From The Vault: Vessel Explodes Killing 49 People


USS Tulip

USS Tulip was a Union screw steam gunboat of 240 tons, built in 1862 at Brooklyn, intended as the lighthouse tender CHI KIANG for use in China.  She was sistership of the USS Fuchsia.  She was purchased by the Union Navy in 1863 and converted to a gunboat.

During the Civil War USS Tulip was assigned to the Potomac River Flotilla in August 1863, at Washington Navy Yard as a tug and as part of the Flotilla protecting the nation’s capital.

A defective boiler on the USS Tulip blew up on November 11th, 1864, off Piney Point near Ragged Point, VA.  She sank in about 60 feet of water in three minutes, killing 47 men instantly—of the 57-man complement.  The Union army tug Hudson brought ten survivors ashore.  Of the 10 survivors, two died later as a result of the injuries received in the violent explosion which claimed the ship.

Source: NavSource Naval History


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