ascribed the preservation of the lives of the passengers.
The Pratte had on board about twenty cabin and about five hundred deck passengers. It was with great difficulty that numbers of them, especially the children were aroused in time to save them, and it is believed that if the Captain and his officers had not exerted themselves at the risk of their own lives, many of them would have perished. As it was, every one on board, it was