The Great Galveston Disaster, Containing a Full and Thrilling Account of the Most Appalling Calamity of Modern Times Page: 467
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RELIEF TRAINS AND HOSPITALS. 467
The beach and the western part of the city presented the
picture of about one hundred or more-pyres where human bodies
and the carcasses of dead animals were disposed of by fire. Separate
pyres were designated for human bodies and animal carcasses
and the work progressed rapidly. The gruesome task was
heartrending and many able-bodied men succumbed to the
terrible ordeal. The bodies recovered yesterday and those still
buried beneath the debris are in an advanced state of decomposition
and utterly beyond recognition or identification unless by the
clothing or some ornament worn by the dead. Ninety-five per
cent. of the bodies recovered are naked.
The hurricane, aided materially by the action of the raging
torrents, invariably stripped the victims of all vestige of clothing
or other articles that might lead to identification. Another
remarkable fact, which shows the force of the storm in packing
the wreckage and debris in high mounds, is seen in the amount
of water held by the wreckage.
MILES OF WRECKAGE.
Six days of sunshine and seven nights of cool Gulf breezes
have failed to draw the water held by the wreckage which, jammed
into water-tight ridges, formed tanks to hold the salt water which
inundated the city. While the ground all around these ridges is
dry and hard, the removal of the top ridge disclosed several feet
of water. At least 20 per cent. of the bodies recovered yesterday
from the wreckage were taken out of water.
A reporter who attempted to make a circuit of the rescuing
parties working on the beach and throughout the western part of
the city, noted the finding of 123 and the discovery of at least
twenty more bodies, which were so hemmed in by wreckage that
it was impossible to get them out. It is impossible to estimate
the number of dead buried beneath the miles of wreckage.
When the forces started out yesterday morning it was thought
by many that the greater number of dead had been removed from
the prisons built by the storm. The work had not progressed far
before the workmen began to dig into ruins where bodies were
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Lester, Paul. The Great Galveston Disaster, Containing a Full and Thrilling Account of the Most Appalling Calamity of Modern Times, book, 1900~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth26719/m1/525/: accessed October 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .