The Battle of Natural Bridge
March 6, 1865
Maj. Gen. John Newton had undertaken a joint force expedition to engage and destroy Confederate troops that had attacked at Cedar Keys and Fort Myers and were allegedly encamped somewhere around St. Marks. The 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, 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, the Union troops retreated to the protection of the fleet.
BATTLE OF NATURAL BRIDGE REENACTMENT
7502 Natural Bridge Road, 850-922-6007, www.floridastateparks.org/naturalbridge
Natural Bridge is the site of the second largest Civil War battle in Florida. The Yanks came north from the St. Marks area, hoping to reach Tallahassee. They were stopped cold at Natural Bridge by the Confederates, and, as a result, Tallahassee was the only southern capital east of the Mississippi that never fell into enemy hands. This was considered quite an accomplishment by historians. It was a five day battle where the militia of old men and young boys defeated a very seasoned Union troop. Most of the skirmishes occurred along the narrow natural bridge.
The reenactment is in March, and is really worth attending. Along with all the history, you also have the opportunity to spend time in a really beautiful part of North Florida. The natural bridge is where the river disappears into a sink. Definitely stand on the bridge to view that. Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park is 8 miles south of Tallahassee on SR 363. Turn left onto county road 2192, and go 6 miles to the battlefield site.