Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Confederate Powder Mill Explosion in Texas, April 29, 1863

From the Feb. 23, 2013, Waxahachie (Tx) Daily Light by George Cole.

The Confederate gun powder mill operated by William Rowen and Tillman Patterson, located by McMillan and North Rogers streets in Waxahachie was totally destroyed after a series of explosions on April 29, 1863.

It had been established by the Confederate government in Austin in late 1862 or early 1863, but operated there for only a few months before moving.

Five men normally would be at work, but only three were there at the time of the explosion and all were burned severely.  William Rowen and first assistant Joshua G. Phillips later died of their injuries.

David C. Nance survived.  He was a soldier in Parsons' Rangers, Co. E and had been badly wounded at the Battle of Cache River in Arkansas.  Furloughed to return home and recover, he had recovered and been assigned to work in the mill.

The exact cause of the explosion has never been determined.  Some think it might have been Northern sympathizers, others that the inexperience Nance made a mistake.

In 1936, the Texas Historical Commission erected a marker at the approximate site at 306 N. Rogers Street. 

A Dangerous Business.  --Old Secesh

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