Brief History of Crows Nest
Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia vahistorical.org
print from 1619 (left) depicts the abduction of Pocahontas in the waters
off of Crow's Nest.
The image of Pocahontas (right) was created in 1616 during
her time in England.
Albert Z. Connor Jr., in his book, A History of Our Own: Stafford County, Virginia, has
documented the history of Crows Nest and surrounding environment.
The Potomacs, Native Americans whose descendants still reside in Stafford County,
originally inhabited Crows Nest. Pocahontas, Powhatans most famous daughter,
was kidnapped in 1613 by Capt. Samuel Argall when she was lured onto his ship, anchored off
Crows Nest in Potomac Creek.
The land comprising Crows Nest was originally granted to Col. Gerard Fowke.
In 1662, Raleigh Travers received a patent for 3,540 acres on Potomac Creek, encompassing
what is now the heart of Crows Nest. A large brick house, Crows
Nest, was built on a high ridge that paralleled Potomac Creek. The home was named
after The Crow, a black sailing ship owned by
the Travers family. It was harbored in Potomac Creek.
Daniel's family cemetery in Crow's Nest during winter.
Pen of Fire is the title of Peter Bridges'
biography of John Moncure Daniel, the controversial but influential
journalist who edited the Richmond Examiner during the Civil
War. Daniel was born on Crow's Nest and his family owned the
Peter Daniel (1706-1777) married Sarah Travers (1717-1788), daughter of Raleigh
Travers. An advocate of freedom from England, he was the first to sign a protest against
the Stamp Act. The Daniels family cemetery is located in Crows Nest, close to
Crows Nest point. President Martin Van Buren was a friend of Peter Vivian Daniel,
and may have visited the area.
Supreme Court Justice Peter Vivian Daniel (1784-1860) and diplomat and Civil War
editor John Moncure Daniel were born in Crows Nest.
family letter supporting the preservation of Crow's Nest.)
Like many such properties, Crows Nest plantation was destroyed during the
Civil War. Union troops were encamped throughout the Crows Nest peninsula. Many
fierce battles and heroic construction efforts took place as opposing troops built,
destroyed and rebuilt supply bridges across Potomac Creek.
Crows Nest is a unique wildlife habitat. It is home to nesting bald eagles
and over 1,000 blue herons (the bird that can be seen in the "Save Crow's Nest"
banner logo). It also plays a critical role in supporting migratory bird populations. In
1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified fifty-seven species of neotropical
birds that landed there during the Spring migration.
The Civil War and
Crow's Nest [top]
Nest peninsula is in the background of this
photograph taken at Belle Plains
during the Civil War.
Click on the thumbnail map at right to see Civil War sites in and around
Crow's Nest (may take a moment to load).
Nest peninsula, home to union soldier encampments during the Civil War, lies just seven
miles east of I-95. The remains of tent huts and a gun pit are on the peninsula itself.
Local lore recounts that soldiers camped here to be near the several taverns
peninsula. But perhaps the most important aspect of Crows Nest is the opportunity it
provides to interpret nearby Civil War sites.
a union field hospital, was located on Marlborough Point, across from Crows Nest. In
his army letters, U.S. Christian Commission field agent John A. Cole described his visit
to the hospital: I have just come from
Windmill Point Hospital where are about 4,000 sick soldiers, some of them have suffered
terribly and many die daily
. many lives I believe have been saved within the past
three weeks and many souls have passed from darkness into light. (Feb. 10, 1863)
Two major Civil War sites are
across Potomac Creek from Crows Nest. Neither of these sites is readily accessible
by land. Belle Plains, which was a primary Union supply port during part of the 1864
Overland Campaign, is southwest of Boykins Island. Belle Plains also became a holding area for thousands of
Confederate prisoners captured at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. Waugh Point
is east of Belle Plains, and was the site of Union First Corps camps, with 15,000 troops,
during the winter of 1862-63.