Michael James Barnett    1840–1920  Mobile's Great Magazine Explosion of 1865 

Mobile's Great Magazine Explosion

Artist's conception of havoc wrought by the great magazine explosion,
as it appeared in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper on June 17, 1865.
Image from http://www.familyoldphotos.com/8c/2g/great_magazine_explosion_mobile.htm
A lower resolution image is shown at http://www3.gendisasters.com/8322/mobile-al-great-magazine-explosion-may-1865

The diary entry for July 25 describes hearing of the Great Magazine Explosion in Mobile. The magazine (a storage facility for 200 tons of ammunition and gunpowder) exploded with such devastating force that much of the city was leveled and several hundred people died.

The cause of the explosion is not known, but the general assumption is that it was caused by carelessness of a worker at the site, either lighting a pipe or dropping a concussion shell.

Although the devastation was great, the Union soldiers and sailors occupying Mobile, together with Mobile's citizens, did what they could to tend to the dead and wounded.

Summary of the Disaster
From Highlights of 75 years in Mobile, Mobile, Ala.: First National Bank of Mobile, 1940, pages 6 and 7, reproduced at GenDisasters.com

Further Details of the Disaster
From theJanesville Weekly Gazette, Janesville WI, 8 Jun 1865, reproduced at GenDisasters.com

Return to Michael James Barnett

Return to Gordon R. Morgan of Tallahassee