clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tales from Buzzard Point - Chapter 2: The Wreck of the Columbus

This is the second in a series of Tales from Buzzard Point that explores the rich history and traditions of legendary Buzzard Point – a legacy that the current DC United ownership should honor in their plans for naming the new soccer specific stadium.

Today’s entry was researched by “Tales from Buzzard Point” Series Editor David Rusk. He also discovered the first entry in this series, Sir Arthur Conor Doyle’s “The Black and Red Band.”

While researching the on-line files of the Evening Star to determine how Buzzard Point might have become viewed as “haunted, cursed ground” during the Civil War (see a forthcoming entry in “Tales from Buzzard Point”), I looked up its earliest editions out of nostalgic curiosity. In the January 8, 1854 edition of the Daily Evening Star (as it was initially called), I came across the following short news item:


Courier and Ives

Washington City – Jan. 7, 1854. The schooner Columbus was wrecked yesterday by a sudden, violent derecho that drove it aground at Buzzard Point.

With great effort the crew launched its longboat successfully and landed safely, though one crew member was washed overboard and had to be revived.

The Columbus was carrying a cargo of valuable timbers from Puget Sound to Alexandria when massive whitecaps and storm surge raised by the storm carried it northward beyond its intended port.

The violence of the storm broke up the Columbus and scattered its cargo of valuable timbers along the Anacostia and as far north as Great Falls on the Potomac.

“We were very lucky to save our lives,” said Captain Gregory Bierholder. “The crew of the ill-fated Columbus never wants to see Buzzard Point again.”

Note from Series Editor David Rusk:

All members of the B&RU Commentariat are invited to submit manuscripts of their own researches into the history and traditions of Buzzard Point. All must a) involve Buzzard Point, b) have some relationship to football/ soccer, and c) demonstrate that Buzzard Point is hallowed ground for D.C. United and our MLS opponents are doomed to never come away from Buzzard Point with a result.