“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.
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 Johnsonís 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. 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,
Maple, NC Post Office image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 28, 2012
2. Maple, NC Post Office
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. Johnís 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.
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Location. 36° 24.791′ N, 76° 0.18′ W. Marker is in Maple, North Carolina, in Currituck County. Marker is at the intersection of Caratoke Highway (State Highway 168) and Maple Road, on the right when traveling south on Caratoke Highway. Touch for map. Located in front of the US Post Office. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3452 Caratoke Hwy, Maple NC 27956, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. 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); McKnightís Shipyard (approx. 5.3 miles away); Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal (approx. 5.4 miles away); a different marker also named Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal (approx. 5.4 miles away).
More about this marker. On the lower left is a photograph with the caption, "Edmond McHorney, seated left, 1898" Courtesy Travis Morris

In the center is a painting of "Maple Leaf" and a photograph of "Artifacts salvaged from Maple Leaf" – Courtesy

On the right is a map of "Confederate escape routes from the Union steamship Maple Leaf" – Courtesy Harry P. Lee, Currituck Co. ITS-GIS
Categories. War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 1, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 602 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 1, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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