Maple Leaf

Maple Leaf (HM12M6)

Location: Maple, NC 27956 Currituck County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 24.791', W 76° 0.18'

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A Great Escape

Currituck County played a vital role in a prisoner-of-war escape in 1863. At 1:30 P.M. on June 10, the troop-transport steamer Maple Leaf sailed from Fort Monroe, Va., for Fort Delaware, carrying 97 captured Confederate officers bound for the prisoner-of-war camp at Johnson's Island in Ohio. Two hours later, the prisoners overpowered the twelve-man guard and took over the ship, then escaped in small boats south of Cape Henry. About thirty officers, most of them wounded, remained aboard and returned to Fort Monroe. The seventy escapees went ashore on the Currituck Banks in North Carolina, trekked south down the beach to a salt works, were ferried by Edmond McHorney and others across Currituck Sound, and camped south of the county courthouse, which Federal troops occupied. The party split into smaller groups, and B.F. McHorney led them across Indian Ridge to the Great Dismal Swamp.

When Maple Leaf returned to Fort Monroe and sounded the alarm four hours after the escape, Federal cavalrymen soon rode in pursuit while Federal gunboats prowled Currituck Sound, searching for the fugitives. Confederate local defense Capt. Willis B. Sanderlin, Co. B, 68th North Carolina Infantry (which the Federals branded a "guerrilla" force), helped conceal the former prisoners. Area citizens also fed and cared for the men, who eventually found their way to Richmond.

Maple Leaf continued to function as a troop transport until it struck a Confederate "torpedo" (floating mine) near Jacksonville, Florida, on April 1, 1864. The ship sank in the St. John's River with its cargo, which included the baggage of three Union regiments. In the 1980s, archaeologists located the wreck—one of the great treasure troves of the Civil War—and salvaged thousands of artifacts.

The nearby community of Maple is named for the ship.
HM NumberHM12M6
Placed ByNorth Carolina Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 2:59am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 410074 N 4030245
Decimal Degrees36.41318333, -76.00300000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 24.791', W 76° 0.18'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 24' 47.46" N, 76° 0' 10.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)252
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3449 Caratoke Hwy, Maple NC 27956, US
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