“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Chancellorsville in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Birthplace of Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873)

The Battle of Chancellorsville

Birthplace of Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
1. Birthplace of Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873) Marker
Inscription. This jumble of bricks and stones tucked deep within Spotsylvania's Wilderness marks the birthplace of Matthew Fontaine Maury, the "Pathfinder of the Seas." All but forgotten now, Maury was a legend during his lifetime. While superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory, he compiled information on winds, weather, and ocean currents gleaned from the logbooks of thousands of ships. The result was The Physical Geography of the Seas (1855), the first modern study of oceanography.

Maury's findings revolutionized 19th-century shipping. By using his charts, ship captains reduced the average time it took to sail from New York to San Francisco from 180 days to just 133 days, saving shipping companies millions of dollars. Maury's studies also made possible the laying of the Transatlantic Cable - the first telegraphic communication between Europe and North America.
Erected 2009 by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
Location. 38° 17.381′ N, 77° 38.297′ W. Marker is near Chancellorsville, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker can be reached from McLaws Drive, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Located two hundred yards to the west of the road on a walking trail to
Birthplace of Maury Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
2. Birthplace of Maury Marker
the Maury birthplace ruins. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22407, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Maury House Trail (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Matthew Fontaine Maury (about 500 feet away); Jackson on the Move (about 500 feet away); About a mile in the distance... (about 600 feet away); Chancellorsville Campaign (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Region of Gloom (approx. half a mile away); Catharine Furnace (approx. half a mile away); Jackson's Flank March (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Chancellorsville.
More about this marker. On the left is a photo of the Maury Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. During the Civil War, Maury served the Confederacy. This statue of him stands on Monument Avenue in Richmond - alongside those of Lee, Jackson, Stuart, and Jefferson Davis. Also on the left is a portrait of Maury. Born here, Maury later lived in Fredericksburg and Tennessee. One historian wrote that Maury "taught commerce how to make the winds and the currents of the sea do its bidding." The background of the marker is the image of a steamship.
Categories. Science & MedicineWaterways & Vessels
Site of Maury House image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
3. Site of Maury House
Only a depression in the ground remains.
Matthew Fontaine Maury image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 2, 2015
4. Matthew Fontaine Maury
This bronze bust of Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806–1873) after the 1869 plaster original by Edward Valentine stands in the Virginia State Capitol Building in Richmond, Virginia
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,083 times since then and 149 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page was last revised on July 22, 2016.
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