The steamship Pulaski exploded and sank just off the Charleston harbor. It was owned by the Savannah and Charleston Steam Packet Company to safely and speedily carry freight and passengers between Savannah to Baltimore with stops in Charleston.
That night, after taking on about 65 passengers in Charleston, the Pulaski steamed about thirty miles off the North Carolina coast through a dark night and moderate weather. Around ten o’clock, the Pulaski’s starboard boiler suddenly exploded and swept some passengers into the sea and scalded others to death. Panicked passengers, most of them wearing their night clothes, sought refuge on the promenade deck.
The bow of the Pulaski rose out of the water and eventually she ripped apart.
Passengers clung to furniture and pieces of wreckage. As the Pulaski sank, the crew lowered four life boats but two of them capsized while the other two filled with frantic passengers.
Three days later the Henry Camerdon, schooner bound for Wilmington, North Carolina, rescued 30 survivors. There were more than 100 deaths.