The Washington Arsenal Explosion: Civil War Disaster in the Capital

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In 1864, residents of Washington, D.C., mourned together at the largest funeral the district had ever seen. In the midst of the Civil War, the poor Irish neighborhood of the Island lost twenty-one mothers, sisters and daughters. On June 17, dangerous working conditions and a series of unfortunate events led to the deadly explosion of a Federal arsenal at Fort McNair, where the young women made cartridges to assist the war effort. In the wake of the horrific event, a monument was erected at Congressional Cemetery to honor those who were lost. Author Brian Bergin similarly memorializes these women through his book, detailing the poor working conditions, the investigation into the avoidable events leading to the tragedy and the reaction of a community already battered by the Civil War.
ISBN: 9781609497934
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press
State: District of Columbia
Series: Disaster
Images: 34
Pages: 128
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
Erin Bergin Voorheis has a degree in English from Washington State University and in addition to owning her own home-based business, she is a freelance technical writer and editor. She has worked in the past as a Technical Writer at EDS, a Staff Photographer and a Paralegal. Brian Bergin obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University, Master in Urban Planning from Wayne State University and studied at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of International and Public Affairs. He worked as an urban planner in Norfolk, VA and at Union Labor Life Insurance Company. In 2008 his essay on the disaster, "Tragedy at the City's Arsenal, " was published on the Civil War Page of The Washington Times. Steve Hammond is a historian, Gettysburg native and 38-year resident of Maryland who was the 2008 Docent of the Year for the Historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC. He currently gives Civil War tours at the Congressional Cemetery. Michael R. Fritsch, Ph.D. is a Pharmacy Services Manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He studied at Capella University, Central Michigan University, and Wayne State University. His ancestor was among those killed in the Washington Arsenal Explosion.
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