Lower Potomac River, MD Steamer TULIP Explodes, Dec 1864



Washington, Monday, Nov. 14.
Information has been received to-day that the TULIP, attached to the Potomac flotilla, exploded her boiler on Friday, down the river, and caused a frightful sacrifice of life. Of the sixty-five persons on board of her only ten are accounted for.

Dispatch To The Navy Department.
Washington, Monday, Nov. 14.
An official dispatch has been received at the Navy Department, from Commander PARKER, announcing the blowing up of the gunboat TULIP, on Friday, on the Lower Potomac, by the explosion of her boiler, killing all on board except ten.

Washington, Monday, Nov. 14.
The gunboat TULIP, attached to the Potomac flotilla, left St. Mary's at 3 P. M. on Friday for the navy-yard here, for repairs, and when passing Ragged Point, at 6:20 P. M., her boilers exploded with a terrific crash, rending the upper portion of the vessel to atoms, scalding the officers and crew, and hurling them in all directions.
Several of those who escaped without serious injury, ran immediately to lower the gig; but before they could get it down, the wreck of the TULIP sunk, carrying down with it most of those on board.
Some of the officers and men seized what they could lay their hands on, and succeeded in keeping afloat for over an hour, until their position was discovered by the tugboat HUDSON, Capt. JAMES ALLEN and Engineer R. GRANGER, which picked up ten persons, who are all that escaped from the ill-fated vessel.
The ten picked up, were Ensign WAGSTAFF and Master's Mate DAVIS (the only tow who escaped uninjured). Master's Mate REYNOLD'S, with a leg broken, and Engineer TEAL, very badly wounded and six men.
The HUDSON'S officers searched dilligently among the floating pieces of the wreck, but succeeded in finding no others than those mentioned above, and steamed on to St. Inigoes.
There were on board the TULIP, at the time of the catastrophe, 69 officers and men. Among them were the following:
Acting Master W. H. SMITH, of Philadelphia; Ensign WAGSTAFF; Acting Master's Mates DAVIS, REYNOLDS, ROFFENBURG, HAMMOND and SIMONS; Engineers PARKS, GORDON and TEAL.
When she started, there was steam on in but one boiler; but, before proceeding far, steam was raised on the other, and the boat was proceeding slowly up the river. The first intimation of danger was a cry from MR. GORDON, who was the engineer on watch, to run to the safety-valve, and he made his way to the engine-room, but scarcely had he gone through the door when the explosion took place.
At this time Capt. SMITH, the pilot, JAMES, Master's Mate HAMMOND and the Quartermaster were on the bridge over the boilers, and must have been blown to atoms. The only trace left of Capt. SMITH was his hat. As other persons were picked up, fifty-nine persons must have lost their lives instantly, and two of those saved died before the ELLA left Sin Inigols. Two or three others of the ten saved are not expected to live, among them Engineer TEAL.
Capt. SMITH has been attached to the flotilla for about two years past, and was a much esteemed young officer. He hails from Philadelphis. Engineer G. F. PARKS, who was in charge of the engines, and went down in the wreck, hails from Brooklyn, where he leaves a wife and three children, with an aged mother. Engineer JOHN GORDON, who was also lost, hails from Philadelphia, where he leaves a family.
The TULIP was one of the vessels built at New York for MANDARIN WARD, of China, and, after his death, the Government purchased the TULIP and FUSCHIA, another of WARD'S vessels.

The New York Times New York 1864-12-15