Potomac Flotilla Created to Protect Chesapeake Tidelands
Maryland, especially Southern Maryland, was not "neutral" in the Civil War. The U.S. Navy realized early in the conflict that the Potomac River was both a conduit for attacks to the north, and a gateway for supplies to the Confederacy. The Union needed control of the Potomac River to protect Washington DC, thus a fleet of steam-powered ships was commissioned.
The Potomac Flotilla was created in 1861 to server as: "a flying flotilla...with a view to service in the Chesapeake and its tributaries; to interrupt the enemy's communications; assured keep open our own; drive from those waters every hostile bottom; threaten all points of a shore line accessible to such force exceeding 1,000 miles in extent; protect loyal citizens; convoy, tow, transport troops or intelligence with dispatch; be generally useful; threaten all points , and attack at any important one." Commander James H. Ward, creator of the Potomac Flotilla April 1861
The Potomac Flotilla's USS Tulip
Originally built in 1862 for the Chinese Ever-Victorious Army, the Chi Kiang's hull was laid by Master ship builder James C. Jewett of New York. Daniel McLeod supplied a single horizontal direct-acting (compound) engine and two horizontal return tubular boilers without steam drums. This lack of steam drums would ultimately lead to the vessel's destruction.
On June 22,1863, the Chi Kiang was purchased by the US Navy, classed as a screw steamer, fourth rate gunboat, and commissioned the USS Tulip. Her profile was altered to help evade detection by the enemy, and she was fitted with two 24-pound howitzers, two 12-pound smooth bore cannon and one 20-pound parrot rifle. The Tulip was assigned blockading duty with the Potomac Flotilla's First Division.
The Coaling Station at Cross Manor
By Early 1864 the Potomac flotilla established a new coaling station and operational base here at Cross Manor in St. Inigoes on the St. Mary's river.