“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Maple in Currituck County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Maple Leaf

A Great Escape

Maple Leaf CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, June 28, 2012
1. Maple Leaf CWT Marker
Inscription.  Currituck County played a vital role in a prisoner-of-war escape in 1863. At 1:30 P.M. on June 10, the troop-transport steamer Maple Leaf sailed from Fort Monroe, Va., for Fort Delaware, carrying 97 captured Confederate officers bound for the prisoner-of-war camp at Johnson’s Island in Ohio. Two hours later, the prisoners overpowered the twelve-man guard and took over the ship, then escaped in small boats south of Cape Henry. About thirty officers, most of them wounded, remained aboard and returned to Fort Monroe. The seventy escapees went ashore on the Currituck Banks in North Carolina, trekked south down the beach to a salt works, were ferried by Edmond McHorney and others across Currituck Sound, and camped south of the county courthouse, which Federal troops occupied. The party split into smaller groups, and B.F. McHorney led them across Indian Ridge to the Great Dismal Swamp.

When Maple Leaf returned to Fort Monroe and sounded the alarm four hours after the escape, Federal cavalrymen soon rode in pursuit while Federal gunboats prowled Currituck Sound, searching for the fugitives. Confederate local defense Capt.
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Willis B. Sanderlin, Co. B, 68th North Carolina Infantry (which the Federals branded a “guerrilla” force), helped conceal the former prisoners. Area citizens also fed and cared for the men, who eventually found their way to Richmond.

Maple Leaf continued to function as a troop transport until it struck a Confederate “torpedo” (floating mine) near Jacksonville, Florida, on April 1, 1864. The ship sank in the St. John’s River with its cargo, which included the baggage of three Union regiments. In the 1980s, archaeologists located the wreck—one of the great treasure troves of the Civil War—and salvaged thousands of artifacts.

The nearby community of Maple is named for the ship.

Edmond McHorney, seated left, 1898 Courtesy Travis Morris
Maple LeafCourtesy
Artifacts salvaged from Maple Leaf Courtesy
Confederate escape routes from the Union steamship Maple Leaf. Courtesy Harry P. Lee, Currituck Co. ITS-GIS

Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
Maple, NC Post Office image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, June 28, 2012
2. Maple, NC Post Office
. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 10, 1863.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 36° 24.791′ N, 76° 0.18′ W. Marker was in Maple, North Carolina, in Currituck County. Marker was at the intersection of Caratoke Highway (State Highway 168) and Maple Road, on the right when traveling south on Caratoke Highway. Located in front of the US Post Office. Touch for map. Marker was at or near this postal address: 3452 Caratoke Hwy, Maple NC 27956, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Hijacking Maple Leaf (here, next to this marker); Joseph Pilmoor (approx. 2.4 miles away); Currituck County Courthouse (approx. 2.6 miles away); Currituck County Old Jail (approx. 2.6 miles away); Henry M. Shaw (approx. 5.1 miles away); Yeopim (approx. 5.2 miles away); McKnight’s Shipyard (approx. 5.3 miles away); American Liberty Anniversary Elm (approx. 5.4 miles away).
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. New Marker At This Location titled "Hijacking Maple Leaf".
Credits. This page was last revised on October 24, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 1, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 906 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 1, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.

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Jun. 6, 2023