Centuries of storms, fogs, shoals, collisions, combat, poor judgement and bad luck have plagued local mariners. Gazing across Point Lookout's waters, we can only wonder how many of their wrecks litter the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River.
Don't Light The Boiler
November 11, 1864: The Union gunboat U. S. S. Tulip was heading up the Potomac River to Washington D. C. for repairs. To make better time and avoid Confederate batteries on the Virginia shore, the captain - in violation of his orders - fired up the only working boiler. It exploded, sinking the vessel and killing 47 of the 57 sailors.
No Shelter From The Storm
October 22, 1878: A hurricane moving up the Chesapeake Bay foound the southbound steamer Express. Huge waves doused her boiler fires, leaving the crew helpless as the Express wallowed broadside to the walls of water, and capsized. Sixteen died. The ship's quartermaster was rescued more than 20 miles away.
October 17, 1978: The United States Coast Guard Cutter Cuyahoga, bound up the Potomac River, turned into the path of the loaded coal freighter Santa Cruz. The cutter sank in minutes, killing 11 sailors.
Caption of photo in lower left side of marker:
The U. S. S. Tulip
Caption of photo in lower right side of marker:
United States Coast Guard Cutter Cuyahoga