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Washington Arsenal Explosion

Washington Arsenal Explosion
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In 1864 residents of Washington, DC, mourned together at the largest funeral the District had ever seen. In the midst of the Civil War, the poor Irish neighborhood of the Island lost 21 mothers, sisters and daughters. On June 17, dangerous working conditions and a series of unfortunate events led to the deadly explosion of a federal arsenal at Fort McNair, where the young women made cartridges to assist the war effort. In the wake of the horrific event, a monument was erected at Congressional Cemetery to honor those who were lost. Author Brian Bergin similarly memorializes these women through his book, detailing the poor working conditions, the investigation into the avoidable events leading to the tragedy, and the reaction of a community already battered by the Civil War. Paperbound, 2012, 128 pp.

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