Upcoming Event

The Black Diamond Disaster: An American Civil War Event @ St. Clement's Island Museum

Apr 21

  • Time:
    10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Head to St. Clement’s Island Museum for a day 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 barge Black Diamond and the steamer Massachusetts collided in the Potomac River near St. Clement’s Island during the hunt for John Wilkes Booth.

Enjoy free admission to the St. Clement's Island Museum, free water taxi rides to St. Clement's Island, special displays from other Civil War agencies such as the Surratt House Museum and the Sons of Union Veterans, Civil War-era fiddle music by Sibling Rivalry, a commemorative ceremony & reception, and optional dinner & cruise event. Find a detailed schedule of events here.

History of the Black Diamond: 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. Read the full story here.

The Black Diamond Disaster: An American Civil War Event @ St. Clement's Island Museum

38370 Point Breeze Rd
Coltons Point, Maryland 20626

(301) 769-2222

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