Newspaper Accounts of the New Madrid Earthquake
Saturday, February 22
By a gentleman just from Arkansas, by way of White river, we learn that the earthquake was violent in that quarter that in upwards of 500 places he observed coal and sand thrown up from fissures in the earth, that the waters raised in a swamp near the Cherokee village, so as to drown a Mr. Carrin who was travelling with his brother, the latter saved himself on a log. - In other places the water fell, and in one instant it rose in a swamp near the St. Francis 25 or 30 feet; Strawberry a branch of Black river, an eminence about 1-1/2 acres sunk down and formed a pond.
The Earthquake noticed in our list has been felt in various parts of the country. The paper from Richmond, Falenton(?), Wilmington, Charleston and Savannah, mention the phenomenon-- In Charleston, six distinct shocks were felt; the first and most violent about 3 o'clock, and one minute and a half in duration. It was very severe and alarming; indeed, the vibration was so great as to see some of the church bells ringing- the pendulums of the clocks stopped, and the picture glasses in many houses were broken.
New Orleans, December 26
A letter from Fort Stoddert mentions, that on the morning of the 16th past, two shocks of an earthquake had been felt. This is precisely the time it was felt at Natchez. It is evident that our being on an island and resting on the water, prevented us from feeling part of the shocks.
Cape Girardeau, Feb. 15th, 1812
The concussions of the earthquake still continue, the shock on the 23rd ult. was more severe and larger than that of the 16th Dec. and the shock of the 7th inst. was still more violent than any preceding, and lasted longer than perhaps any on record, (from 10 to 15 minutes, the earth was not at rest for one hour.) the ravages of this dreadful convulsion have nearly depopulated the district of New Madrid, but few remain to tell the sad tale, the inhabitants have fled in every direction. It has done considerable damage in this place by demolishing chimnies, and cracking cellar walls. Some have been driven from their houses, and a number are yet in tents. No doubt volcanoes in the mountains of the west, which have been extinguished for ages, are now opened.
Orleans, January 13
By a gentleman who came on the Steam Boat we are informed that this convulsion of nature, (the first, we believe that has ever been felt on the Mississippi since the settlement of the country by the whites,) has destroyed several islands in the Mississippi, and has thereby endangered its navigation very considerably. He also states that it has sunk the land in a number of places on the margin of the river.
I here give you an extract of a letter, dated Orleans January 16th, from my friend John Bradbury. It will be found to contain some information relative to the effects of the earthquake of 16th Dec. on the Mississippi river and its banks; permit me to add that you have no information from any source which can be more implicitly relied on.
"Our voyage was from various causes tedious and disagreeable, we being 28 days from St. Louis to this place, Mr. Comegys has fared worse, being two months. Our progress was considerably impeded by an alarming and awful earthquake, such as has not I believe, occurred, or at least has not been recorded in the history of this country. The first shock which we experienced was about 2 o'clock on the morning of the 16th Dec. at which time our position was in itself perilous, we being but a few hundred yards above a bad place in the river, called the Devils Race Ground:* in our situation particularly, the scene was terrible beyond description, our boat appeared as if alternately lifted out of the water, and again suffered to fall. The banks above, below and around us were falling every moment into the river, all nature seemed running into chaos. The noise unconnected with particular objects, was the noise of the most violent tempest of wind mixed with a sound equal to the loudest thunder, but more hollow and vibrating. The crashing of falling trees and the loud screeching of wild fowl made up the horrid concert. Two men were sent on shore in order to examine the state of the bank to which we were moored, who reported that a few yards from its summit, it was separated from the shore by a chasm of more than 100 yards in length. Jos. Morin, the patron, insisted on our all leaving the boat which he thought could not be saved, and of landing immediately in order to save our lives: - this I successfully combatted until another shock took place, about 3 o'clock, when we all left the boat, went on shore and kindled a fire. Between the first shock and daylight, we counted 27. As day broke we put off from the shore, at which instant we experienced another shock, nearly as violent as the first, by this the fright of the hands was so much increased, that they seemed deprived of strength and reason: I directed Morin to land on a sloping bank at the entrance of the Devil's Race Ground, intending to wait there until the men should be refreshed with a good breakfast. While it was preparing, we had three shocks, so strong as to make it difficult for us to stand on our feet; at length recovered from our panic we proceeded; after this we felt shocks during 6 days, but none to compare with those on the memorable morning of the 16th. I made many and minute observations on this earthquake, which if ever we meet, I will communicate to you, &c."
* 120 miles below N. Madrid
Extract of a letter from Orleans dated Feb. 11, to a gentleman in this place.
"This city has experienced some slight concussion of earthquake, particularly on the 9th, whilst a number of persons were at the theatre and the ball, some of whom were much alarmed, tho' the shock was not severe, nor had done any damage."
Saturday, March 14, 1812
The Earthquake of the 16th of December last was felt as far North as Charlestown, New Hampshire.
The Indian mode of worship, as happened in consequence of the late Earthquakes.
This alarming phenomenon of nature struck with such consternation and dismay, those tribes of Indians, that live within and contiguous to that tract of country, on the Mississippi, where the severity of the earthquake appears to have been the greatest, that they were induced to convene together in order to consult upon the necessity of having recourse to some method of relief, from so alarming an incident; when it was resolved to fall upon the following expedient to excite the pity of the Great Spirit. [There follows a description of the religious ceremony of the Shawnees.]
We are informed from a respectable source that the old road to the post of Arkansas, by Spring river, is entirely destroyed by the last violent shocks of earthquake. Chasms of great depth and considerable length cross the country in various directions, some swamps have become dry, others deep lakes, and in some places hills have disappeared.
Pittsburgh, Feb. 14
On Friday morning the 7th inst. about 4 o'clock, a shock of an Earthquake was severely felt in this town. The effects of this convulsion were much more sensibly felt, than the one which happened on the 16th of December. Many of the houses were violently shaken.
Accounts from la Haut Missouri, announces a general peace among the Indians, it is said that the earthquakes has created this pacification.
Slight shocks of Earthquake continue to be felt here. On Wednesday night last, several who were awake declare, they felt a strong vibration of the Earth.
THE LOUISIANA GAZETTE AND DAILY ADVERTISER (NEW ORLEANS)
No mail north of Natchez yesterday. Letters from that city state that a small earthquake had been felt there some days ago. From the principles of earthquakes we are surprised it was not felt here. Earthquakes have generally been felt in southern mountainous countries; sometimes located to a small portion of country sometimes more extended. Different nations, near the Adriatic and Mediterranean, have felt the shock of an earthquake at the same moment.
The Comet has been passing to the westward since it passed its perihelion - perhaps it has touched the mountain of California, that has given a small shake to this side of the globe - or the skake which the Natchezians have felt may be a mysterious visitation from the Author of all nature, on them for their sins - wickedness and the want of good faith have long prevailed in that territory.
Sodom and Gomorrha would have been saved had three righteous persons been found in it - we therefore hope that Natchez
A letter from Fort Stoddert mentions, that on the morning of the 16th inst. two shocks of an earthquake had been felt.- This is precisely the time it was felt at Natchez. It is evident that our being our island and resting as it were on the water, prevented us from feeling part of the shock.
From the Natchez Weekly Chronicle
THE EARTHQUAKE - A hasty Sketch
Natchez, Dec. 18th, 1811
Having made a few observations with respect to the Earthquake, which has drawn the attention of the citizens of this place and its vicinity within a few days past, I present them, to you thrown together in a hasty way for publication, if you think fit, under the impression that they may not be uninteresting to your readers.
On the morning of Monday last the 16th inst. several shocks were felt - four have been ascertained by an accurate observer to have been felt in this city. The principal one, as near as can be collected, was about ten minutes past two o'clock, A.M. There was no noise heard in the atmosphere but in a few instances in certain situations-- The shock was attended by a tremulous motion of the earth and buildings - felt by some for about one and a half minutes; by others about five; and my own impression is, that I am conscious of its lasting at least three, having been awakened from my sleep. Several clocks were stopped at two or about ten minutes after. Several articles were thrown off the shelves; crockery was sent rolling about the floor; articles suspended from the ceiling of the stores vibrated rapidly without any air to disturb them, for about nine inches; the plastering in the rooms of some houses was cracked and injured; the river was much convulsed, so much that it induced some of the boatmen at the landing, who supposed the bank was falling in, to cut adrift. The shocks in the morning were at about six or half after, one of them considerable. The vibration of suspended articles was, whenever room would admit them, east to west. Accounts from Louisiana state, that the first shock was felt about ten minutes past 2, A.M. at Black river, thirty miles distant, and at different places on the road to Rapids, where the trees were violently agitated. It was also felt on the river at a considerable distance above and below Vidalia. - The shock was also felt as far up as the Big Black, and at the different intervening towns; in the vicinity of Washington the trees were observed to be much convulsed, nodding their heads together as if coming to the ground.
Another shock was experienced yesterday of fifteen minutes past eleven o'clock, A.M. The houses in several instances shook considerably, and the suspended articles in the stores were violently convulsed. Some clocks were again stopped, and in one of the stores a cowbell was heard to tinkle.
The earthquake that was felt at Natchez on the 16th of December, has been severely felt above and below the mouth of the Ohio - we may expect detailed accounts of the damages soon. Travelers who have descended the river since, generally agree that a succession of shocks were felt for six days; that the river Mississippi was much agitated; that it frequently rose 3 and 4 feet, and fell again immediately; and that whole islands and parts of islands in the river sunk.
We have the following description of the Earthquake from gentlemen who were on board a large barge, and lay an anchor in the Mississippi a few leagues below New Madrid, on the night of the 15th of December. About 2 o'clock all hands were awakened by the first shock; the impression was, that the barge had dragged her anchor and was grounding on gravel; such, were the feelings for 60 or 80 seconds, when the shock subsided. The crew were so fully persuaded of the fact of their being aground, that they put out their sounding poles, but found water enough.
At seven next morning a second and very severe shock took place. The barge was under way - the river rose several feet; the trees on the shore shook; the banks in large columns tumbled in; hundreds of old trees that had lain perhaps half a century at the bottom of the river, appeared on the surface of the water; the feathered race took to the wing; the canopy was covered with geese and ducks and various other kinds of wild fowl; very little wind; the air was tainted with a nitrous and sulphureous smell; and every thing was truly alarming for several minutes. The shocks continued to the 21st Dec. during that time perhaps one hundred were distinctly felt. From the river St. Francis to the Chickasaw bluffs visible marks of the earthquake were discovered; from that place down, the banks did not appear to have been disturbed.
There is one part of this description which we cannot reconcile with philosophic principles, (although we believe the narrative to be true,) that is, the trees which were settled at the bottom of the river appearing on the surface. It must be obvious to every person that those trees must have become specifically heavier than the water before they sunk, and of course after being immersed in the mud must have increased in weight. - We therefore submit the question to the Philosophical Society.
The earthquake was felt at Pittsburg, Richmond, Norfolk, Raleigh, and various other parts of the United Sates.
A slight shock of an earthquake was felt in this city yesterday morning, about nine o'clock. The wind was from the southward, light and gentle, and the morning fine-- it lasted but few seconds & but few felt it. At that time all is bustle in the city - but many proofs, such as clocks stopping, glass shades, and different kinds of glass ware and crockery shaking, the feelings of many who were either writing or reading, prove the fact. We may expect to hear more on the subject from the northward & eastward
THE PITTSBURGH GAZETTE
On Monday morning last, about three o'clock, the citizens of this town were greatly alarmed by the shock of an Earthquake; a number of persons from the shaking of their houses, were so much alarmed as to jump out of bed. About 7 o'clock, the same morning, there was another shock, though not so evident as the first.
By accounts from Meadville, and Waterford, we are informed, that severe shocks of an earthquake were felt at those places on Monday morning the 16th inst. at the same time of those experienced here. At Meadville, the one which happened at 3 o'clock was so sensibly felt, that many persons were awaken by the rocking of their beds, and the trea - - ious motion continued from 10 to 15 minutes - the one at 8 o'clock was nearly as severe, but did not continue so long - the top of the trees in the town were seen to vibrate for about a minute, and the puddles of water in the streets appeared in waves as if a sudden blast of wind had passed over them. On Tuesday about the middle of the day, a third shake was felt, but was slighter than the others.
Extract of a letter from a gentleman on his way to New Orleans, to a friend in this place (Lexington, Ky.) - dated 20th December.
"We entered the Mississippi on the morning of the 14th, and on the night of the 15th came to anchor on a sand bar, about ten miles above the Little Prairie - half past 2 o'clock in the morning of the 16th, we were aroused from our slumber by a violent shaking of the boat - there were three barges and two keels in company, all effected the same way. The alarm was considerable and various opinions as to the cause were suggested, all found to be erroneous; but after the second shock, which occurred in 15 minutes after the first, it was unanimously admitted to be an earthquake. With most awful feelings we watched till morning in trembling anxiety, supposing all was over with us. We weighed anchor early in the morning, and in a few minutes after we started there came on in quick successions, two other shocks, more violent than the former. It was then daylight, and we could plainly perceive the effect it had on shore. The bank of the river gave way in all directions, and came tumbling into the water; the trees were more agitated than I ever before saw them in the severest storms, and many of them from the shock they received broke off near the ground, as well as many more torn up by the roots. We considered ourselves more secure on the water, than we should be on land, of course we proceeded down the river. As we progressed the effects of the shock as before described, were observed in every part of the banks of the Mississippi. In some places five, ten and fifteen acres have sunk down in a body, even the Chickasaw Bluffs, which we have passed, did not escape; one or two of them have fallen in considerably.
The inhabitants of the Little Prairie and its neighborhood all deserted their homes, and retired back to the hills or swamps. The only brick chimney in the place was entirely demolished by the shocks. I have not yet heard that any lives were lost, or accident of consequence happened. I have been twice on shore since the first shock, and then but a very short time, as I thought it unsafe, for the ground is cracked and torn to pieces in such a way as made it truly alarming; indeed some of the islands in the river that contained from one to two hundred acres of land have been nearly all sunk, and not one yet that I have seen but is cracked from one end to the other, and has lost some part of it.
There has been in all forty-one shocks, some of them have been very light; the first one took place at half past 2 on the morning of the 16th, the last one at eleven o'clock this morning, (20th) since I commenced writing this letter. The last one I think was not as severe as some of the former, but it lasted longer than any of the preceding; I think it continued nearly a minute and a half. Exclusive of the shocks that were made sensible to us in the water, there have been, I am induced to believe, many others, as we frequently heard a rumbling noise at a distance when no shock to us was perceptible. I am the more inclined to believe these were shocks, from having heard the same kind of rumbling with the shocks that affected us. There is one circumstance that has occurred, which if I had not seen with my own eyes, I could hardly have believed; which is, the rising of the trees that lie in the bed of the river. I believe that every tree that has been deposited in the bed of the river since Noah's flood, now stands erect out of the water; some of these I saw myself during one of the hardest shocks rise up eight or ten feet out of water. The navigation has been rendered extremely difficult in many places in consequence of the snags being so extremely thick. From the long continuance and frequency of these shocks, it is extremely uncertain when they will cease; and if they have been as heavy at New Orleans as we have felt them, the consequences must be dreadful indeed; and I am fearful when I arrive at Natchez to hear that the whole city of Orleans is entirely demolished, and perhaps sunk.
Immediately after the first shock and those which took place after daylight, the whole atmosphere was impregnated with a sulphurous smell."
New Orleans, December 26.
A letter from Fort Stoddert mentions, that on the morning of the 16th inst. two shocks of an earthquake had been felt. This is precisely the time it was felt at Natchez. It is evident that our being on an island and resting on the water, prevented us from feeling part of the shock.
Fort St. Stephens, December 24.
On Sunday night the 15th inst. the earth shook here so as to shake the fowls off their roosts, and made the houses shake very much, again it shook at sunrise and at 11 o'clock next morning, and at the same time the next day, and about the same time the third day after.
Accounts are brought in from the nation that several hunting Indians who were lately on the Missouri have returned, and state that the earthquake was felt very sensibly there, that it shook down trees and many rocks of the mountains, and that everything bore the appearance of an immediate dissolution of the world! - We give this as we got it - it may be correct - but the probability is that it is not.
Friday, February 14, 1812
Nashville, (Ten.) January 21
From Mr. James Fletcher, in whose statement we place the utmost reliance we have received the following narrative: - At the Little Prairie, (a beautiful spot on the west side of the Mississippi river about 30 miles from New-Madrid), on the 16th of December last, about 2 o'clock, A.M., we felt a severe concussion of the earth, which we supposed to be occasioned by a distant earthquake, and did not apprehend much damage. Between that time and day we felt several other slighter shocks; about sunrise another very severe one came on, attended with a perpendicular bouncing that caused the earth to open in many places - some eight and ten feet wide, numbers of less width, and of considerable length - some parts have sunk much lower than others, where one of these large openings are, one side remains as high as before the shock and the other is sunk; some more, some less; but the deepest I saw was about twelve feet. The earth was, in the course of fifteen minutes after the shock in the morning, entirely inundated with water. The pressing of the earth, if the expression be allowable, caused the water to spout out of the pores of the earth, to the height of eight or ten feet! We supposed the whole country sinking, and knew not what to do for the best. The agitation of the earth was so great that it was with difficulty any could stand on their feet, some could not - The air was very strongly impregnated with a sulphurous smell. As if by instinct, we flew as soon as we could from the river, dreading most danger there - but after rambling about two or three hours, about two hundred gathered at Capt. Francis Lescuer's, where we encamped, until we heard that the upper country was not damaged, when I left the camp (after staying there twelve days) to look for some other place, and was three days getting about thirty miles, from being obliged to travel around those chasms.
Previous to my leaving the country I heard that many parts of the Mississippi river had caved in; in some places several acres at the same instant. But the most extraordinary effect that I saw was a small lake below the river St. Francis. The bottom of which is blown up higher than any of the adjoining country, and instead of water it is filled with a beautiful white sand. The same effect is produced in many other lakes, or I am informed by those who saw them; and it is supposed they are generally filled up. A little river called Pemisece, that empties into the St. Francis, and runs parallel with the Mississippi, at the distance of about twelve miles from it, is filled also with sand. I only saw it near its bend, and found it to be so, and was informed by respectable gentlemen who had seen it lower down, that it was positively filled with sand. On the sand that was thrown out of the lakes and river lie numerous quantities of fish of all kinds common to the country.
The damage to stock, &c. was unknown. I heard of only two dwelling houses, a granary, and smoke house, being sunk. One of the dwelling houses was sunk twelve feet below the surface of the earth; the other the top was even with the surface. The granary and smoke house were entirely out of sight; we suppose sunk and the earth closed over them. The buildings through the country are much damaged. We heard of no lives being lost, except seven Indians, who were shaken into the Mississippi. - This we learned from one who escaped.
Previous to the shocks coming on, we heard a rumbling noise like that of thunder. They continued until I left the country - some very sincere. - I cannot tell how many there were.
The above account is confirmed by letters from the country. A gentleman attempting to pass from Cape Girardeau to the pass of St. Francis, found the earth so much cracked and broke, that it was impossible to get along. The course must be about 50 miles back of the Little Prairie. Others have experienced the same difficulty in getting along, and at times had to go miles out of their way to shun those chasms.
We have no idea that the principal cause of the shocks originated on the Mississippi - we have not yet heard the worse."
On Friday morning, the 7th inst. about 4 o'clock, a shock of an earthquake was severly felt in this town. The effects of the convulsion were much more sensibly felt, than the one which happened on the 16th of December. Many of the houses were violently shaken.
The following extract, taken from a letter received from Mr. Zadock Cramer, to his friend in this place, dated Natchez, Jan. 23, 1812 serves to corroborate the account hitherto received besides noting other remarkable phenomena in nature, with which we have not before become acquainted.
"This morning at eight o'clock, another pretty severe shock of an earthquake was felt. Those on the 16th ult. and since done much damage on the Mississippi river, from the mouth of the Ohio to Little Prairie particularly. Many boats have been lost, and much property sunk. The banks of the river, in many places, sunk hundreds of acres together, leaving the tops of the trees to be seen above the water. The earth opened in many places from one to three feet wide, through whose fissures stone coal was thrown up in pieces as large as a man's hand. The earth rocked - trees lashed their tops together. The whole seemed in convulsions, throwing up sand bars here, there sinking others, trees jumping from the bed of the river, roots uppermost, forming a most serious impediment to navigation, where before there was no obstruction - boats rocked like cradles - men, women and children confused, running to and fro and hallooing for safety - those on land pleading to get into the boats - those in boats willing almost to be on land. This damning and distressing scene continued for several days, particularly at and above Flour island. The long reach now, though formerly the best part of the river is said to be the worst being filled with innumerable planters and sawyers which have been thrown up from the bed by the extraordinary convulsions of the river. Little Prairie, and the country about it, suffered much - new lakes having been formed, and the bed of old ones raised to the elevation of the surface of the adjacent country. All accounts of those who have descended the river since the shocks give the most alarming and terrific picture of the desolating and horrible scene."
Friday, March 13, 1812
Mississippi River, Natchez
February 18, 1812
Your being editors of the useful guide, the Ohio and Mississippi Navigator, induces me, for the sake of the western country traders to inform you as early as in my power the wonderful changes for the worse in some parts of the Mississippi river, occasioned by the dreadful earthquake which happened on the morning of the 16th of December last, and which has continued to shake almost every day since. As to its effects on the river I found but little from the mouth of Ohio to New Madrid, from which place to the Chickasaw Bluffs, or Fort Pickering, the face of the river is wholly changed, particularly from Island No. 30, to island No. 40; (see page 185) this part of the river burst and shook up hundreds of great trees from the bottom, and what is more singular they are all turned roots upwards and standing upstream in the best channel and swiftest water, and nothing but the greatest exertions of the boatmen can save them from destruction in passing those places. I should advise all those concerned to be particular in approaching Island No. 32, where you must warp through a great number, and when past them, bear well over from the next right hand point for fear of being drawn into the right schute of Flour Island, Island 33, which I should advise against, as that pass is become very dangerous unless in very high water. Two boats from Little Beaver are lately lost, and several much injured in that pass this season. Boats should hug the left shore where there is but few sawyers, and good water and fine landing on the lower point of the island, from there the next dangerous place is the Devil's Race Ground, Island No. 36, (page 187). Here I would advise boats never to pass to the left of the island and by all means to keep close to the right hand point, and then close round the sandbar on the lower end of the schute is very dangerous and the gap so narrow that boats can scarcely pass without being dashed on some of the snags, and should you strike one you can scarcely extricate yourself before you receive some injury. From this scene you have barely time to breathe and refresh, before you arrive at the Devil's Elbow, alias the Devil's Hackle, Islands No. 38 and 39 (p. 188) by far the worst of all; in approaching this schute you must hug close around the left hand point until you come in sight of the sand bar whose head has the appearance of an old field full of trees, then pull for the island to keep clear of these, and pass through a small schute, leaving all the island sawyers to the right, and take care not to get too near them, for should you strike the current is so rapid it will be with great difficulty you will be able to save, your boat and cargo.
I shall advise all those descending the river not to take the right hand of Island No. 38, as it appears entirely choked up with drift and rafts of sawyers. When through these bad places the worst is over, only fuller of snags, but mind well the directions in the Navigator and there will be no danger. Run the Grand Cut-off No. 55, (p. 192) in all stages of the water, and hug close the right hand point, this pass is good. Take the left of St. Francis No. 59, left of No. 62, right of large sand bar and Island No. 63, and right of No. 76, in all the different stages of the water. All these channels are much the best and safest. Should this be the means of saving one boat load of provisions to an industrious citizen, how amply shall I feel rewarded for noting this, whilst with gratitude I acknowledge the obligation we as boatmen are under to you for your useful guide, that excellent work the Ohio and Mississippi Navigator, much to be valued for its accuracy and geographical account of this immense country.
I have the honor to be, gentlemen, your sincere friend and humble servant.
"SIGNS OF THE TIMES"
Has such a succession of Earthquakes as have happened within a few weeks been experienced in this country five years ago, they would have excited universal terror. The extent of territory which has been shaken, nearly at the same time, is astonishing - reaching on the Atlantic coast from Connecticut to Georgia and from the shores of the ocean inland to the State of Ohio. What power short of Omnipotence, could raise and shake such vast portion of this globe? What a tremendous natural agent must have ( sed) to produce such mighty effects as stated that in North Carolina a volcano has appeared, and that in an eruption a few days since, a flood of lava poured out which ran to the distance of three quarters of a mile. - The period is portentous and alarming. We have within a few years seen the most wonderful eclipses, the year past has produced a magnificent comet, the earthquakes within the past two months have been almost without number - and in addition to the whole, we constantly "hear of wars and summons of wars." May not the same enquiry be made of us that was made by the hypocrites of old - "Can ye not discern the signs of the times."
Wednesday, December 25, 1811
Richmond, (Vir.) Dec. 16.
An earthquake was witnessed by many people in the city - about three o'clock in the morning there were three successive shocks; another about 6; and again about 8. Several persons were under a persuasion that thieves had broken into their houses; and in one of the most elevated houses of the city, the bells, both above and below, were set a ringing.
Norfolk, December 16.
This morning two distinct shocks of an earthquake were felt in this place: The first, and (according to most accounts) the most violent, was about 3 o'clock. It was so severe as to awaken a number of persons out of their sleep. The shock, at two very short intervals, might have continued about a minute. The shaking of the beds is described as if a strong man had taken hold on the posts, and shook them with all the violence in his power. Several clocks were stopped. The houses were shaking with great violence. Again about eight o'clock another shock was felt by a great number of persons, as many had risen; this was also very violent. The most sensible effect produced by this, that we have yet learned, was that of throwing a pipe of wine off the skids, in a warehouse, in Commerce street.
Charleston, Dec. 16
An Earthquake - This morning, a few minutes before three o'clock, a severe shock of an earthquake was felt in this city. Its duration is supposed to have been between two and three minutes. For an hour previous, though the air was perfectly calm, and several stars visible, there was, at intervals of about five minutes, a rumbline noise, resembling distant thunder; which increased in violence of sound, just before the shock was felt. The vibrations of St. Phillip's steeple caused the clock bell to ring about 10 seconds. Two other shocks were felt this morning, one a little before 8 o'clock, and the other ten minutes after that hour; both slighter than the first, and of shorter duration: the vibrations of the second lasted probably rather more than a minute, and of the last two or three seconds. Many of the clocks were stopped; and the water of the different wells was much agitated. We have not heard of any damage having been done by these repeated shocks; nor have we heard how far they have extended into the country; except that they were felt at Rantowle's.
Such phenomena, until lately, were very rare. One is remembered to have happen on the 19th May, 1754, about 11 o'clock, A.M.; but it was very slight. Another slight one was felt on the 11th April, 1799, about 1 o'clock in the morning. In the year 1811, on the 13th January, another occurred, and was felt at Columbia and Granby, in this state, and in Augusta in Georgia, but not in Charleston.
Alexandria, Jan. 24.
A shock of an Earthquake was distinctly felt in this town yesterday morning, about 20 minutes after nine o'clock. Its duration was sopposed to be about 30 seconds, and its motions from N.W. to S.E. Considerable sensation was excited by this event.
New York, January 24.
Another Earthquake - A correspondent at Jamaici (L.I.) under date of this day, says - "Yesterday morning, at fifteen minutes after nine o'clock, a shock of an earthquake was sensibly felt in this village. Every thing suspended in my store was set in motion for more than a minute. The motion was a steady swinging backward and forward. The shock was felt also by my family, and by several of our neighbors."
We understand that the shock was noticed by many people in this city.
Arkport, (N.Y.) Jan. 6
Messrs. Miner & Butler,
A very singular phenomenon took place near Angelica, in the country of Allegany, on Monday morning the 16th of December, which I will state, as related to me by one of the eye witnesses. Early in the morning, about sunrise as sitting at breakfast, he had a strange feeling, and supposed at first that he was fainting, but as his sight did not fail, he then concluded that he was going into a fit, and removed his chair back from the table. - He then had a sensation as though the house was swinging and observed clothes hanging on lines in the room were swinging, as also a large kettle hanging over the fire. He observed that his wife and family appeared to be greatly alarmed, and still supposing that it was in consequence of his apparently falling into a fit, but on enquiry found that all felt the same sensation. This continued as he supposed for at least 15 minutes. There was no noise or trembling, nor any wind, but only an appearance of swinging or rocking, as he supposed, equal to the house rocking two feet one way and the other. - One of his neighbors felt the same, and on the opposite side of the river, at the farmhouse and dwelling house of Phillip Church, the same motions and sensations were felt. Mrs. Church was in bed, and when she first felt the motion, and a strange sensation as if suffocating, she jumped out of bed, supposing the house was on fire. The motion was so considerable as to set all the bells in the several rooms a ringing, and an inside door was observed to swing open and shut.
The same motions were felt up the river, about eight miles above, at a house near a small brook; the people ran out of the house, and observed the water to have the same motion. Accounts state, that the same motions have been felt at sundry other places 30 miles distant.
I could relate many other similar motions felt and perceived at the same time, but leave it for the present. How to account for it I know not. If you think it worthy of notice, you may make it public, and if the same or similar motions have been felt at other places, doubtless it will be communicated. I should like to hear it accounted for on rational principles.
Baltimore. Jan. 27
Extract of a letter dated West River, January 23.
"This morning, at about 9 o'clock, a friend of mine, Captain Franklin, miss Webster, and myself, had just sat down to breakfast, when Captain F. observed, "What's that? An Earthquake!" at the same instant, we felt as if we were in the cabin of a vessel, during a heavy swell. This sensation continued for one or two minutes, possibly longer. For although I had the presence of mind to take out my watch, I felt too sick to accurately observe its duration. The feeling was by no means tremulous, but a steady vibration. A portrait, about four feet in length, suspended from the ceiling by a hook and staple, and about five eights of an inch from the side wall, vibrated at least from eighteen inches to 2 feet each side, and so very steady, as not to touch the wall. My next neighbour and his daughter felt the same sensation about the same time. The father supposed it was the gout in his head. The daughter got up and walked to a window, supposing the heat of the fire had caused what she considered a faintness. Two others that I have seen mentioned to have felt the same, but none of them had thought of an earthquake. The two last being mechanics, and up late, mentioned that they were much alarmed at about 11 o'clock last night, by a great rumbling, as they thought, in the earth, attended with several flashes of lightning, which so lighted the house, that they could have picked up the smallest pin - one mentioned, that the rumbling and the light was accompanied by a noise like that produced by throwing a hot iron into snow, only very loud and terrific, so much so, that he was fearful to go out to look what it was, for he never once thought of an earthquake. I have thrown together the above particulars, supposing an extract may meet with corroborating accounts, and afford some satisfaction to your readers.
P.S. - The lightning and rumbling noise came from the south - I have just heard of its being felt in several other houses, but not any particulars more than related.
Easton, (Md.) . Jan. 25.
The Earthquake - Last Thursday morning, about nine o'clock, the shock of an Earthquake was very sensibly felt in this place. The vibratory motion, which continued nearly a minute, seemed to be north and south, and was so violent that the pendulums of several clocks stopped vibrating, and the weights were thrown into an irregular and confused motion. Considerable giddiness, some nausea, much wonder, and a little terror, were among the consequences.
Annapolis, Jan. 23.
An Earthquake - A severe shock of an earthquake was experienced by a number of persons in this city yesterday morning, the 22nd inst. about sixteen minutes before ten o'clock. Its duration is supposed to have been about two or three minutes, from beginning to end, and its direction apparently from E. to S.W. This phenomenon was dissimilar in its nature and effects from any of the kind that we have heretofore heard of, as it was not accompanied or preceded by the usual rumbling noise, nor any sudden concussion of the earth, but a continued roll, similar to that of a vessel in a heavy sea. One circumstance which renders its effect more singular is, that it was very sensibly felt by some, while others altho' in same room, and perhaps within a few feet of them, were not in the least affected by its operation, and those who were in the street, or open air, were insensible as to any extraordinary motion of the earth. The first intimation to those who experienced its effects was from the motion of every thing around them, and a sudden and deadly sickness, accompanied with a giddiness in the head. We judge of the severity of the shock from the motion which was given to substances saspended from the ceilings of houses. The fairest opportunity that was presented (to our knowledge) of judging of its force and direction, was from an ostrich egg which was suspended by a string of about a foot in length from a first floor ceiling, which was caused to oscillate at least four inches from point to point. We are informed that the steeple of the State House, which is supposed to be 250 feet in height, vibrated at least 6 or 8 feet at the top, and the motion was perceptible for 8 or 10 minutes. A number of clocks were stopped, and the ice in the river and bay cracked considerably. Some persons, who were skaiting, were very much terrified, and immediately made for the shore. In the lower part of the city it appears to have been most forcible, some people abandoning their homes, for the purpose of seeking safety in the open air. It is said that a noise like distant thunder was heard about 4 o'clock in the morning, and a slight motion of the earth observed about 8, but neither were very sensibly heard or felt.
There was nothing extraordinary in the atmosphere, except that it was remarkably calm, and rather inclined to be warm, altho' there was a deep snow on the ground, and for several days past it had been extremely cold.
FROM THE NORFOLK HERALD
Extract of a letter from a gentleman who in descending the river Mississippi, to his father in Norfolk, dated Chickasaw Agency, Dec. 17, 1811.
"On the 13th we reached the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi; and on the 14th we entered the father of rivers, on the 15th we passed New Madrid, a small settlement in the upper Louisiana, and at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 16th, we sensibly felt the jar of a distant convulsion, which we conjectured to be an earthquake, caused by eruption of some operations far to the west of the Mississippi. - We hope in God that its seat was far from human habitation. - We have frequently heard a distant noise like thunder since; the 16th was indeed a solemn, awful, and gloomy day; but now all seems quiet and serene; safety has returned our cheerfulness to us, and our hearts are warmed with grateful thanks to the Supreme Ruler of Nature for our preservation. From Natchez or New Orleans I will write you a full and minute account of the convulsions."
Raleigh, (N.C.) Jan. 24
The Earthquake. - A letter has been received in this city, from a gentleman of the first respectability in Tennessee, which states that the Earthquake, so generally felt on the 16th of Dec. was so violent in the vicinity of his residence, that several chimnies were thrown down, and that eighteen or twenty acres of land on Piney river had suddenly sunk so low, that the tops of the trees were on a level with the surrounding earth. Four other shocks were experienced on the 17th, and one or more continued to occur every day to the 30th aft., the date of the letter.
A slight shock of an Earthquake was felt in this city about eight o'clock yesterday morning. It continued only a few seconds.
From the New York Evening Post
Yesterday morning, at half past four o'clock, a smart shock of an earthquake was felt in this city. During the last two-months, this city, and every town in the U. States to the Southward of us, have been visited with one or more earthquakes.
From Poulson's American Daily Advertiser
Several distinct shocks for undulations of the earth were felt in this city on Friday morning, a few minutes before 4 o'clock. To several persons it appeared as if their bedsteads were raised under them by a pressure below.
One gentleman described it, as being so violent as to force open the folding doors of a wardrobe in his bed chamber, and others, state, that their chamber doors were thrown open, and articles loosely suspended from the ceilings and walls were kept in a state of oscillation for more than a minute. The undulations were more sensibly felt in the southern, than in the northern part of the city.
THE EARTHQUAKE which happened this morning was, by my watch, at 4 h. 24 m. A.M. - I find by T. Parker's regulator, that my watch was slow 3 M. 30 s. This will give the correct time, 4 h. 27 m. 30 s. A.M. The duration of the trembling was at least 1 m. 30 s. probably 2 m. with short intervals of quickness. The person who awakened me at the commencement stated, that it began with a noise resembling the very quick passage of a dray over hard ground. The motion appeared to be from West to East, or from East to West.
All the furniture in my chamber was much agitated, particularly the bed on which I slept, and the drawer handles of a desk and book case, standing on the west side, which continued rattling for some seconds after the motions of the bedstand had ceased.
I send you these remarks with the assurance that you may depend on the correctness of the time. - Perhaps some other persons may have made similar observations, in different places; by comparing which together an idea may be formed, of the centre from which the numerous late shocks have proceded. Yours, Sc. W.V. Feb. 7, 1812
We are informed (says the Baltimore Federal Gazette of Friday last) by several persons of respectability, that a shock of an Earthquake was very sensibly felt here this morning about half past four o'clock.
From the Lexington Reporter
Extract from a letter to a gentleman in Lexington, from his friend at New Madrid, (U.L.) dated 16th December, 1811.
"About 2 o'clock this morning we were awakened by a most tremendous noise, while the house danced about and seemed as if it would fall on our heads. I soon conjectured the cause of our troubles, and cried out it was an Earthquake, and for the family to leave the house; which we found very difficult to do, owing to its rolling and jostling about. The shock was soon over, and no injury was sustained, except the loss of the chimney, and the exposure of my family to the cold of the night. At the time of this shock, the heavens were very clear and serene, not a breath of air stirring; but in five minutes it became very dark, and a vapour which seemed to impregnate the atmosphere, had a disagreeable smell, and produced a difficulty of respiration. I knew not how to account for this at the time, but when I saw, in the morning, the situation of my neighbours' houses, all of them more or less injured, I attributed it to the dust and sot (?), &c which arose from the fall. The darkness continued till day-break; during this time we had EIGHT more shocks, none of them so violent as the first.
"At half past 6 o'clock in the morning it cleared up, and believing the danger over I left home, to see what injury my neighbours had sustained. A few minutes after my departure there was another shock, extremely violent - I hurried home as fast as I could, but the agitation of the earth was so great that it was with much difficulty I kept my balance - the motion of the earth was about twelve inches to and fro. I cannot give you an accurate description of this moment; the earth seemed convulsed - the houses shook very much - chimnies falling in every direction. - The loud hoarse roaring which attended the earthquake, together with the cries, screams, and yells of the people, seems still ringing in my ears.
"Fifteen minutes after seven o'clock, we had another shock. This one was the most severe one we have yet had - the darkness returned, and the noise was remarkably loud. The first motions of the earth were similar to the preceding shocks, but before they ceased we rebounded up and down, and it was with difficulty we kept our seats. At this instant I expected a dreadful catastrophe - the uproar among the people strengthened the colouring of the picture - the screams and yells were heard at a great distance.
"One gentleman, from whose learning I expected a more consistent account says that the convulsions are produced by this world and the moon coming in contact, and the frequent repetition of the shock is owing to their rebounding. The appearance of the moon yesterday evening has knocked his system as low as the quake has leveled my chimnies. Another person with a very serious face, told me, that when he was ousted from his bed, he was verily afraid, and thought the Day of Judgment had arrived, until he reflected that the Day of Judgment would not come in the night.
"Tuesday 17th - I never before thought the passion of fear so strong as I find it here among the people. It is really diverting, or would be so, to a disinterested observer, to see the rueful faces of the different persons that present themselves at my tent - some so agitated that they cannot speak - others cannot hold their tongues - some cannot sit still, but must be in constant motion, while others cannot walk. Several men, I am informed, on the night of the first shock deserted their families, and have not been heard of since. Encampments are formed of those that remain in the open fields, of 50 and 100 persons in each.
"Tuesday, Dec. 24th - The shocks still continue - we have had eight since Saturday - some of them very severe, but not sufficiently so to do much additional injury. I have heard of no lives being lost - several persons are wounded. This day I have heard from the Little Prairie, a settlement on the bank of the river Mississippi, about 30 miles below this place. There the scene has been dreadful indeed - the face of the country has been entirely changed. Large lakes have been raised, and become dry land; and many fields have been converted into pools of water. Capt. George Roddell, a worthy and respectable old gentleman, and who has been the father of that neighborhood, made good his retreat to this place, with about 100 souls. He informs me that no material injury was sustained from the first shocks - when the 10th shock occurred, he was standing in his own yard, situated on the bank of the Bayou of the Big Lake; the bank gave way, and sunk down about 30 yards from the water's edge, as far as he could see up and down the stream. It upset his mill, and one end of his dwelling house sunk down considerably; the surface on the opposite side of the Bayou, which before was swamp, became dry land, the side he was on became lower. His family at this time were running away from the house towards the woods; a large crack in the ground prevented their retreat into the open field. They had just assembled together when the eleventh shock came on, after which there was not perhaps a square acre of ground unbroken in the neighborhood, and in about fifteen minutes after the shock, the water rose round them waist deep. The old gentleman in leading his family, endeavoring to find higher land, would sometimes be precipitated headlong into one of those cracks in the earth, which were concealed from the eye by the muddy water through which they were wading. As they proceeded, the earth continued to burst open, and mud, water, sand and stone coal, were thrown up the distance of 30 yards - frequently trees of a large size were split open, fifteen or twenty feet up. After wading eight miles, he came to dry land.
"I have heard of no white person being lost as yet - Seven Indians were swallowed up; one of them escaped; he says he was taken into the ground the depth of 100 trees in length; that the water came under him and threw him out again - he had to wade and swim four miles before he reached dry land. The Indian says the Shawnee prophet has caused the earthquake to destroy the whites."
Washington, Feb. 29
More of the Earthquakes - The following interesting extract of a letter, on these phenomena, is from a gentleman in Tennessee to his friend in this city, dated
"This morning we were again alarmed by a most tremendous concussion of nature's elements, equal, if not more terrifying than those of the 15th of last month. Its continuation was from 20 to 30 minutes - it shook off the top of one chimney in this town, and unroofed some small buildings in the neighbourhood. It was succeeded by three or four small shocks in the course of an hour. About 4 o'clock, P.M. another was sensibly felt, but in a much lighter degree. The cause of all these phenomena appears to originate a little south of a due west course; which will render the information just received still more probable.
"A gentleman who was near the Arkansas river, at the time of the first shock in Dec. last, states, that certain Indians had arrived near the mouth of the river, who had seen a large lake or sea, where many of their brorhers had resided, and had perished in the general wreck; that to escape a similar fate, they had travelled three days up the river, but finding the dangers increase, as they progressed, frequently having to cut down large trees, to cross the chasms in the earth, they returned to the mouth of the river, and from them this information is derived.
Monday evening - Since Thursday last we have felt 3, 4 and 5 shocks of a day and night, but not very severe."
Russelville, (Ken.) Feb. 26
Arrived in this place on Friday morning last. Mr. John Vettner and crew, from New Madrid, from whom we learn, that they were on shore five miles below the place on Friday morning the 7th instant, at the time of the hard shock, and that the water filled their barge and sunk it, with the whole of its contents, losing every thing but the clothes they had on. They offered, at New Madrid, half their loading for a boat to save it, but no price was sufficient for the hire of a boat. Mrs. Walker offered a likely negro fellow for the use of a boat a few hours, but could not get it. - The town of New Madrid has sunk 12 feet below its former standing, but is not covered with water; the houses are all thrown down, and the inhabitants moved off, except the French, who live in camps close to the river side, and have their boats tied near them, in order to sail off, in case the earth should sink. It is said that a fall equal to that of the Ohio is near above New Madrid, and that several whirls are in the Mississippi river, some so strong as to sink every boat that comes within its suck; one boat was sunk with a family in it. The country from New Madrid to the Grand Prairie is very much torn to pieces, and the Little Prairie almost entirely deluged. It was reported when our informants left it, that some Indians who had been out in search of some other Indians that were lost had returned, and stated that they had discovered a volcano at the head of the Arkansas, by the light of which they travelled three days and nights. A vast nomber of sawyers (?) have risen in the Mississippi river.
No pencil can paint the distress of the many movers! Men, women and children, barefooted and naked! without money and without food.
From the Bairdstown Repository
Sir - The effects produced on the Mississippi, by the Earthquake on the 7th of February, are so great as to render it highly interesting to the community in general, and more particularly so at this crisis, when so many of our fellow citizens are about to adventure their property down that river. Under this impression I have procured the enclosed written statement of Matthias M. Speed, just returned from New Madrid, with a view of giving it publication thru' the medium of your paper. The account I am told is substantially corroborated by another man, who passed through Bairdstown a few days ago. I am, very respectfully, your humble servant,
In descending the Mississippi, on the night of the 6th February, we tied our boat to a willow bar on the west bank of the river, opposite the head of the 9th Island, counting from the mouth of the Ohio we were lashed to another boat. About 3 o'clock, on the morning of the 7th, we were waked by the violent agitation of the boat, attended with a noise more tremendous and terrific than I can describe or any one can conceive, who was not present or near to such a scene. The constant discharge of heavy cannon might give some idea of the noise for loudness, but this was infinitely more terrible, an account of its appearing to be subterraneous.
As soon as we waked we discovered that the bar to which we were tied was sinking, we cut loose and moved our boats for the middle of the river. After getting out so far as to be out of danger from the trees which were falling in from the bank - the swells in the river was so great as to threaten the sinking of the boat every moment. We stopped the outholes with blankets to keep out the water - after remaining in this situation for some time, we perceived a light in the shore which we had left - (we having a lighted candle in a lanthorn on our boat,) were hailed and advised to land, which we attempted to do, but could not effect it, finding the banks and trees still falling in.
At day light we perceived the head of the tenth island. During all this time we had made only about four miles down the river - from which circumstance, and from that of an immense quantity of water rushing into the river from the woods - it is evident that the earth at this place, or below, had been raised so high as to stop the progress of the river, and caused it to overflow its banks - We took the right hand channel of the river of this island, and having reached within about half a mile of the lower end of the town, we were affrightened with the appearance of a dreadful rapid of falls in the river just below us; we were so far in the sock (?) that it was impossible now to land - all hopes of surviving was now lost and certain destruction appeared to await us! We having passed the rapids without injury, keeping our bow foremost, both boats being still lashed together.
As we passed the point on the left hand below the island, the bank and trees were rapidly falling in. From the state of alarm I was in at this time, I cannot pretend to be correct as to the length or height of the falls; but my impression is, that they were about equal to the rapids of the Ohio. As we passed the lower point of the island, looking back, up the left channel, we thought the falls extended higher up the river on that side than on the other.
The water of the river, after it was fairly light, appeared to be almost black, with something like the dust of stone coal - We landed at New Madrid about breakfast time without having experienced any injury- The appearance of the town, and the situation of the inhabitants, were such as to afford but little relief to our minds. The former elevation of the bank on which the town stood was estimated by the inhabitants at about 25 feet above common water; when we reached it the elevation was only about 12 or 13 feet - There was scarcely a house left entire - some wholly prostrated, others unroofed and not a chimey standing - the people all having deserted their habitations, were in camps and tents back of the town, and their little watercafts (mispelled), such as skiffs, boats and canoes, handed out of the water to their camps, that they might be ready in case the country should sink.
I remained at New Madrid from the 7th till the 12th, during which time I think shocks of earthquakes were experienced every 15 or 20 minutes- those shocks were all attended with a rumbling noise, resembling distant thunder from the southwest, varying in report according to the force of the shock. When I left the place, the surface of the earth was very little, if any, above the tops of the boats in the river.
There was one boat coming down on the same morning I landed; when they came in sight of the falls, the crew were so frightened at the prospect, that they abandoned their boat and made for the island in their canoe- two were left on the island, and two made for the west bank in the canoe - about the time of their landing, they saw that the island was violently convulsed - one of the men on the island threw himself into the river to save himself by swimming - one of the men from the shore met him with the canoe and saved him. - This man gave such an account of the convulsion of the island, that neither of the three dared to venture back for the remaining man. The three men reached New Madrid by land.
The man remained on the Island from Friday morning until Sunday evening, when he was taken off by a canoe sent from a boat coming down. I was several days in company with this man - he stated that during his stay in the island, there were frequent eruptions, in which sand and stone, coal and water were thrown up. - The violent agitation of the ground was such at one time as induced him to hold to a tree to support himself; the earth gave way at the place, and he with the tree sunk down, and he got wounded in the fall. - The fissure was so deep as to put it out of his power to get out at that place - he made his way along the fissure until a sloping slide offered him an opportunity of crawling out. He states that frequent lights appeared - that in one instance, after one of the explosions near where he stood, he approached the hole from which the coal and land had been thrown up, which was now filled with water, and on putting his hand into it he found it was warm.
During my stay at new Madrid there were upwards of twenty boats landed, all of whom spoke of the rapids above, and conceived of it as I had done.
Several persons, who came up the river in a small barge, represented that there were other falls in the Mississippi, about 7 miles below New Madrid, principally on the eastern side - more dangerous than those above - and that some boats had certainly been lost in attempting to pass them - but they thought it was practicable to pass by keeping close to the western shore.
From what I had seen and heard I was deterred from proceeding further, and nearly gave away what property I had. On my return by land up the right side of the river, I found the surface of the earth for 10 or 12 miles cracked in numberless places, running in different directions - some of which were bridged and some filled with logs to make them passable - others were so wide that they were obliged to be surrounded. In some of these cracks the earth sank on one side from the level to the distance of five feet, and from one to three feet there was water in most of them. Above this the cracks were not so numerous nor so great - but the inhabitants have generally left their dwellings and gone to the higher grounds.
Nothing appeared to have issued from the cracks but where there was sand and stone coal, they seem to have been thrown up from holes; in most of those, which varied in size, there was water standing. In the town of New Madrid there were four, but neither of them had vented stone or sand - the size of them, in diameter, varied from 12 to 50 feet, and in depth from, 5 to 10 feet from the surface to the water. In travelling out from New Madrid those were very frequent, and were to be seen in different places, as high as fort ,Massac, in the Ohio.
Earthquake of March 25, 1812 killed about 10,000 inhabitants of Caracas.
Lexington, (Ken) April 4 - We are informed from a respectable source, that the old road to the port of Arkansas, by Spring river, is entirely destroyed by the last violent shocks of earthquakes - chasms of great depth and considerable length cross the country in various directions; - some swamps have become dry, others deep lakes, and in some places hills have disappeared.
Richmond, (Vir.) April 24
A few minutes before 4 o'clock, on Wednesday morning, an earthquake was distinctly felt and heard by several persons in and near this city. The sound was like the rumbling of distant thunder. Pendulous bodies swung, beds were shaken, and several roused from their slumbers. How fortunate are we, that we are so far removed from the scene of convulsion - and saved from the frightful disaster - which has laid the wretched Carracas in ruins.
Louisville, (Ken.) May 1
Earthquake - At forty-five minutes after three o'clock A.M. on Friday last, a shock of an earthquake was very sensibly felt, and at forty minutes after ten o'clock P.M. another slight shock was distinctly perceived; the vibration appeared to be from North to South, or rather West of North and East of South; - duration of first shock, about minute, of second shock, about half a minute.
Richmond, Dec. 17
Our city has been sensibly shocked at intervals, for the last two days, by an earthquake. It was first felt on Monday morning at three o'clock. In the most elevated parts of the city, the citizens were alarmed by the violent concussion, and the house bells in some places set a ringing. On yesterday, at eleven o'clock another violent shock was felt.
It was felt at Norfolk at 3 and 8 o'clock on Monday morning, at which the Hearald says, "The clocks were all stopt, and doors, and things suspended from the ceilings of the shops and stores, oscillated violently, though a dead calm prevailed. Its course was from West to East." It is remarkable that although the higher parts of this city were much agitated, and a gentleman who was then shaving himself was obliged to discontinue the operation, those who live below the hill never felt it at all.
Charleston, Dec. 17
Earthquake - Yesterday morning, about three o'clock, a severe shock of an Earthquake was felt in this city. It was preceded by a blowing noise, resembling that made by smith's bellows. The agitation of the earth was such that the bells in the church steeples rung to a degree that some supposed there was fire. The houses shook so sensibly as to induce many persons to rise from their beds. The clocks generally stopped. Another slight shock was felt about fifteen minutes after, and again at eight o'clock, which last shook to such a degree as to make a very considerable rattling among glass, china and other furniture. A looking glass, about three feet in length, hanging against a West wall, was observed to vibrate two or three inches from North to South.
Georgetown, December 18
Earthquake - Several shocks of an Earthquake were experienced in this town between the hours of three and eight o'clock on Monday morning. Great indeed was the consternation of the inhabitants, on the awful occasion. So severe were the shocks that the parade ground of the fort settled from one to two inches below its former level. A tub of water sitting on a table in the barracks was upset by the jarring of the building.
Another severe shock was felt yesterday at 12 o'clock,.
Raleigh, (N.C.) Dec. 13. (18?)
Several slight shocks of an earthquake were felt in this place on Monday morning.
Charleston, Dec. 18
Earthquake - A slight shock was felt on Monday evening, and another yesterday at 20 minutes after 12. They continued but a few seconds. We have now had six of these awful visitations in two days.
Savannah, Dec. 17
Four shocks of an Earthquake have been sustained by our town, and its neighborhood, within the last two days. The first commenced yesterday morning between two and three, preceded by a meteoric flash of light and accompanied with a rattling noise, resembling that of a carriage passing over a paved pathway, and lasted almost minute. A second succeeded, almost immediately after, but its continuance was of much shorter duration. A third shock was experienced about eight o'clock in the morning, and another today about one.
Persons from White Bluff, (about eight miles from town, southwardly) felt it very sensibly; and several who were up at the time, state that the movement of the earth made then tether as though they were on ship board in a heavy swell of the sea. Those who were up at the time conceive its direction to have been from southwest to northeast.
On Monday morning, the 16th inst. about three o'clock, the citizens of the town of Pittsburgh, (Penn.) were greatly alarmed by the shock of an Earthquake; a number of persons from the shaking of their houses, were so much alarmed as to run out of bed. About 7 o'clock, the same morning, there was another shock, though not so violent as the first. - Philad. pap.
From the Annapolis Maryland Republican
An Earthquake- A severe shock of an earthquake was experienced by a number of persons in this city yesterday morning, the 22nd inst. about sixteen minutes before ten o'clock. Its duration is supposed to have been about two or three minutes from beginning to end, and its direction apparently from E. to S.W. This phenomenon was dissimilar in its nature and effects from any of the kind that we have heretofore heard of, as it was not accompanied or preceded by the usual rumbling noise, nor any sudden concussion of the earth, but a continued roll similar to that of a vessel in a heavy sea. One circumstance which renders its effects more singular is, that it was very sensibly felt by some, while others, although in the same room, and perhaps within a few feet of them, were not in the least affected by its oscillation, and those who were in the street or ____ air, were insensible as to any extraordinary motion of the earth. The first intimation to those who experienced its effects, was from the motion of every thing around them, and a sudden sickness accompanied with a giddines in the head. We judge of the severity of the shock from the motion given to substances suspended from the ceilings of houses. The fairest opportunity that was presented (to our knowledge) of judging of its force and direction, was from an ostrich egg which was suspended by a string of about a foot in length from a first floor ceiling, which was caused to oscillate at least four inches from point to point - - - We are informed that the State House, which is supposed to be 250 feet in height vibrated at least 6 or 8 feet at the top, and the motion was perceptible for 8 or 10 minutes. A number of clocks were stopped and the ice in the bay and river cracked considerably. Some persons, who were skaiting, were very much terrified, and immediately made for the shore. In the lower part of the city it appears to have been most forcible, some people being in the act of abandoning their houses, for the purpose of seeking safety in the open air. It is said that a noise like distant thunder was heard about 3 o'clock in the morning, and a slight motion of the earth observed about 8, but neither were very sensibly heard or felt.
There was nothing extraordinary in the atmosphere, except that it was remarkably calm, and rather inclined to be warm, although there was a deep snow on the ground and for several days past it had been extremely cold.
Charleston, Jan. 24
Earthquake - Yesterday morning, at fifteen minutes after nine o'clock, another shock was felt in this city. The vibrating motion was more severe than any we experienced last month, and continued for one minute. The pavements in several of the streets are cracked, by the loosening of the cement; and a three Story Brick House in King-Street, belonging to Mr. Brownlee, has received very considerable injury. The walls are cracked from the top to the bottom, and the wooken work and the plastering in the inside, are split and broken. Many persons in different parts of the city were sensible of a shock at eight o'clock in the morning- Several families left their beds. Both these concussions were unaccompanied with any noise.
A report prevailed in town yesterday, that a part of the town of Natchez had been sunk by an Earthquake, and that four thousand persons perished.- We trust that this report will prove to be unfounded; but if such a deplorable circumstance has taken place, it could not have been on the morning of the 16th December, as a letter dated on that date at Natchez, and published some time since at the city of Washington says "A considerable shock of an Earthquake was felt here last night", without adding anything further; which most undoubtedly would have been done, had any fatality attended it.
Natchez, Jan. 2
Important Arrival - Arrived here on Monday last, the steam-boat from Pittsburgh, which had on account of low water been some time detained at the falls of the Ohio; and is destined to run between this place and New Orleans as a regular trader. She was only 221 hours under way from Pittsburgh to this place a distance of near two thousand miles.
No very satisfactory accounts of the shocks of Earthquake, and their effects, which have lately happened, could be expected; that received from the gentlemen on board, is rather more so than we anticipated.
The shake or jar, produced by the powerful operation of the engine, rendered the shocks imperceptible, while the boat was under way. While at anchor five or six shocks were felt, two or three more severe than the rest. On enquiry at New Madrid, a small town about 70 miles below the mouth of Ohio, they found that the chimnies of almost all the houses were thrown down, and the inhabitants considerably alarmed. At the Little Prairie, 30 miles lower down, they were bro't to by the cries of some of the people, who thought the earth was gradually sinking; but declined to take refuge on board without their friends, whom they wished to collect. Some distance below the Little Prairie, the bank of the river has caved in to a considerable extent, and two islands had almost disappeared.
We also understand that letters have been received from Louisville, Falls of Ohio, which state, that the houses have suffered considerable damage in that place.
From the Richmond Enquirer, Jan. 25.
Another Earthquake was most distinctly felt in this city on Thursday morning last [Jan. 23] , about nine o'clock. Some persons were rocked in their chairs. Some staggered as they stood. Hanging keys oscillated. Doors and windows flapped. Bedsteads and tall articles of furniture were moved to and fro. Those who were at breakfast saw a violent ripple on the surface of tea and coffee. A few ran out of their houses in great alarm. The convulsion was more sensibly felt on the hill than below it; in high than low houses. We distinctly felt two of these convulsions, within the lapse of 15 or 20 minutes between them.
The following very interesting communication is from an intelligent friend at N. Orleans. - It is, we presume, the most particular and satisfactory account of the earthquakes on the Mississippi, which has, as yet, been published: And Mr. Pierce being an ear and eye witness to the scenes he describes, the authenticity of his narrative cannot be doubted.