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Black Diamond American Civil War Weekend Event

April 23 @ 2:00 pm 3:30 pm

Head to St. Clement’s Island Museum for a weekend commemorating a forgotten tragedy of the American Civil War – the Black Diamond Disaster. Weekend includes ceremony, free boat rides, free museum admission, folk music performance, and more.
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.
Saturday & Sunday (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) -FREE water taxi rides to St. Clement’s Island where the 1863 Goldsmith Raid occurred (the final water taxi will leave at 3:00 p.m. – water taxi operates as weather and wind conditions allow) -FREE admission to the St. Clement’s Island Museum
Saturday Only (April 23) -Special performance by Fredericksburg’s folk fiddle band “Sibling Rivalry,” a four-sibling fiddle band playing Civil War era music and other American Folk Tunes. This extremely talented group, ages 13 to 19, will perform at 2:00 p.m. at the museum! More Info:
Sunday Only (April 24) -Commemorative ceremony (2:00 p.m.) 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 (3:00 p.m.) at St. Clement’s Island Museum follows the ceremony
More Fun – Dinner & a Cruise Series: The weekend concludes on Sunday with a fun evening of cruising on the St. Clement’s Island Water Taxi, delicious seafood dinner at waterside Morris Point Restaurant, and a dessert reception back at St. Clement’s Island Museum. This event’s theme is “The Civil War on the Potomac”. The cruise requires prior reservation as only 20 tickets will be sold. Call 301-769-2222 to reserve your space. Cruise info:
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:
For more information about the event, call 301-769-2222.


April 23
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
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St. Mary’s County Museum Division
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St. Clement’s Island Museum

38370 Point Breeze Road
Colton's Point, MD 20626 United States
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