Friday, March 6, 2009

Battle of Natural Bridge Anniversary


Today is the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida.

Fought on the St. Marks River south of Tallahassee on March 6, 1865, the battle was the last significant Confederate victory of the War Between the States and preserved Tallahassee's status as the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi not conquered by Union troops.

Men and boys from Jackson County played an important role in the fighting. Major William Henry Milton, a Marianna lawyer, son of Governor John Milton and an officer in the 5th Florida Cavalry, commanded the right wing of the Confederate lines during the battle. Lieutenant Colonel W.D. Barnes, of Webbville, assumed command of the 1st Florida Infantry Reserves in the fighting following the wounding of the regiment's colonel, J.J. Daniel.

Others from Jackson County who took part in the fighting included John Milton (Jr.) and several other boys who fought as members of the Corps of Cadets from the West Florida Seminary (today's Florida State University). Company G of the 5th Florida Cavalry was heavily engaged at Natural Bridge and was largely from Jackson County. There were also Jackson County men in the 2nd Florida Cavalry, Company E of the 5th Florida Cavalry and in the various artillery units on the field.

The annual Natural Bridge reenactment will take place this weekend at the battlefield, which is now a state park near Woodville, a small town south of Tallahassee. The main events will take place on Sunday with a memorial service at 1 p.m. (Eastern time), followed by the primary battle reenactment.

If you would like to learn more about the Battle of Natural Bridge, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/nbindex.

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