July 27, 2011

History Told at Assateague Lighthouse

As we climbed the steps inside the lighthouse, I paused on the landings to look out the windows and read the paper signs. One told about the Civil War Years on Assateague and its neighbor Chincoteague Island. The lighthouse that existed at that time was shorter (45 feet tall) and dated from 1833. Here's an excerpt:
At one point rebels did manage to put the Assateague light out. The Confederates wanted to ship arms through the channel to the mainland and tried to get past Chincoteague and into the bay under disguise. A rebel schooner did reach the mainland and in response to a request for help, in 1861 U.S.S. Louisiana was sent up from Hampton Roads to intercept it.

After that a Union platoon was based at the lighthouse and another on Chincoteague. The loyalty of the islanders was recognized when free transport of seafood to the north was granted.

Throughout the war peninsula farms were an important source of food for the Union army.
(Notes by Chincoteague Natural History Association.)

Another sign tells the general history of the lighthouse and Assateague Island, beginning with it's use by Native Americans prior to European settlement in the 17th century.

Click on the image to see a large version.

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