CivWar150 1 May 1863

One hundred fifty years ago today, the str Horizon collided with the streamer str Moderator.  Both boats were running after dark on a moonless night without lights, making evasive moves, and badly riddled by rebel cannons.  Never had steamboats faced a more firey ordeal.  The str Moderator had been damaged to the degree that it was unmanageable.  The Horizon was not in trouble until the collision with the Moderator.  Both vessels sunk.  The str Horizon sunk on Island No 10 near Grand Gulf, MS. 


Many soldiers,  including Swedish members of Stolbrand’s Battery, were lost when the str Horizon sank. [1]  In an eyewitness report one day later Gen Isaac H Elliot wrote, “I was down to the str Horizon and succeeded in getting out three gun carriages, but the stench arising from the 60 dead horses and men made my officers and men sick.” [2]


According to The Lytle-Holdcamper List ― Lives lost “Unknown”.[3]


According to the Gibsons, the US  government paid $18,500 for the loss of the packet.[4]    It is true that the owners applied for compensation, but two applications for indemnity were rejected by the US Army Quartermaster.  I have no knowledge of any compensation received.  At the time of the collision, the owners of the str Horizon were John N McCurdy, Thomas S Calhoon, Richard Calhoon, and William White (Jackman T Stockdale had sold his share in late 1862).[5]   





[1]  Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 217.

[2]  Gen Issac H Elliot,. Thirty-Third Regiment Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry In the Civil War.

[3]  William M Lytle and Forrest R Holdcamper, Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States 1790-1868, (The Steamship Historical Society of America, Inc, 1975), p272.

[4]  Charles Dana Gibson and E Kay Gibson, Dictionary of Transports and Combatant Vessels Steam and Sail Employed by the Uniion Army 1861 – 1868, (Ensign Press, Cambridge, MA 1995), p 152.

[5]  John H Ewing, Biography of Thomas S Calhoon, Heinz History Center, The Ewing Papers Box 5, p 17.



Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
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