Thursday, November 1, 2007

Port Tobacco and the Civil War, Part 2

While Port Tobacco was located in Union territory, it saw quite a bit of Confederate activity.
The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine By Roy J. Friedman Mark Twain Collection (Library of Congress): "The road over which it was proposed to conduct the distinguished captive [Abraham Lincoln] was known in the secret service of the Confederacy as the underground route that is a route not generally known between Richmond and Washington and used by spies and contrabandists in the employ of the South. It ran a roundabout course through southern Maryland across the Potomac in the vicinity of Port Tobacco Creek or Pope's Creek and thence to Richmond crossing the Rappahannock at Port Conway and Port Royal. It was overland route in fact that could be taken to Richmond as all communication north from that city was cut off in Virginia and even it was guarded with more or less care by the Federal authorities so that travel thereby was attended with no little danger. Over this course too the Confederate mail passed daily on its way to Richmond or Montreal and such was the secrecy with which the underground mail service was maintained that a man might be engaged in it during the entire war without the knowledge of his family."

This route was used for much more than just communications, as this account of Confederate Secret Service operations shows.

Source is: Confederate Covert Action in the American Civil War By William A. Tidwell, Published 1995 Kent State University Press

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