The Potomac River is 383 miles long, but it was primarily the 50 or so nautical miles between Washington, D.C., and Mathias Point, Va., that troubled both governments. The Confederates moved quickly to place shore batteries at key points along the Virginia side of the river. Extended engagements between these batteries and Union ships were rare, but notable clashes did occur, including at Mathis Point (shown in detail, left), Aquia Creek, Shipping Point, and Cockpit Point.
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