Accidental Death

Letter from Sophie du PontOne of the largest wartime explosions in the DuPont powder yards occurred on 25 February 1863. At 2:15 p.m., around 25,000 pounds of powder exploded in the Hagley Yard packing house, where finished gunpowder was packed into various sized containers. Thirteen men lost their lives in the explosion, including Fergus Noone. DuPont employee Nathaniel Brown reported that a few minutes before the explosion Noone said to a few of his coworkers "come on boys, let's go to work" and led them inside the packing house. The accident destroyed the packing house and threw debris throughout the Hagley Yard.

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Image: Sophie du Pont's letter describing the 25 February 1863 explosion (Hagley Digital Archives)