Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The General Lyon Disaster

From Wikipedia.

We are coming up on the 150th anniversary of this tragic sinking off North Carolina's Cape Hatteras.  The Army Transport steamer was loaded with Union soldiers and evidently some former prisoners as in the case of James O'Rorke who was listed in one source as being from Andersonville prison camp.

One recently discharged Illinois regiment, the 56th Illinois,  lost all but five of its 205 members.  Deaths are put at 500, making it one of the worst U.S. maritime disasters.

Another ship returning former Union prisoners is a little more famous, the SS Sultana,  It sank a few weeks later in the Mississippi River resulting in even more deaths.

Just imagine yourself looking forward to returning home and reuniting with family and loved ones and being this close, having survived the harsh conditions of war, and then dying.

Of course, these two disasters were quickly overshadowed by Lee's surrender and Lincoln's assassination.

--Old Secesh

1 comment:

Brian Mcmurdo said...

My great grandfather, Wilson M. Gamble of the 69th Ohio (he actually spent more of the Civil War as a member of the Pioneer Brigade), is listed as having "perished on the General Lyon" off Hatteras. In reality, he lived until 1908. In his regimental history, and in his own regimental papers, he is listed has having died in this disaster, although it was at some point cleared up as he was able to receive a soldier's pension. We have often wondered if he was an unreported survivor, or missed the boat, or never intended to travel on it. A bad month for the Gamble family. His older brother was killed by a Confederate deserter who mistook his patrol in South Carolina in early April 1865 for southern home guard collecting deserters.

I have no idea how to pursue the mystery of Wilson Gamble and the General Lyon disaster.