Dismal Swamp, SE Va. and NE N.C. With dense forests and tangled undergrowth, it is a favorite site for sportsmen and naturalists. It once may have covered nearly 2,200 sq mi (5,700 sq km) but has been reduced by drainage to less than 600 sq mi (1,550 sq km). The swamp bottom is composed of organic material deposited by fallen trees and other vegetation. Its forests still contain valuable timber, despite the lumbering and fires that have plagued the area. Dismal Swamp was surveyed in 1763 by George Washington, who was a member of a company organized to drain it. A canal 22 mi (36 km) long, which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway, was completed in 1828 and connects Chesapeake Bay with Albemarle Sound. Lake Drummond, c.3 mi (4.8 km) in diameter, in the center of the swamp, is its highest elevation. The swamp is the scene of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Dred.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.