The loss by fire of the U. S. Steam Frigate Missouri at Gibraltar during the night of August 26, 1843, was a most deplorable accident and attracted at the time more widespread comment than any other similar accident has before or since. It came at a time when the U. S. Navy had recently suffered an unfortunate series of disasters. The sloop-of-war Peacock was lost off the Columbia River bar, July 18, 1841, all saved. The sloop-of-war Concord was beached and became a wreck, October 2, 1842, off the East Coast of Africa, three were drowned, and the small sloop Grampus foundered off Hatteras during the early part of March, 1843, and all hands were lost.
*Captain J. T. Newton, the commanding officer of the Missouri when she was burned in Gibraltar harbor, August 26, 1843, reported to the Secretary of the Navy that the accidental breaking of a demijohn of turpentine, the fluid from which fell into a lighted lamp beneath, set the ship on fire.—C. W. S.
** Captain Newton was tried by court-martial, in 1844, for “negligence,” and was sentenced to two years suspension.—C. W. S.