From the Richmond Dispatch, 1/29/1863, p. 1, c. 6
Inquest. – Acting Coroner Richard D. Sanxay yesterday held an inquest over the remains of the two Federal soldiers who were drowned by falling into the James River and Kanawha canal, on the morning of Tuesday, as they were journeying from the Libby Prison to the Petersburg Depot, in this city. The inquest was held at the headquarters of the City Battalion, on the south side of the Basin. It was proved by sundry witnesses that the bridge spanning the canal, and whose breaking caused the catastrophe, was fabricated by Moseley & Co., of Cincinnati, Ohio, and had been in use for six years and upwards. Abundant evidence was on hand that it had been used on all occasions, without fear of the result, up to the late fatal accident.
In addition to the inquiry made by the Coroner into the death of Daniel LaRuke and George Ephart, of company K, 30th Indiana regiment, the two Federal soldiers who lost their lives on the occasion, an effort was made to find out how the “unknown stranger” came to his death. This latter, as was said on yesterday, resembled a Georgia soldier from his uniform, and had been in the water for several weeks.
The jury, so far as the Federal soldiers were concerned, came to the conclusion that their death was caused by the breaking of the bridge and their subsequent falling into the canal by reason thereof. As far as the “unknown stranger” was concerned, the jury could not exactly determine, but believed he accidentally fell into the canal and was drowned, and so returned a verdict to that effect.
While the inquest was progressing, another body was fished out of the canal, which proved to be that of F. Padican, of the 18th Mississippi regiment. It was ordered to be buried without the formality of an inquest. Three other Federal soldiers yet remain to be accounted for.