The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Mohawk (Steamboat), 1 Feb 1855

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The little iron steamer MOHAWK, formerly a British war vessel on the lakes, but now the property of Americans, and in the carrying trade, was lying in St. Clair River, a few days since, surrounded by ice and immovable. It occurred to her Captain that he could rescue from her icy chains by blowing up the frozen mass with gunpowder. Accordingly he prepared his torpedo by filling a bottle with gunpowder, attaching a long piece of water-proof fuse, and sinking the contrivance through a hole in the ice. All being prepared the gallant engineer fired his train and retired a proper distance to await the results. Now, everybody who has seen the safety fuse used, knows that it burns quite slowly under water, though quick as powder in the open air. The explosion not following immediately upon the Captain's application of his cigar, he became anxious, stepped forward, applied his nose to the hole in the ice, and --"Look ye what befel." There was a rumbling explosion, ice, water, Captain, spray, and reports say, a white-fish or two, ascended in a halo of glory, towards the zenith. The Captain, having "gone up like a rocket," follow out the metaphor and "came down like a stick," fortunately floating like it, and struck out for shore. When it was discovered that he was not injured, the crowd who had witnessed his pyrotechnics gave three cheers for the Captain and his petard, which the former gracefully acknowledged. He declined, however, to do it again.
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      February 24, 1855

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ice removal ?
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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Mohawk (Steamboat), 1 Feb 1855