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Battle of Natural Bridge
Part of the American Civil War
250px
Natural Bridge Monument
Date March 6, 1865
Location Leon County, Florida
30°17′02″N 84°09′07″W / 30.28389°N 84.15194°W / 30.28389; -84.15194Coordinates: 30°17′02″N 84°09′07″W / 30.28389°N 84.15194°W / 30.28389; -84.15194
Result Confederate victory
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders
John Newton Sam Jones
William Miller
Strength
2nd U.S. Colored Infantry and 99th U.S. Colored Infantry Kilcrease Artillery; Dunham’s Battery; Abell's Battery; 5th Florida Cavalry; 1st Florida Militia; Barwick’s Company Reserves; Hodges Company Reserves; Company A, Milton Light Artillery; Companies A, B, and F, Reserves and reinforcements from Georgia amounting to approx. 1,000 men
Casualties and losses
21 killed 89 wounded 38 captured 3 killed 23 wounded

The Battle of Natural Bridge was a battle during the American Civil War, fought in what is now Woodville, Florida, near Tallahassee, on March 6, 1865. A small band of Confederate troops and volunteers, mostly composed of teenagers from the nearby Florida Military and Collegiate Institute that would later become Florida State University, and the elderly, protected by breastworks, prevented Union forces (consisting of African-American soldiers of the United States Colored Troops) from crossing the Natural Bridge on the St. Marks River. This action prevented the Union from capturing the Florida capital and made Tallahassee the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi River not to be captured by Union forces during the war.

BattleEdit

The Union's Brig. Gen. John Newton had undertaken a joint force expedition to engage and destroy Confederate troops that had attacked at Cedar Keys, Florida and Fort Myers and were allegedly encamped somewhere around St. Marks. The Union Navy had trouble getting its ships up the St. Marks River. The Army force, however, had advanced and, after finding one bridge destroyed, started before dawn on March 6 to attempt to cross the river at Natural Bridge. The troops initially pushed Rebel forces back, but not away from the bridge.

Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. William Miller, protected by breastworks, guarded all of the approaches and the bridge itself. The action at Natural Bridge lasted most of the day, but, unable to take the bridge in three separate charges, the Union troops retreated to the protection of the fleet.

To this day the cadets of the Florida State University are 1 of 4 Army ROTC programs to have a battle streamer for their actions at the battle of Natural Bridge.[1]

MonumentEdit

File:Battle Natural Bridge Flag.jpg

The site of the battle is now Natural Bridge Battlefield State Historic Site, a Florida State Park, and contains a monument with the inscription:

This monument erected under authority of an act of the legislature of Florida of 1921 as a just tribute of the people of Florida to commemorate the victory of the battle of Natural Bridge. March 6, 1865. And to keep in cherished memory those brave men and boys who, in the hour of sudden danger, rushed from home desk and field and from the West Florida Seminary and joining a few disciplined troops by their united valor and patriotism saved their capital from the invaders. Tallahassee being the only capital of the South not captured by the enemy during the War between the States.

Annual Memorial Service and Battle ReenactmentEdit

A ceremony honoring the combatants on both sides of the Battle of Natural Bridge, followed by a reenactment of the battle featuring authentically-costumed Confederate and Union military and civilian reenactors, is held at the park the first weekend of March every year. The event is free and open to the public.[2]

The site is now called Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park.[2]

ReferencesEdit

15px This article incorporates public domain material from the National Park Service document "[1]".

NotesEdit

  1. The other three programs are: the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for the Battle of New Market, The Citadel for the defense of Charleston and other engagements, and The University of Mississippi for the defense of Vicksburg.
  2. 2.0 2.1 State of Florida official website for Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park http://www.floridastateparks.org/naturalbridge/default.cfm

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit

fr:Bataille de Natural Bridge nl:Slag bij Natural Bridge

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