Hi BruAlready provided one quote and explained i don't currently have access to other sources I've come across (of which i haven't kept a record). Several references in old books i no longer have plus references in newspaper reports in the 19th century which i would have to pay to access.
In the case i quoted which i have researched, there was absolutely no suggestion that the barge was damaged and unseaworthy. Indeed, her mast and rigging was still standing
However, i am reminded of a known (and again documented) problem with working narrowboats drying out between tides in the channel below Brentford Lock off the Thames
It was not unknown when the tide returned for a boat to remain stuck in the mud and fail to float off and then inevitably fill with water as the tide topped the gunnels (the working boatmen used to sling a heavy rope under the hull before the boat dried out which could be dragged backwards and forwards to break the suction if necessary)*
So a hypothesis might be that with flat, or flattish, bottomed boats such as barges (and many coastal merchant ships - typically East Coast colliers were flat bottomed for example) a combination of scouring and liquefaction might initially cause the boat to sink into the sand to its marks
Then, as the tide rose, suction and/or the sand solidifying around the hull might prevent the vessel refloating leading to downflooding when the tide rose above the level of the deck or openings in the hull
Subsequent tides, now scouring around a waterlogged vessel, might then lead to further sinking into the sands
* Lest you doubt this... there are photographs and first hand accounts of it happening and i have personally experienced our motor initially failing to float off the mud in Brentford Basin when the basin was refilled after a paddle failure caused it to drain overnight. Whether she would have remained stuck and flooded is a moot point cos a combination of the flotation of our butty moored inside the motor and some serious grunt from a BW tug fetched her off into deeper water.
The experiences of narrowboats failing to refloat on an incoming tide after being stuck in glutinous mud is indeed something I can happily believe, as I have heard several anecdotal accounts of boats ”taking a while” to break suction, particularly if the narrow boat was heavily or unevenly loaded Leaving little in the way of freeboard.
But then,flat bottom lighters/barges littered the drying Rivers Lea and Channelsea etc. waiting their next job without sinking. In fact, take Gravelines marina, Watchet, or any harbour like Portsmouth where I grew up, vessels regularly take the mud And rise on the tide.
Just for interest...a good example of a misleading story.