The Maria J. carlton was assigned to the mortar flotilla at New Orleans and got underway for that spot in mid-February. It ran into a heavy gale off Cape Hatteras which carried away the ship's mainmast, rigging and sails. It arrived at station 18 March 1862.
It operated in the 2nd Division of Porter's Mortar Flotilla.
On the second day of the mortar bombardment, April 19, 1862, a Confederate shell struck her magazine and tore a large hole in the ship's bottom and it quickly sank.
Two crew members were wounded.