Alexander McBride served as supervisor of the munitions laboratory that exploded in September 1862. McBride worked at the arsenal from the mid-1840s through the conclusion of the Civil War. His own daughter Catherine, age 13, worked filling small arm cartridges. In the chaos immediately following the blast, McBride searched for his daughter only to find that she was among the victims killed by the exploding munitions. Even in old age, McBride worked hard petitioning the federal government for compensation for the victims and families.