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Battle of Galveston
On September 8, 1900, the greatest natural disaster to ever strike the United States occurred at Galveston, Texas. In the early evening hours of September 8, a hurricane came ashore at Galveston bringing with it a great storm surge that inundated most of Galveston Island and the city of Galveston. As a result, much of the city was destroyed and at least 6,000 people were killed in a few hours time. The following excerpt is from the account of Isaac M. Cline, the senior Weather Bureau employee present at Galveston, of the events leading up to the storm, his personal experiences in the storm, and the aftermath. The horror of Galveston is only partly described in this work. He was probably somewhat still in shock when he wrote this report as he lost his wife when his house collapsed during the storm and virtually all of his possessions. In a later biographical work, he referred to the shooting of hundreds of looters by vigilantes in the aftermath of the storm and the cremation of hundreds of unknown storm victims who otherwise would have decomposed where they lay. This particular report is excerpted from the Monthly Weather Review for September, 1900.
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“Sunday, September 9, 1900, revealed one of the most horrible sights that ever a civilized people looked upon. About three thousand homes, nearly half the residence portion of Galveston, had been completely swept out of existence, and probably more than six thousand persons had passed from life to death during that dreadful night. The correct number of those who perished will probably never be known, for many entire families are missing. Where 20,000 people lived on the 8th not a house remained on the 9th, and who occupied the houses may, in many instances, never be known.”
SPECIAL REPORT ON THE GALVESTON HURRICANE OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1900
By Isaac M. Cline, Local Forecast Official and Section Director
UNITED STATES WEATHER BUREAU OFFICE, GALVESTON, TEX., September 23, 1900.