“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Coltons Point in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

St. Clement's Island Lighthouse

"None of the Lighthouses ... are Safe"

St. Clement's Island Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, July 1, 2008
1. St. Clement's Island Lighthouse Marker
Inscription.  On May 19, 1864 Confederates raided St. Clement's Island to destroy the 1851 lighthouse. Capt. John Goldsmith, a county residence who had once owned the island, led the attack, having joined the Confederate army in Virginia. In a thirty-foot sailboat, Swann, Goldsmith slipped past a United States gunboat anchored nearby and landed on the island intending to blow up the lighthouse. Keeper Jerome McWilliams, a former neighbor, knew Goldsmith and persuaded him that it would be dangerous to McWilliams pregnant wife to move her from the keeper's dwelling adjacent to the lighthouse. Goldsmith gallantly abandoned that part of his plan and contented himself with destroying the lens and lamp and making off with the oild and light tender.

"And I am of the opinion that, while there are so many 'rebel sympathizers' in Maryland and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, none of the lighthouses there located are safe without a guard on shore to protect them." Cmdr. Foxhall A. Parker, U. S. S. King Philip St. Mary's, Maryland, May 21, 1864

Caption of photo in middle of marker
Blackistone Lighthouse, St. Clements Island, ca 1920

St. Clement's Island Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, August 31, 2009
2. St. Clement's Island Lighthouse Marker
In this photo, St. Clement's Island is to the right of the traditional Maryland roadside marker. The reconstructed lighthouse (not seen in this photo) is on the opposite side of the island.
of inset on right side of marker
Black Nancys
Although omnipresent Union gunboats patrolled the Potomac River and a Federal supply depot located just north of St. Clements Island at Bushwood Wharf, Confederate blockade runners nevertheless slipped back and forth to Virginia undetected. "Black nancys," local dories painted or stained black, played an important role in the nightly runs. These small, light boats slid quietly through the darkness laden with supplies for the South.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable PlacesWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 38° 13.477′ N, 76° 45.029′ W. Marker is in Coltons Point, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker is on Point Breeze Road 0.2 miles east of Colton Point Road (Route 242), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Coltons Point MD 20626, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Saint Clement’s Island (here, next to this marker); Mother of Light Shrine (a few steps from this marker); St. Clements Manor (a few steps from this marker); Potomac River Dory Boat (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to St. Clement's Island
St. Clement's Island Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Jason Rearick, September 20, 2008
3. St. Clement's Island Lighthouse
Lighthouse has been rebuilt in 2008. Also known as Blackistone Lighthouse
(approx. ¾ mile away); Maryland Began Here! (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Shrinking Island (approx. 1.2 miles away); St. Clement's Island (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Coltons Point.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 15, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,323 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 22, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   2. submitted on September 4, 2009, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.   3. submitted on March 7, 2009, by Jason Rearick of Lexington Park, Maryland.
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Aug. 4, 2020