Statement of Significance (as of designation - October 12, 1994):
The sidewheeler MAPLE LEAF was designed and built in the Marine Railway Shipyard in Kingston, Ontario, and launched in 1851; she worked passenger routes on Lake Ontario prior to being chartered to the U.S. Army in 1862. As an Army transport, MAPLE LEAF steamed up and down the Eastern Seaboard from Virginia to Florida. Early on the morning of April 1, 1864, while returning to Jacksonville from Palatka, Florida, MAPLE LEAF struck a Confederate torpedo and sank quickly; four black crewmen sleeping on the foredeck above the explosion were killed instantly, but the remaining passengers and crew escaped into boats and were saved. During the day, Confederate artillery shelled the visible part of the wreck.