St. Clement's Island Lighthouse

St. Clement's Island Lighthouse (HM5UB)

Location: Coltons Point, MD 20626 St Mary's County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 13.477', W 76° 45.029'

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"None of the Lighthouses ... are Safe"

On May 19, 1864 Confederates raided St. Clement's Island to destroy the 1851 lighthouse. Capt. John Goldsmith, a county residence who had once owned the island, led the attack, having joined the Confederate army in Virginia. In a thirty-foot sailboat, Swann, Goldsmith slipped past a United States gunboat anchored nearby and landed on the island intending to blow up the lighthouse. Keeper Jerome McWilliams, a former neighbor, knew Goldsmith and persuaded him that it would be dangerous to McWilliams pregnant wife to move her from the keeper's dwelling adjacent to the lighthouse. Goldsmith gallantly abandoned that part of his plan and contented himself with destroying the lens and lamp and making off with the oild and light tender.

"And I am of the opinion that, while there are so many 'rebel sympathizers' in Maryland and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, none of the lighthouses there located are safe without a guard on shore to protect them." Cmdr. Foxhall A. Parker, U. S. S. King Philip St. Mary's, Maryland, May 21, 1864

Caption of photo in middle of marker
Blackistone Lighthouse, St. Clements Island, ca 1920

Text of inset on right side of marker
Black Nancys
Although omnipresent Union gunboats patrolled the Potomac River and a Federal supply depot located just north of St. Clements Island at Bushwood Wharf, Confederate blockade runners nevertheless slipped back and forth to Virginia undetected. "Black nancys," local dories painted or stained black, played an important role in the nightly runs. These small, light boats slid quietly through the darkness laden with supplies for the South.
HM NumberHM5UB
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 19th, 2014 at 2:52pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 346776 N 4232185
Decimal Degrees38.22461667, -76.75048333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 13.477', W 76° 45.029'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 13' 28.62" N, 76° 45' 1.74" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 47414 Old State House Rd, Coltons Point MD 20626, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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