The great Galveston disaster, containing a full and thrilling account of the most appalling calamity of modern times including vivid descriptions of the hurricane Page: 182
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182 VAST ARMY OF HELIPLESS VICTIMS.
" Under the firm rule of the military authorities, affairs in
Galveston are rapidly assuming a more cheerful aspect. The
forces of law and order are crystallizing every hour, and now that
the people realize that there is definite authority to which they can
appeal they are going to work systematically to renovate the city
and prevent any possibility of epidemic. The force engaged in
burying the dead and clearing up the city has increased steadily
until now twenty-five hundred men are pushing the work.
"Adjutant-General Scurry holds the town fast with a strong
grip. He is compelling all men whose services can be spared from
public business to join the forces at the work in the streets.
" The burial of the dead goes steadily on. All the corpses in
the open, along the shores or near the wreckage, have been sunk
in the gulf or burned in the streets. The labor of clearing away
the debris in search of bodies began at Thirtieth street and avenue
0, one of the worst wrecked parts of the town. Two hundred men
were put at work, and in thirty minutes fifty corpses were found
within a space thirty yards square. Whole families lay dead piled
in indescribable confusion.
OLD AND YOUNG CRUSHED TOGETHER.
"Old and young crushed by the falling timbers, were one by
one dragged from debris six to twenty feet deep. Aged fathers
were clinging to more robust forms; children clutching to mother's
skirts, young girls with their arms around brothers, mothers clasping
babes to their bosoms. These were the melancholy sights
seen by those digging among the ruins. In dozens and scores the
bodies were turned up by pich and shovel, rake and axe. Away
to the left the wreckage stretched two miles to Seventh street; to
the right, a mile to Fortieth street down town.
"Popular sentiment insists that the west end be burned, but
the military authorities have hesitated to give the order. Father
Kerwin and Captain Morrissey urge that the wreckage be fired at
once, and it will probably be done.
" Men are making ready to apply the torch. Fire engines are
out on the beach. A road runs through the wreckage separating
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Lester, Paul. The great Galveston disaster, containing a full and thrilling account of the most appalling calamity of modern times including vivid descriptions of the hurricane, book, 1900~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth26719/m1/225/: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .