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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Inigoes in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Disaster at Ragged Point

USS Tulip Boilers an Ongoing Problem During the War

 
 
Disaster at Ragged Point Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 23, 2011
1. Disaster at Ragged Point Marker
Inscription. 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.
Disaster at Ragged Point Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 23, 2011
2. Disaster at Ragged Point Marker
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.
 
Erected by the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Public Works Department Natural Resources Branch and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
 
Location. 38° 9.729′ N, 76° 25.441′ W. Marker is in St. Inigoes, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Cross Manor Road. Click for map. The marker is at the end of a grassy
Illustration by Barbara Stewart image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 23, 2011
3. Illustration by Barbara Stewart
lane running north from Cross Manor Road just east of the gates of Cornwaleys' Cross Manor. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Inigoes MD 20684, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Tulip Disaster (here, next to this marker); USS Tulip Monument (a few steps from this marker); The Union's Defense (a few steps from this marker); St. Ignatius Church (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Manor of Cornwaleys’ Cross (approx. 1.3 miles away); Mattapany Street (approx. 1.5 miles away); Fear of War, People of Peace (approx. 1.5 miles away); Discovering Layers of the Past (approx. 1.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in St. Inigoes.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. This cluster of markers and monuments tell the story of the USS Tulip and the Potomac Flotilla.
 
Categories. War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
1940 Tulip Monument image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 23, 2011
4. 1940 Tulip Monument
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 283 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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