During the first challenge along the Star-Spangled Banner GeoTrail, over 400 first edition SSB geocoins were awarded. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the Star-Spangled Banner GeoTour. We are currently out of geocoins but stay tuned for other opportunities along the Star-Spangled Banner GeoTour! A new challenge with a new prize will be ready in 2015.
Come on a journey to remember and commemorate the dramatic chain of events, people and places that led to the birth of our National Anthem.
The story of the Star-Spangled Banner was shaped by the events of the Chesapeake Campaign during the War of 1812. From February 1813 until February 1815, the Chesapeake Bay was the center of a fierce struggle between the British and Americans. Places and landscapes still exist today that provide a touchstone to the past. The trail traces events and related sites that figured prominently in the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812 that have national significance, physical integrity, and the potential for contemporary recreation and interpretation.
The Star-Spangled Banner (SSB) Geotrail launched February 27, 2010 with over 30 caches within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. A trackable geo coin will be awarded to the first 400 geocachers, while supplies last, for locating at least 20 SSB caches. To be eligible for the coin, geocachers must download a passport from either the SSB Geotrail or Maryland Geocaching Society website. Geocachers must find and log at least 20 SSB finds, record the code word from each cache on their passport and post a picture of themselve at each cache location. After discovering the 20 required caches, geocachers may have their passports validated in person or via mail at the Friends of Chesapeake Gateways office located at 410 Severn Ave, Suite 314, Annapolis, MD 21403. Please refer to the passport for complete validation instructions.
Participating in the SSB geotrail is fun and we hope that many people join in. However, it is not a requirement for logging your find on this cache once you find the container.
This is a traditional hide at the historic Point Lookout State Park. The trails are open sunrise to sunset. There is a fee to enter this park. Please refer to the website for current information. This park offers Boat launch, boat rental, camp fire programs, camp sites, cabins, camp store, dump station, fishing, flat water canoeing, hiking trails, hunting, historic interest, hook ups, pet trail, picnic area, playground, swimming, Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center and pavilion.
Situated at the tip of St. Mary’s County, where the Potomac River meets the Chesapeake Bay, Point Lookout served as a critical observation station for American forces during the War of 1812. From this vantage point, sharp-eyed scouts could follow the movements of enemy ships, noting their size and armaments, before relaying the information, via post rider, on to leaders in Washington D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis. Indeed, as noted by historian Donald G. Shomette in his work Flotilla: The Patuxent Naval Campaign in the War of 1812, beginning in the summer 1813, a daily status report was delivered from the Point to the War Department in Washington.
Unfortunately for the Americans, Point Lookout also served as convenient landing site for British incursions into the Maryland. For example, in summer 1813, a force estimated at several thousand disembarked there, proceeding to loot and burn the surrounding countryside. This was part of a broader British offensive carried out along the river that resulted in the seizure of numerous small islands in the vicinity of the Point.
As reported by historian Frank A. Cassell in his article “Slaves of the Chesapeake Bay Area and the War of 1812,” Point Lookout was also a popular place for men, women and children escaping slavery to seek refuge. Later, many would serve as guides or scouts, providing invaluable intelligence, for British forces. An American militia officer in St. Mary’s County reported that enslaved people were fleeing in such numbers that "nine-tenths of them will abscond unless the enemy can be driven from the Point."
Point Lookout has played a role in American and English history well before the War of 1812. Captain John Smith was the first English colonist to reach Point Lookout, exploring it in 1612. Twenty years later, in 1632, it was included in King Charles I's grant to George Calvert, Lord Baltimore. Calvert's younger son, Leonard, Maryland's first governor, claimed the Point for his personal manor in 1634. During the Revolution, it served as an observation point for American forces and suffered raids at the hands of the British.
In 1862, at the height of the Civil War, the federal government erected Hammond Hospital at the tip of the Point. Then, in 1863, after the Battle of Gettysburg, it became a prison camp. Disease and malnourishment were prevalent and of the 50,000 men held at the Point between 1863 and 1865, nearly 4,000 died. After the war, a benevolent society attempted to salvage government property on the point to support the establishment of a home for disabled Union Army and Navy veterans, but the government dismantled the facilities too quickly for any plans to take shape.
In 1830, the federal government erected a lighthouse on the tip of the Point. Though modified from its original state, the structure remains, but is no longer active. The light was always served by civilian keepers, even after the authority was transferred to the coast guard in 1939. Beginning in 1951 the navy began buying up property around the light, and in 1965 the light was deactivated and the structures turned over to the navy. Civilians continued to live in the house until 1979. For those interested in the paranormal, the lighthouse has many ghost stories associated with its history! Today, Point Lookout State Park offers a wide range of attractions. Visitors can swim, fish, boat and camp in the unique bay side setting. There is a Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center on site as well.
The code word is missing from the cache. Until we can get it replaced, please contact Calvertcachers for assistance.
Thanks to Lori & Amy for helping with this hide and to the Maryland Geocaching Society for assisting with this project!