united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
Chesterfield Coal Mining Company Raccoon Pit Explosion
Clover Hill, Chesterfield County, Virginia
November 30, 1863
No. Killed – 17
Terrible Colliery Catastrophe
From the Richmond Examiner, Dec. 14th
New York Times, New York
December 20, 1863
We learn that a terrible explosion occurred on Thursday of last week at the Chesterfield Coal Mining Company's mines, Chesterfield County, which resulted in the instant killing, by wounds and suffocation, of sixteen of the workmen, and the wounding of a number of others, three of them fatally.
The accident was caused by the ignition of gas in "Raccoon Pit," near Clover Hill, in which about eighty hands were at work. Fifteen of the hands killed were negroes, as also were the three fatally injured, and were mostly the property of the mining company.
The body of the overseer, Mr. Bertram, was taken out, and for a time showed signs of life. All the other bodies were recovered.
The ignition of the gas was followed by a great explosion, the flames ascending in a shaft of fire to the height of several hundred feet above the mouth of the pit, but it is not supposed to be so great as to delay operations long.