Stafford in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade
Trail to Freedom
Aquia Landing (pronounced 'uh kwhy' yuh'), here at the junction of Aquia Creek and the Potomac River (to your right) was once a vital hub in Virginia's transportation network. As early as 1815, steamboats from Washington and Alexandria made regular trips here, transferring passengers, mail and even slaves to coaches bound for points south.
In 1842, the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad completed its line to Aquia, reducing travel time between Washington and Richmond. The junction here of steamboat and rail marked Aquia as an important place in antebellum Virginia and a major crossroads of the interstate slave trade.
By the 1850s, Virginia was exporting more slaves than any other state. Thousands of them, often handcuffed and packed amidst the cargo, passed through Aquia bound for slave markets farther south. From Aquia, most traveled onward by coach or, after 1842, by train. Some larger groups were forced to walk in chained gangs, or coffles, to destinations
"Reaching the steamboat, we were quickly hustled into the hold, among barrels and boxes of freight...After sunrise...we were called up on deck to breakfast. Burch took our hand-cuffs off. ...Breakfast over, the hand-cuffs were restored."
Erected 2011 by Stafford County and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
Location. 38° 23.372′ N, 77° 18.945′ W. Marker is in Stafford, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker is on Brooke Road (County Route 608). Click for map. Marker is in Aquia Landing County Park (formerly Aquia-Po Beach Park). Marker is at or near this postal address: 2846 Brooke Rd, Stafford VA 22554, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Early Escape Route (here, next to this marker); Gateway to Freedom (here, next to this marker); Aquia Landing (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Aquia Landing (within shouting distance of this marker); Patawomeck Tribe Village (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Aquia Landing Aquia Landing (approx. 0.6 miles away); Mason's Homestead (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Stafford.
Also see . . . Trail to Freedom web site. (Submitted on February 7, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 625 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.