The Museum of Southern History
Preserving the History, Ideals and Chivalry of the South.
4304 Herschel St., Jacksonville, Florida 32210
The Battle of Natural Bridge
The Battle of Natural Bridge was fought at what is now Woodville, Florida, just south of Tallahassee, on 6 March 1865. A small band of Confederate troops and volunteers, mostly composed of teenagers from the nearby school that would later become Florida State University, and the elderly, protected by breastworks, prevented the Union Army from crossing the Natural Bridge on the St. Marks River. This action prevented the Union Army from capturing Florida’s capital and made Tallahassee the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi River not to be captured by Union forces during the war.
The Union's Maj. Gen. John Newton had undertaken a joint force expedition to engage and destroy Confederate troops that had attacked at Cedar Key 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 6 March to attempt to cross the river at Natural Bridge. The troops initially pushed the defending Confederate 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 being incapable of taking the bridge in three major attacks; the Union troops retreated to the protection of their fleet.
The above description is a very short summary of the battle. For those desiring more detail, please open the pdf. file which will deal with the battle in greater detail as well as the actions of the Confederate Cadets from the military school in Tallahassee and their role in the battle.
Brig. Gen. William Miller