Upcoming Event

The Black Diamond Disaster Weekend - An American Civil War Event

Apr 24 recurring event

  • Location: St. Clement's Island Museum
  • Time:
    10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Head to St. Clement’s Island Museum for a weekend commemorating a forgotten tragedy of the American Civil War - the Black Diamond Disaster. On April 23, 1865, eighty-seven (87) lives were lost when the Black Diamond and the steamer Massachusetts collided in the Potomac River near St. Clement’s Island during the hunt for John Wilkes Booth.

This year, the event will be a bit smaller than usual due to the continuing pandemic.

Saturday & Sunday (10AM - 5PM)
-FREE water taxi rides to St. Clement's Island where the 1863 Goldsmith Raid occurred (the final water taxi will leave at 3PM - water taxi operates as weather and wind conditions allow).
-FREE admission to the St. Clement's Island Museum
Saturday Only (April 24 - 4PM)
-Concert by the The Federal City Brass Band. This group appears in period dress, uses mostly period instruments, and their musical selections are based on the military music books from the 1860s.

Sunday Only (April 25)
-Commemorative ceremony (2PM) with remarks by Naval Air Station Patuxent River Base Commander. The ceremony will include a wreath laying and the reading of the names of the deceased.
-Reception (3PM) at St. Clement’s Island Museum follows the ceremony.

The History: In April 1865, following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the Quartermaster Corps sent the barge Black Diamond to the lower Potomac to stand on picket duty off St. Clement’s Island. Her main job was to keep John Wilkes Booth from crossing the Potomac River. During the same time, the steamer Massachusetts headed for Fortress Monroe out of Alexandria, Virginia. In a tragic turn of events, the Massachusetts struck the Black Diamond on the port side near the boiler, sinking her in under three minutes. 87 lives were lost off the shores of St. Clement’s Island that night. More info: http://ow.ly/kFlA50xpRYz

Call 301-769-2222 for more information.

The Federal City Brass Band Concert was made possible by the Southern Maryland Heritage Area and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

Additional fun - Sunday evening Dinner & a Cruise Series: The weekend concludes on Sunday with a fun evening of cruising on the St. Clement’s Island Water Taxi, cocktail reception at St. Clement’s Island Museum and delicious seafood dinner at waterside Morris Point Restaurant. This event’s theme is “The Search for the Wreck of the Black Diamond”. The cruise requires prior reservation as only 20 tickets will be sold. Call 301-769-2222 to reserve your space.

PLEASE NOTE: Masks must be worn at all time while on museum grounds, water taxi or in any museum facility. Social distancing protocols are to be observed. Staff will be masked and frequently touched surfaces will be sanitized. Sanitizer will be available for visitors. Industrial air purifiers have been installed at the museum.

Upcoming Dates For This Event:

  • Sunday, April 25

The Black Diamond Disaster Weekend - An American Civil War Event

38370 Point Breeze Road
Coltons Point, Maryland 20626