Piney Point Lighthouse

Piney Point Lighthouse (HM187E)

Location: Piney Point, MD 20674 St Mary's County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 8.154', W 76° 31.748'

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The Potomac Flotilla

In 1861, the U. S. created the Potomac Flotilla (gunboats and other armed vessels) to patrol the river and intercept Confederate blockade runners. Nevertheless, St. Mary's County residents frequently ferried supplies and men across to Virginia. A Unionist steamboat captain noted the difficulties the Federal navy faced:
"I was coming up the river on Wednesday last: a flag was raised on Piney Point Lighthouse and I went in. Mrs. Marshall, the keeper of the light, wished me to report that five or six loads of rebels crossed the river into Virginia with provisions, etc.: that there was $10,000 worth of goods, ammunition, clothing, etc. in the woods just above the lighthouse to be carried over. Men came to her every day and asked her if any of the U. S. cutters were about, and told her she had better keep away as they intended to destroy the lighthouse. The rebels have a small steamer in the creek just above Ragged Point which they brought from Fredericksburg."

(sidebar) On November 11, 1864, U. S. S. Tulip, a two-year-old gunboat, left the Potomac Flotilla base at St. Inigoes for the navy shipyards in Washington, D. C. to repair her starboard steam boiler. Although her captain had been ordered not to use the boiler, he fired it up to hurry past Confederate forces on the Virginia shore. At 6:20 p. m., passing Piney Point Lighthouse, the boiler exploded and the gunboat sank immediately. Only 10 crewmen of 57 survived. In 1994, Maryland Maritime Archaeology Program divers located the wreck, beginning two years of artifact recovery.

(caption for photograph on sidebar) U. S. S. Tulip and her sister ship Fuchsia were built by master shipwright James C. Jewitt in New York City in 1862. They were described as "having all the modern appliances of warships.

(caption for photo in lower right of marker)Piney Point Lighthouse and Bell Tower, circa 1900.
HM NumberHM187E
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Placed ByMaryland Department of Natural Resources
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 26th, 2014 at 4:26pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 365990 N 4221998
Decimal Degrees38.13590000, -76.52913333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 8.154', W 76° 31.748'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 8' 9.24" N, 76° 31' 44.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 44701-45243 State Hwy 498, Piney Point MD 20674, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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