Thomas Hoomes Williamson

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Stafford's Confederate Year

Thomas Hoomes Williamson

During April-June 1861, when Virginia was conducting independent operations, defenses were planned for the mouth of Aquia Creek as part of the Potomac and Rappahannock Lines for interdicting or harassing Federal ships in the Potomac.

Initial planning for Aquia Landing defenses was done by Virginia engineer Thomas Hoomes Williamson of the VMI faculty. Artillery batteries were mainly manned by troops from the Virginia infantry regiments forming and training along the Potomac (notably the 47th, 40th and 30th Virginia Infantry).

Williamson’s plans were to engage approaching ships at the greatest possible ranges from Aquia Landing Wharf and Split Rock Bluff, downriver towards King George. As Confederate army and navy troops occupied the area, they modified his plans and prepared to fight encroachments of Union ships from what soon became the Potomac Flotilla, initially subordinate to the Union’s Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The flotilla was designed to fight along the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers and, when called on, in the Chesapeake Bay.  He also spied for Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley and in King George County at War’s end.