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    Archive of Documents Regarding the Destruction of the Steamer Ruth. On the night of August 4, 1863, shortly before midnight, after a refueling stop at Cairo, Illinois, the Steamer Ruth enroute to Vicksburg with eight Union payroll masters and $2.6 million dollars in army payroll on board, mysteriously burned. The money was reported destroyed. Twenty-six of the one hundred fifty passengers, military and civilian, were killed. Robert Louden, a Confederate saboteur was implicated in the disaster. He confessed to the destruction and was tried and convicted.

    This large archive of manuscript documents contains original depositions from many, if not all of the surviving paymasters aboard the Ruth at the time of her sinking including Majors J. W. Brigden, Josiah Tilden, N. S. Brinton, T. D. Greenwalt, W. B. Mendenhall, J. M. Pumphrey, G. L. Febiger, and W. H. Jameson. Also included are statements from the Ruth's Chief Engineer and clerk. Additionally there are statements by a "diving bellman" who examined the wreckage and an official copy of the proceedings of the court of inquiry convened by the War Department's adjutant general's office and dated September 11, 1863. All documents included are in near fine condition.

    From reading the documents in the archive it appears that the court of inquiry was convened with less of an eye towards the cause of the disaster and more of an towards establishing if any of the $2.6 million dollars survived and made its way into the pockets of persons known or unknown. This archive would provide a thorough beginning for a book on the destruction of the Steamer Ruth.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    29th-30th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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