Potomac River

Headwaters of the Potomac River, near the Fairfax Stone in West Virginia
Headwaters of the Potomac River, near the Fairfax Stone in West Virginia

Potomac, Shenandoah, and Rappahannock watersheds
Potomac, Shenandoah, and Rappahannock watersheds
Source: Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center

as late as 1743, maps portraying the upper reaches of the Potomac River were far from accurate
as late as 1743, maps portraying the upper reaches of the Potomac River were far from accurate
Source: Library of Congress, A map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish settlements adjacent thereto (by Henry Popple, 1743)

by 1755, Joshua Frye and Peter Jefferson clarified the locations of the north and south branches of the Cohongoranto River
by 1755, Joshua Frye and Peter Jefferson clarified the locations of the north and south branches of the Cohongoranto River
Source: Library of Congress, A map of the most inhabited part of Virginia (by Joshua Frye and Peter Jefferson, 1755)

The Potomac River is affected by runoff upstream. Excessive nutrients (nitrogen/phosphorous) and sediment washes downstream from sources as far away as West Virginia. Massive urbanization in the Washington, DC area may be responsible for the high amount of sediment in the Potomac River. In 2014 a commercial fisherman commented at a meeting of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission that shells on the bottom of the Rappahannock, York, and James rivers were clean, but:1

In the Potomac, everywhere you go, it's all the same color as your [brown] podium...

Confederates installed cannon on bluffs in Prince William County along the Potomac River, and limited the ability of Union ships to reach Washington DC during the winter of 1861-62
Confederates installed cannon on bluffs in Prince William County along the Potomac River, and limited the ability of Union ships to reach Washington DC during the winter of 1861-62
Source: Frank Leslie's Illustrated History of the Civil War, North Battery of the Confederates at Shipping Point, On the Virginia Side of the Potomac River Looking Up the River (p.84)

Links

References

1. "Getting a realistic view of the Potomac," Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, February 27, 2014, http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2014/02/27/getting-a-realistic-view-of-the-potomac/ (last checked February 28, 2014)

despite the much-larger Union Navy, Confederates were able to smuggle goods and people across the Potomac River to Maryland throughout the Civil War
despite the much-larger Union Navy, Confederates were able to smuggle goods and people across the Potomac River to Maryland throughout the Civil War
Source: Illustrated London News, The Civil War in America: Cutting off a Confederate Despatch-Galley on the Potomac, Near Freestone Point (November 9, 1861)

in the winter of 1861-62, Confederate cannon placed on shoreline bluffs blocked most Federal ships from using the Potomac River near Quantico
in the winter of 1861-62, Confederate cannon placed on shoreline bluffs blocked most Federal ships from using the Potomac River near Quantico
Source: Illustrated London News, The Civil War in America: The Confederate Batteries on the Lower Potomac, Virginia Shore, Opposite Budd's Ferry—Government Store-Schooners Running the Blockade (December 7, 1861)

Federal cannon on the Maryland shoreline opposite Quantico could not reach across the river and end the Confederate blockade
Federal cannon on the Maryland shoreline opposite Quantico could not reach across the river and end the Confederate blockade
Source: Illustrated London News, The Civil War In America: The Ten-Pounder Gun Battery (Federalist) at Budd's Ferry, Lower Potomac, Opposite the Confederate Batteries on the Virginia Shore (December 7, 1861)


Rivers of Virginia
Rivers and Watersheds
Virginia Places