Old Jube—In Trouble Again!

by Fred Ray on December 12, 2008 · 3 comments

Nope, not the Confederate general but his namesake ferry across the Potomac at White’s Ford. For the last few years the ferry has been in a more or less continuous battle with the Coast Guard over its non-compliance with some regulations or other. So far the ferry Jubal Early, true to its namesake and ever ready to tweak the noses of the Federal authorities, has refused to budge and is still in operation.

Still, even the Old Jube has to bow to the forces of nature:

About two dozen passengers were evacuated this morning from White’s Ferry, which crosses the Potomac River between Poolesville and Leesburg, Montgomery County fire spokesman Pete Piringer said.

The ferry apparently stalled because of a combination of high water levels and debris in the water from the recent rains. Piringer said between six and eight rescue boats entered the murky waters to take the stranded passengers to the Maryland shore. The passengers were rescued between 9 and 9:30 a.m., officials said, and the barge was guided to shore about an hour later so the cars could disembark.

No injuries were reported. Ferry operators hoped to resume service this afternoon, but as of 4:55 p.m. a recorded message on their telephone said: “White Ferry’s is currently closed due to conditions on the Potomac River.”

Seems that a piece of debris washed down by high water got tangled in the cross-river cable, stranding the ferry in mid-stream. The good news is that the passengers are safe—the bad is that their cars are still out there.

Crossing the Potomac at White’s Ford (site of a couple of Confederate crossings, including Jubal Early’s withdrawal from his Washingon raid) is one of my life’s priorities. Maybe you should  try it also.

Follow the link for a video clip.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

carlw December 13, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Have nailed a number of folks posing this trivia question:

“what operating Ferry is named after a Confederate General?”

I live in the Washington area and can nail people right and left with it!


Gol December 13, 2008 at 11:00 pm

There is an irony in a ferry named after a confederate general ferrying Washington bureaucrats to work every day.


Craig December 14, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Washington bureaucrats don’t take the ferry to work… they all either telecommute, ride the train, or use I-270. Most of the ferry riders are those working on the outskirts of the beltway. Va-MD traffic.

Last spring we took a day trip over the ferry and ended up sitting in the river for about 20 minutes while the crew fought debris off the tow line. This sort of thing happens frequently.


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