Moselle (riverboat)

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Explosion of the steamboat Moselle on April 25, 1838 near Cincinnati, Ohio

The Moselle was a riverboat constructed in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was built between December 1, 1837 and March 31, 1838.[1] The Moselle was considered one of the fastest river boats in operation at the time, having completed a record-setting two-day, sixteen-hour trip between Cincinnati and St. Louis.[2][3] On April 25, 1838, the Moselle, piloted by Captain Isaac Perin,[4][5] suffered a boiler explosion just east of Cincinnati, killing 160 of the estimated 280–300 passengers.[6][7] The boat had just pulled away from a dock near the neighborhood of Fulton, when all four boilers simultaneously suffered a catastrophic failure resulting in the total destruction of the ship from the paddlewheels to the bow. The ship drifted approximately 100 yards before sinking to the bottom of the Ohio river.[3][8] Negligence may have been a factor in the explosion: many eyewitness reports claimed that Captain Perin had intended to race another riverboat at the time of the explosion, and therefore the pressure in the boilers was excessively high.[6][9][10]


  1. ^ Lloyd (1856), page 93.
  2. ^ James T. Lloyd, Lloyd's Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters,... (Cincinnati, Ohio: James T. Lloyd & Co., 1856), pages 89–93: "Explosion of the Moselle, near Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25, 1838"; see page 89.
  3. ^ a b GenDisasters: Cincinnati, OH area steamboat Moselle explosion, April 1838
  4. ^ "Family Tree Maker's Genealogy Site: Genealogy Report: Descendants of John Perrin". Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  5. ^ Find a Grave: Capt. Isaac Perin (1814–1838)
  6. ^ a b Cincinnati Views: Ohio River: Steamboats, p. 5 (Note: This page includes illustrations of the steamboat Moselle before, during, and after its explosion on April 25, 1838.)
  7. ^ The following report estimates 150 dead among at least 280 passengers: Report of the committee appointed by the citizens of Cincinnati, April 26, 1838, to enquire into the causes of the explosion of the Moselle, and to suggest such preventative measures as may best be calculated to guard hereafter against such occurrences (Cincinnati, Ohio: Alexander Flash, 1838), page 22.
  8. ^ Lloyd (1856), page 90.
  9. ^ Lloyd (1856), page 91.
  10. ^ Henry Howe, Historical Collections of Ohio... (Norwalk, Ohio: State of Ohio, 1898), vol. 1, page 760.

Coordinates: 39°7′12″N 84°28′30″W / 39.12000°N 84.47500°W / 39.12000; -84.47500