Confederate Boarding Cutter Historical

Confederate Boarding Cutter Historical (HM1TZ2)

Location: Deltaville, VA 23043 Middlesex County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 33.112', W 76° 19.474'

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The vessel and wagon you see before you are a representation of an idea by one of the most illustrious military men to fight in Middlesex County during the Civil War, John Taylor Wood. The grandson of Zachery Taylor and the nephew of Jefferson Davis, Wood was an accomplished soldier and brilliant tactician. When it became evident that the South was sorely lacking in both supplies and vessels, Wood came up with a plan to rectify these shortcomings. At Rockett's Shipyard in Richmond, he had four boarding cutters built that resembled whaleboats. Not only were the boats fast under oar power, they were light and fit easily on supply wagons. The idea was to use the wagons to carry the cutters to remote areas, launch them, and then sneak under cover of darkness on unsuspecting Union vessels, capturing the boats and their cargo.

In two such raids in 1862 Wood successfully captured several commercial vessels. In August 1863, Wood, with 82 men and four wagon-mounted boarding cutters, left Richmond under secret orders from Jefferson Davis. Wood was directed to the Piankatank River and ordered to target Union gunboats rather than commercial vessels. Unsuccessful at first, while camped at Wilton Creek, Wood was able to ambush the Union gunboat, U.S. General Putnam. The captain was killed and several crewman wounded but the gunboat escaped.

weeks later, on the Rappahannock River, Wood's plan was vindicated. In a raging storm off Stingray Point, Wood and his men captured the gunboats U.S. Satellite and U.S. Reliance using the boarding cutters. Then, commandeering the Satellite, Wood seized three commercial vessels the next day. The Union, outraged by this thievery, sent three gunboats after Wood but he escaped with his prizes up the Rappahannock River.

Wood's raids did not win the war for the South, but they certainly boosted the morale of the Confederacy during a year of catastrophic reversals. In one raid, on waters controlled by the enemy, Wood captured and destroyed two gunboats and three commercial vessels. The equipment he salvaged-the guns, engines, anchors and chains were worth tens of thousands of dollars. He captured ninety prisoners and lost not one man in the process-a truly remarkable statistic given the bloody nature of the Civil War.

John Taylor Wood continued his illustrious career elsewhere for the remainder of the War, but for one golden moment his tactical skills bathed Middlesex County in the light of a remarkable Confederate victory.
HM NumberHM1TZ2
Placed ByDeltaville Maritime Museum
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, August 26th, 2016 at 9:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 382999 N 4156919
Decimal Degrees37.55186667, -76.32456667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 33.112', W 76° 19.474'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 33' 6.72" N, 76° 19' 28.44" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 81-299 Orchard Ln, Deltaville VA 23043, US
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