In May 1861, Confederate forces commanded by Brig. Gen. Daniel Ruggles and Maj. Robert Mayo began constructing gun emplacements at Mathias Point, which is located 2.5 miles northwest on the Potomac River close to the Virginia shore. This battery, as well as others, interfered with Union forces shipping troops and supplies to Washington, D.C. On 27 June 1861, the gunboat, USS Thomas Freeborn, commanded by Comdr. James H. Ward, shelled the batteries held by the Confederate forces. While sighting the bow gun, Ward was mortally wounded, the first U.S. Navy officer killed in action in the Civil War.
Year On Marker: 2009
Original Sponsor: King George Historical Society
Geographic Location: King George County
Physical Description of Location: Dahlgren, VA 22448. Located on James Madison Pkwy (Hwy 301), 4 miles southwest of the junction of James Madison Pkwy (Hwy 301) and Rock Point Road (Rt. 257). Marker is on the right when traveling southwest on James Madison Pkwy (Hwy 301).
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