It appears to us that the new steamboat law has become a dead letter on our Western waters. Never before in all the dark history of Mississippi steam navigation, have more steamers been burned in the same space of time than from the beginning of the present year up to this date. Some of these disasters, with the awful consequences attending them, we have noticed in former numbers, and now we have to add another to the dread catalogue. On the 22d of last month, the Ocean Spray was consumed by fire about five miles above St. Louis while racing with the Hannibal City, and although it was broad daylight, the flames spread so rapidly that a great number of the passengers lost their lives. The testi-timony of those who were saved goes to prove that turpentine was sprinkled among the coals in the bunkers, and this took fire from the furnace, when the entire destruction of the vessel followed. What report will the inspectors for that district make of this horrible I affair?
This article was originally published with the title "Burning of Western Steamers" in Scientific American 13, 36, 281 (May 1858)