Disaster at Ragged Point

Disaster at Ragged Point (HM168I)

Location: St Inigoes, MD 20684 St Mary's County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 9.729', W 76° 25.441'

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USS Tulip Boilers an Ongoing Problem During the War

Immediately after commissioning the Tulip experienced boiler problems. In August 1863, her boilers were building pressure to hazardous conditions and in mid-October, she was ordered to the Washington Navy Yard for boiler repairs.Steam drums were added to the boilers, which temporarily solved the problem. However , by August 1864 Tulip engineers Jeremiah Riddle and John Buckley reported their boiler unsafe and refused to fire them. They were suspended from duty and reassigned.

In November 1864, after months of conducting blockade duty with potentially hazardous boiler conditions, the Tulip was finally ordered to the Washington Navy Yard for another boiler repair. Her orders specified that she was to proceed up the Potomac River using only her port side boiler since the starboard (no. 2) boiler was defective.

While enroute to Washington, DC, acting Master William H. Smith steamed from St. Mary's River having decided to fire No. 2 boiler. He ordered the fires stoked when effectively out of signal distance from shore.

On November 11, 1864, at 1820 hours, a thundering explosion ripped apart Tulip's upper deck, flinging men in every direction. He bottom, cabin, and pilothouse were blown out and in minutes she sank into the Potomac. According to the paymaster's books, 49 of the 57 officers and men were missing. For several weeks after the disaster, bodies that were burned and mangled beyond recognition continued to wash up on shore. The remains of eight unidentified sailors were buried in a locust grove near here. Of the immediate survivors, two would succumb to their injuries, and at least two more were treated at the US General Hospital located at Point Lookout.

Casualties Remembered

Efforts to erect a monument began on September 15, 1927,when Captain J. M. Ellicott, grandson of C. M. Jones (the Civil War owner of Cross Manor) wrote to t he Secretary of Navy requesting a monument be placed near the grave site of eight unidentified sailors. On June 15, 1940 the monument was erected.

This exhibit was prepared by the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Public Works Department Natural Resources Branch and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
HM NumberHM168I
Placed ByThe Naval Air Station Patuxent River Public Works Department Natural Resources Branch and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 9th, 2014 at 2:35pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 375247 N 4224764
Decimal Degrees38.16215000, -76.42401667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 9.729', W 76° 25.441'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 9' 43.74" N, 76° 25' 26.46" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 47784 Cross Manor Rd, St Inigoes MD 20684, US
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