Prince William County Virginia Clerk’s Loose Papers

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The Court: He is the train dispatcher; I imagine the dispatcher – there is one case in which it is

held that he is competent if the record was made at the time, and I think he is competent to say what time certain trains reached the station.

Mr. Browning: Did this gentleman make the train sheets himself?

Witness: I put it on the sheet as the operator reported it to me.

The Court: I do not think it very material, but I think I will carry out my habit heretofore and

admit it.

Mr. Hall: He is the train dispatcher, and received telegraphic reports from each station as the train


By Mr. Hall:

Q. Q. Do you, or not, receive telegraphic reports, as train dispatcher, what time the trains pass various stations at which there are offices? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Will you state the number of trains (Southern & C&O) running north on the northbound track on the 23rd of February between Calverton and Manassas – first the number of trains? Just count them that day? Answer – Nineteen.

Q. Northbound trains? Answer – Northbound, yes, sir.

Q. Were some of those trains C&O and some Southern? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Will you state the average speed of some of those trains, if you have if figured out from that sheet, between Calverton and Manassas. 72 was just ahead of No. 4 which was a freight train, and was making about 35 miles an hour.

Q. Is that C&O? Answer – It is a Southern freight train.

Q. Now, after No. 4 passed, what was the next train that came along going northbound? Answer – The next train was a local freight, 62.

Q. Southern? Answer – A Southern freight, 62 local.

Q. What is the next train that came along? Answer – The next train was extra 592

Q. And how fast was it going? Answer – That is the one that had the trouble.

Q. You have not any record of how fast that was going between Calverton & Manassas? Answer – No, sir, because you see it happened at Bristow.

Q. Have you any record of that train from Culpepper to Calverton? Answer – Yes, sir.

Mr. Browning: One minute.

Mr. Hall: I withdraw that question.

By Mr. Hall:

Q. What time did that train leave Calverton, the extra that was wrecked? Answer – At 6:06

Q. Do you know what time the accident occurred? Answer – About 6:30 or 6:32.

Q. And the distance from Calverton to Bristow? Answer – It does not show Bristow on here, but I think it is about nine miles from Calverton to Bristow.

Q. I don’t know. You see there is no telegraph office in between those places, but I don’t suppose it did.

Q. You have no record of any stops? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Were there any accidents to any of those nineteen trains going north that day except the C&O extra 592? Answer – No, sir.

Q. How many of those were Southern Railway passenger trains that went over that track that day? Answer – Southern?

Q. Yes. Answer – Seven; that is from twelve o’clock up to the time it happened at six o’clock in the evening.


By Mr. Browning:

Q. How fast was Southern Freight train – you said Southern freight train No. 72 made 35 miles an hour? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You didn’t say how fast No. 62 Southern freight went? Answer – 62 is a local freight, and you cannot figure it because it stops at every station.

Q. You can’t tell its time? Answer – No, sir.

Q. And you can’t tell what time 592 made? Answer – No, sir, not from Calverton to Bristow.


By Mr. Hall:

Q. Can you say about how many trains, on an average, passed over that track going north between Calverton and Manassas for a period of say two weeks prior to that accident, per day an average number per day, if you can fix it? Answer – Passenger and freight?

Q. Passenger and freight all together? Answer – This train sheet is only about twenty-four hours.

Q. For a period of twenty four hours two weeks prior to the accident? Answer – I suppose it would average twenty-five or thirty trains a day.

Q. Going north? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And your train sheet shows only a part of the day of the accident? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Showing nineteen trains going north? Answer – Yes, sir.
John W. Hood another witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:


By Mr. Hall:

Q. Mr. Hood will you state what was your occupation on February 23rd, 1915, when this wreck happened down at Bristow? Answer – I was wreck foreman on the Washington Division.

Q. Look at that gentlemen down here, and talk to him so we can all hear in between. Now, Mr. Hooe, you were wreck master of the Washington Division of the Southern Railway? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Will you state when you reached this wreck, if you did reach it that night? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. When did you reach it – at that time? Answer – Well, sir, to the best of my recollection it was something after seven o’clock. We had been to this point here, at Manassas, to put on two cars. We did not get any further than the station. We put the cars on, and I told the conductor I says “Captain, if you will back, back to Alexandria just like you are, you will not have to make any shifts whatever if he would run steady. He promised that he would and did so. He backed the train into the yard to the yard office, and the yard operator ran out and said “Captain, we want you at Bristow at once, and you will get your orders at Cameron Run.”

The Court: Can’t you tell us what time you got there? Answer – Yes, sir. This was just about six

o’clock, about an hour’s run from tat point to this. When we got to the wreck it was a few minutes after seven. I got instructions ---

Mr. Hall: Wait a minute. If you will answer these few questions – Answer – I got there about

seven o’clock. Q. Just describe to the jury what was the condition of the rear passenger coach of the Southern Railway local No. 17 when you got there? Answer – The condition I found 1491 in, there was a foreign car (I can give you the initials of it – I have them, but I haven’t got them with me) I found that 1491 was on the rail.

Mr. Mackey: Q. 1491 or 1494? Answer – 1491 is the best of my recollection of the number.

There was an iron steel underneath framing that had gone and been whipped under this car. 1491 was a steel coach, and I got hold of this. We had to turn five cars out of the way before we could get to this car with the derrick. There were five cars between us and the coach. Q. Five C&O cars? Answer – Five loaded freight cars. We were on the southbound track. We had to turn those cars out of the way before we could get to the coach. We turned those five cars out of the way the first thing we did. I hooked to this iron car. I could not pull the coach away.

The Court: He asked you what was the condition of the car.

Mr. Mackey: We would like to know what was piled around.

The Court: You can ask on cross examination. Let him answer Mr. Hall’s question.

By Mr. Hall:

Q. What did you see? Answer – I went inside, and about two-thirds the windows were broken out on the left hand side of the car. All the wheels were on the rail. It was coupled to the 575. I noticed the glass on the seats. I noticed some of the seats that you sit on – not the backs, but the seats were cocked; some were laying on the floor and some sitting up on the ends of the seats, and there was a little glass scattered helter skelter in the car. There was nothing broken in this car that I could see except a little – there was a scrape on the side that seemed as if it had been struck on the side, and as it struck the windows knocked the glass out. None of the panels in the windows were knocked out. On the left hand side going south these windows were knocked out. The right hand side was not hurt at all. After I come out of this car, before I moved this car, this iron car had wiped under – the north end of this iron car and tried to swing it to the left, and found it was hung underneath the frame of the side sill of the coach. I let loose and backed the derrick back, and lifted the coach up. I put a crib of ties to the left, and set this up until I could clear the iron car which was under the coach. I caught hold of the iron car and put it out of the way, the bottom frame. Then I picked up the coach and set it back on its truck, and brought the coach here to Manassas.

Q. Tell me when you entered the car did you go in from the south end or north end? Answer – From the south end.

Q. Did you notice the condition of the car door? Answer – I did.

Q. Was there anything the matter with it? Answer – Nothing.

Q. State whether you found anything in the car except the broken glass? Answer – Nothing.

Q. State whether you found any lumber or timber sticking through either window in the car. Answer – No

Q. Are you positive that no wreckage came into the car? Answer – I am.

Q. Will you state, if you can, how many cars were attached to the C&O engine between that and the point where the train broke in two? Answer – Eleven.

Q. Eleven cars? Answer – To the best of my recollection. The twelfth car was the one that had the broken truck under it, to the best of my recollection. I take no records of any cars in a wrecked train that are not damaged. When we passed the engine here at Manassas, I think it was, I think I counted seven cars, or eleven cars, and the car that was wrecked was the twelfth car. Then I began to get the number of the cars that were wrecked, and never took the number hooked to the engine, because it was something that I didn’t bother with.

Q. State whether or not you examined C&O car No. 25, 227? Answer – 25,227 was the car that the truck was broken under.

Q. State whether or not you examined that car? Answer – I examined the car. I lifted the car up and put a hundred thousand capacity truck under it.

Q. Will you look at this model of the truck here, and state whether or not that model correctly represents the condition of the C&O car 25,227, as you found it, as far as you remember? Answer – Have you got a track here? I can explain it.

Q. It has been explained, but I want to know if that model represents the condition of the car. Answer – It represents it except that box was broken all to pieces. There was no box there. The journal box was broken all to pieces – busted up all to pieces, and this was naked. This journal box was broken in here.

Q. With respect to the condition of the arch-bars? Answer – I found that truck with three wheels on the rail (indicating) wheel was on the rail, and these two wheels on the rail, and this wheel had come back and hung against the end sill of the car. The car was an iron car, a coal car. This piece of the wheel was against the draught timbers. It was bound and locked, and could not come back any further until it cut the end sill in two. The flange had cut into that a little. This nut here had caught over the rail. This wheel was on the rail, and this nut on the column-bolt had caught on the rail and was over the outside. That kept the truck from slipping sideways. This thing locked it and kept these wheels perfectly straight. This spring board was down on the rail. This tie-strap here was gone. This box-bolt was gone. This journal box was gone. These two bolts here were gone. I never saw a piece of these bolts. I didn’t see this strap here at all. I saw this bolt and that bolt. I never saw anything of this strap from here to this box-bolt. I have never seen it. I have never seen any part of these two bolts here. I got a part of the broken box.

Q. Now Mr. Hood, do you know when this accident happened, exactly? Answer – I can’t give you exactly the minute, but it was something after six o’clock.

Q. And if the accident happened about six-thirty o’clock. You are mistaken in saying you left Cameron Run about six o’clock? Answer – I say I left Alexandria somewhere in the neighborhood of six o’clock.

Q. You do not mean to fasten it down? Answer – I will not fasten it down to minutes, but to the best of my recollection it was somewhere in the neighborhood of six o’clock.


By Mr. Patterson:

Q. You said when you entered that passenger coach some of the seats were cocked; what do you mean by this? Answer – The seats you sit on, this end would probably be – if it was a level position, and you take it and sit it on this end, it would be cocked.

Q. Did you examine the seats toward the south end of that coach – the forward end? Answer – I went from the north end of the coach clear to the end of the partition, the smoking end, and opened the side door, and went into the far end of the car, to see if anything was broken.

Q. Did you find any seats that were cocked towards the front end of the coach? Answer – There was a seat or two cocked on the left hand side.

Q. About the forward end? Answer – Towards the forward end.

Q. Then you said something else about the condition of those seats that I didn’t understand, standing on end? Answer – I said some were cocked and some were standing on end.

Q. Was there very many in that condition? Answer – I believe three or four, to the best of my recollection.

Q. What caused that, if you know? Answer – I couldn’t tell you; probably they were put there by some one who got up on them, or moved them in some way. I have no idea; I wasn’t there when they were put in that shape.

Q. You said about two-thirds of the windows on the side towards the other track were knocked out? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Something scraped the windows out, apparently, did it not? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Was there any lumber around there on the tracks? Answer – Lumber laying to the left.

Q. In fact a number of the C&O cars were loaded with lumber? Answer – Yes, sir, a good many.

Q. Lumber was scattered on both sides of the tracks? Nothing was on the right hand side of the car. There was nothing on the right hand side of the two coaches. The first thing on the right hand side of the track was the engine. There was lumber on the left hand side.

Q. Looking south on the left hand side? Answer – Looking south on the left hand side of the wrecked cars there was lumber, pig iron and paper, I believe, - gib rolls of paper.

Q. That coach is what is known as half steel and half wood? Answer – It was considered a steel car.

Q. Only a portion of it was built of steel? Answer – I suppose there was some wood.

Q. Up to the window sills was steel? Answer – I would not say whether there was weather boarding between the panels, or not; they were steel cars, to the best of my recollection.

Q. You came from Alexandria to the scene of the wreck after it happened? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You first heard of it in Alexandria? Answer – Yes, sir, in the yard.

Q. You have no idea how many persons had been through there before you? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Now, you started to describe, when the court held that it was not the proper time ----

The Court: I held that it was now answering the question.

By Mr. Patterson: (continuing)

Q. You started to describe the condition of certain freight cars around there, and the number that were piled around there; tell us now how many you observed piled up around this coach? Answer – Around the coach there was only one car touching the coach that was hung under the beam frame. There was nothing else touching that car whatever.

Q. It would require great force to drive that under there in your opinion? Answer – No, sir. After the top of the car was all demolished the force of the car slid that frame under.

Q. The top of which car was demolished? Answer – It was a box car.

Q. The combination car? Answer – No, sir, the freight car was a foreign box car, and the top was completely demolished, and the frame slid right under this Southern coach.

Q. Was it under the front end, or under the middle? Answer – Under the middle.

Q. Did any portion of that freight car extend under the baggage car, or combination? Answer – No, sir.

Q. But it was under the middle of the passenger car? Answer – It was under the middle of 1491. When you get to 571 I will tell you what it was.

Q. What was it? Answer – We were talking about 1491.

Q. Yes, what was under the other? Answer – Pig iron, hemlock lumber, and a part of a N&W the bottom of a N&W car. It skidded up on top of that with, I suppose, a thousand feet of lumber laying right on and in front; that lumber lay on right on a car that was demolished. The floor of the car lay on the track of the original road-bed with pig iron in it, and this lumber evidently come off a flat car that was laying down the bank, and it got under the end of this combined car, and slid right under, and raised it up, and shot it up nearly on the tender of this engine. The engine lay to the right of the track. The combination car stood, I suppose, six or eight feet from the back end of the engine, and the engine was clear of the main line and turned over a little to the right. For instance, if this is the smokestack (illustrating), it was laying about in that condition. The tender was in front of the baggage car turned angling across the track. It was broke loose entirely from the engine.

Q. Was the combination baggage and passenger clear of the track? Answer – Was it off the southbound track?

Q. Yes. Answer – No, sir. It was raised off the truck, off the center about three feet. The truck was on the lumber, and the lumber had knocked it back six or eight feet. The center plate, where it should have been, was about six or eight feet from the truck to the center. The south end of the truck – the north end of the truck was on the track. I hooked the derrick to this car, and dragged it back until I got so the center would fall somewhere in the neighborhood of the two bolsters, and when it fell it fell somewhere in here (indicating). It just barely would balance. It come across this arch-bar and the center plafe would barely balance on that side. We brought it to Manassas. The car set on these trucks like that (illustrating) angling.

Q. Was there very much lumber piled up under the truck of this combination coach. Answer – When the truck struck the lumber there was about a thousand feet of lumber there, and it stopped.

Q. The truck ran over the lumber? Answer – No, Sir, the car went over the lumber about eight feet, and the truck stopped.

Q. The truck stopped, and the coach went over the lumber? Answer – The end of the coach went about eight feet, raised up, and passed out of the center, and got about eight feet upon the lumber and pig iron. The truck stopped. That was the combination coach.

Q. Did you see anything else under the passenger coach except this C&O car which you described a moment ago? Answer – Nothing more than that car which hung under it, when I tried to swing it to the left. We unhooked it and brought both of them to Manassas.

Q. You brought both of them to Manassas? Answer – I went and got the 575

Q. Where were they repaired? Answer – I don’t know. I took them to Alexandria. I suppose to the Manchester shops, but I don’t know.

Q. You sent them south? Answer – I didn’t send them south, but I took them to Alexandria, and the mechanical department took charge of them there.

By Mr. Browning:

Q. What was the C&O car 25, 227 loaded with? Answer – Loaded with bituminous coal?

Q. You say you didn’t see the tie strap? Answer – I didn’t. That part was broken off.

Q. You saw the part that was left on? Answer – I saw the part that was left on.

Q. That truck there represents that part was left on that was broken, or at least, that was not there, up to the rear column-bolt? Answer – Let me understand you?

Q. You see the piece of tie-strap that is on that model? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. That does not quite reach to the rear column-bolt, does it? Answer – That hole there, it broke right through the hole.

Q. On that model it does not quite reach to that hole. Look at the tie-strap? Answer – I see that, That model is inaccurate in that particular? Nothing more than it is worn there.

Q. Could you see the portion of the hold in that tie-strap which was left on that truck? Answer – I never noticed that.

Q. You did not examined to see whether you could, or not? Answer – No, sir. I know it was broken through that hold. That (indicating) I never saw at all.


By Mr. Hall:

Q. In speaking about these seats in the passenger car 1491, and the things you saw cocked up, what were they? Answer – Those were the seats in the passenger car which were supposed to be made of cushion on top and springs underneath and wooden frames.

Q. They are adjustable, are they? Answer – They are adjustable.

Q. Can you move them without much labor? Answer – Yes, sir. They are about three feet long, and about eighteen inches wide.

Q. Were you present at a conversation after that accident between Mr. Puckett, of the Southern, and Mr. Flanagan, of the C&O, with respect to the cause of this wreck? Answer – Well now, I can’t say I was or was not. I know Mr. Sullivan.

Q. I didn’t say Mr. Sullivan but Mr. Flanagan? Answer – I don’t know. Probably I heard Mr. Puckett talking to a man, and paid no attention to it.

By Mr. Browning:

Q. Mr. Hood, you say that model correctly represented the condition of the truck when you examined it there except that the journal box was broken to pieces; did you say that? Answer – I said the journal box was broken.

Q. Now, you said that you took a piece o the journal box you had it? Answer – It was found on the ground.

Q. Do you know where it is now? Answer – No, sir.

Q. What did you do with it? Answer – That was loaded on as scrap. I didn’t bother with the scrap broken at all. I took care of the truck. The scrap was loaded on the scrap cars, and I suppose went to the Alexandria yard..

Q. You did not preserve those parts of the journal box? Answer – No, sir.

Q. That was thrown on the scrap heap. Answer – Yes, sir.

Mr. Hall: Was it loaded on a C&O car? Answer – No, sir; to the best of my recollection it was

loaded on a Southern gondola, and taken to Alexandria.

J. C. Shaw another witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By Mr. Hall:

Q. What is your occupation? Answer – Derrick engineer.

Q. Now, what was your occupation on February 23, 1915? Answer – Running a derrick.

Q. For what company? Answer – Southern Railway.

Q. Do you recollect the wreck down at Bristow on that day? Answer – Yes, sir, I do.

Q. Will you say whether or not you helped to get C&O car 25,227 on the track, if it was off the track? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Will you say whether or not you examined the arch-bars and box-bolts and trucks generally on that car? Answer – I did not make close examination, but I looked at the truck from approximately six or eight feet away.

Q. Do you know whether or not this model correctly represents the condition of that truck? Answer – It does, yes, sir.

Q. That is so far as you saw from your casual examination? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Did you go through the passenger coach on the Southern Railway, on train 17, on that day? Answer – Not until the next day.

Q. Did you examine the holes in the truck-the box –bolt holes? Answer – I did not.


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