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"“A remarkable military position” The Battle of Cockpit ..." Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2017 12:02 p.m. PST

…Point and the Potomac Blockade.

"On October 16, 1861 pro-Unionist Lewis McKenzie of Alexandria sent US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles a report on the newly constructed Confederate batteries along the Potomac River. McKenzie called the batteries at Cockpit Point "a remarkable military position. It commands Freestone Point on the north and Shipping Point on the south, being distant from either about 2 ½ miles. The land is higher than either of them and it projects farther into the Potomac." Though McKenzie was relating an official military opinion, as a civilian even he was aware of this important point along the Potomac River.

Beginning in May 1861, Virginia and then Confederate forces pondered how best to defend the Potomac River. An established Navy wasa strong advantage for the Federals because it could run freely up and down the navigable Potomac. In the fall of 1861, with no large Federal military presence outside of the outskirts of Washington, D.C., Confederate officials determined to establish a series of batteries along the Potomac in Prince William and Stafford Counties. These batteries would support trade between the pro-southern population in Maryland and Virginia, as well as hinder commercial shipping to Washington. The river was a crucial link for the city, as only one spur line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad served Washington. The city depended on the river…"
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