Aquia Landing

Aquia Landing (HMSD)

Location: Stafford, VA 22554 Stafford County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 22.905', W 77° 19.167'

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Naval Engagement

Within weeks after Virginia seceded from the Union in the spring of 1861, state troops began fortifying Aquia Landing. One artillery battery was established on the waterfront while additional batteries, like this one, covered the landing from nearby hills. These guns posed a threat to Union shipping in the Potomac River, prompting Commander James H. Ward of the United States Navy to take steps to eliminate them.

Between May 29 and June 1, 1861, Union gunboats on the Potomac River, ahead of you, fired more than 700 rounds at the landing. Union shells damaged several houses along the waterfront and tore up sections of railroad track but otherwise inflicted little damage. Return fire by the Confederates struck the U.S.S. Pawnee nine times and caused another attacking vessel, the U.S.S. Thomas Freeborn, to take on water. Incredibly, no one on either side was killed. "The only damage to our side," observed a confederate spectator, "was the death of a chicken, though a stray ball killed a horse on the opposite side of the creek."

Although the artillery exchange at Aquia Landing had no lasting impact on the war and produced few casualties, it is notable as one of the Civil War's first military engagements. Manassas, the war's first major battle, was still more than seven weeks away.

(caption under main picture) "Bombardment of the confederate batteries at Aquia Creek, Virginia, by the U.S.S Pawnee and Freeborn, May 31, 1861" by Alfred R. Waud

(caption under small picture) Sketch of the U.S.S. Pawnee.
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 4:07am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 297405 N 4250719
Decimal Degrees38.38175000, -77.31945000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 22.905', W 77° 19.167'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 22' 54.30" N, 77° 19' 10.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703, 202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2806 Pocohontas Ln, Stafford VA 22554, US
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