The USS Princeton was a new naval ship designed to show the power of young America's navy. All of Washington's high society was on board one February day to witness this marvel of modern engineering. Instead, a tragic disaster left six people dead, including two cabinet secretaries, and may have altered the course of American history.
The celebrated, yet ever tormented, writer Edgar Allan Poe, famously spent much of his life living in Baltimore and Richmond, but he surprisingly spent very little time in D.C. despite residing in such close proximity. He did however have one…interesting encounter in Washington. Frequent transitions through different literary critic jobs left him in a constant state of mental and financial instability; this led Poe to determine that he needed to find a job that could provide him with more financial security. His friend Frederick William Thomas was friends with President John Tyler's son, Robert, and offered to help get him a government job. Eventually, in 1843, Poe traveled down to Washington from his home in Philadelphia to meet with the President. The true account of how Poe conducted himself upon arriving is still contested today.