Aquia Creek Landing
N 38° 22.905 W 077° 19.166
18S E 297407 N 4250719
Quick Description: Aquia Landing was the site of one of the war’s earliest military engagements and became a major supply base for the Union army in three separate campaigns.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 7/27/2009 3:18:59 PM
Waymark Code: WM6WAG
In the mid 1800s, Aquia Landing, a peninsula that sits where Aquia Creek flows into the Potomac River, was the terminus for the Richmond, Fredericksburg, & Potomac Railroad and the rail-to-steamboat connection for travelers between Richmond, VA and Washington, D.C.
Following Virginia’s secession in 1861, the Confederates built gun emplacements along the heights above the landing to protect the railroad and keep the Union army from coming ashore. U.S. Navy gunboats and Confederate artillery exchanged fire on May 31 and June 1 during one of the first military engagements of the Civil War. This also was when the first torpedo was used.
The posted GPS coordinates are at the location of the Patawomeck Band Memorial Park where a Civil War Trail interpretive sign Aquia Landing - The Railroad stands at the entrance. Follow the trail to the right to the location of the Confederate gun emplacements that overlooked the Potomac River and where 4 cannons fired upon the U.S. Navy. Another Civil Wars Trail sign Aquia Landing - Naval Engagement and a Battle of Aquia Landing sign stand at N 38° 22.895 W 077° 19.150. Ultimately, the exchange of gunfire had little lasting effect on the war.
The Confederates abandoned the site in 1862 and destroyed the railroad and wharves. The Union moved in and rebuilt the facilities, but destroyed them again when they evacuated the area in September 1862. In November, the Union army under Gen. Burnside, rebuilt Aquia Landing yet again to use as a supply depot for the Fredericksburg campaign. When they left in June 1863 to march to Gettysburg, this time the Confederates destroyed it. The Union rebuilt it in May 1864, but abandoned it for supply bases further south. The Confederates destroyed it again and this time, it was not rebuilt. Aquia Landing had also been used to move troops as well as supplies.
Another Civil War Trail interpretive sign Aquia Landing - Supply Base for the Union Army is at the end of the road (N 38° 23.382 W 077° 18.967) where the railroad used to run on Aquia Landing.
Today, Aquia Landing is a waterfront park open year-round to the public. Other than the interpretive signs, little evidence remains of the railroad.