Friday, March 6, 2015

Battle of Natural Bridge

Monument on the battlefield
One southern state that saw very little fighting in the Civil War was Florida. Sparsely populated and mostly a peninsula, it contained few military targets or roads leading to targets. There were a few battles in the state, one of which, the Battle of Natural Bridge, took place 150 years ago today. This conflict took place because of an expedition by John Newton, the Union's Department commander. He landed near St. Marks on March 4th, and planned to destroy the Confederate force in the area and then march on Tallahassee, the state capitol.

The southern troops under William Miller were defending the crossings of the St. Marks River. They destroyed one bridge and held on Newport Bridge on March 5th, so Newton sent his men up stream to Natural Bridge, which was as yet undefended. The rebels realized what was happening, and a race was one. They arrived at the bridge first, and held it throughout the day on March 6th. Newton's troops tried to drive the Confederates away, but they held firm behind their breastworks and drove the Yankees back with heavy fire. In the evening the Federals retired. This was one of the last Confederate victories during the war, and it was key in making Tallahassee the only state capitol to remain in Confederate hands at the war's close.

Reenactment of the battle. Source.


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