From 1828-1924 the C&O Canal functioned as a transportation route for goods and passengers on the 184.5 mile route from Cumberland, MD to Washington, D.C. Today, millions of visitors come to bike, walk, picnic, fish and paddle along the canal while enjoying the scenic beauty of this historic path. Original structures, including locks, lock houses, and aqueducts, dot the path and provide opportunities to learn about the history of the canal.
This point of the Canal is where John Mosby’s confederate raiders crossed the river on July 4, 1864 en route to their Calico Raid at Point of Rocks. It is also the exact point—at the exact time—when a holiday excursion boat of Treasury clerks approached the lock from upstream on their way back from Harper’s Ferry. The presence of the hostile raiders scared anyone from operating the lock, so the Treasury clerks abandoned ship and made a run for it! Mosby’s raiders promptly set their vessel “The Flying Cloud” on fire and continued on their way. The lock itself is constructed of granite from the Patapsco and white flint stone from across the river in Virginia. It’s just a half mile downstream of the 100-foot long Catoctin Aqueduct. The adjacent lockhouse is still standing.