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152nd Battle of Natural Bridge
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THE PAST ...

 

Early on the morning of March 6, 1865, shots rang out in southern Leon County where the St. Marks river temporarily flows underground then reemerges thus forming a natural bridge. These shots marked the opening skirmish of the Battle of Natural Bridge. Over the course of the day, the Union troops attempted to charge over the Natural Bridge. Each charge was repulsed by murderous artillery and small arms fire by the Confederate defenders. By days end, the defeated Union forces retreated to the protection of the Federal fleet at St. Marks. With the Southern victory at the Battle of Natural Bridge, Tallahassee became the only Southern Capitol east of the Mississippi River not to sucumb to military capture during the American Civil War.


THE PRESENT ...

 

The Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park is now part of Florida's state park system. Today the Florida Park Service (FPS) maintains a portion of the original battlefield for the State of Florida. The Site is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1978, the Florida Park Service, in conjunction with the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and living historians, has hosted a commemoration of the Battle of Natural Bridge, including a full scale reenactment of the battle.


 

The Natural Bridge Historical Society, Inc. (NBHS) was incorporated in 1999 as a Citizen Support Organization (CSO) to work in cooperation with the Florida Park Service to preserve and enhance the Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park. A main focus of the CSO is to raise monies to fund capital improvements at the Park. As one of our first projects, on March 5, 2000 in conjunction with the 135th anniversary of the Battle of Natural Bridge, the NBHS funded and installed a new monument at the Park commemorating the soldiers, both North and South, who gave their lives at the Battle of Natural Bridge.


 

Please consider joining the Natural Bridge Historical Society - we welcome your support!


WHAT IS THE CSO?

 

The Natural Bridge Historical Society, Inc. is a non-profit Florida corporation composed of volunteer members. While the CSO works in cooperation with the park officials, it is an independent organization. Membership is open to individuals and organizations. Membership fees and donations are tax deductible. Members receive periodic updates, by mail or email, detailing the activities of the CSO and have full voting rights in the election of the CSO Board of Directors. Active members are encouraged to stand for election on the Board and/or participate in all activities of the CSO.


WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CSO?

 

State funds and personnel are limited. The CSO works with the FPS to provide resources beyond those that are available through the state budget. Resources targeted by the CSO may vary each year but can be summed up in three words: money, time, and commitment. Financially, investments in capital projects and improvements by the CSO represent supplemental funding that would otherwise never be available for the park.


 

But the work of the CSO goes beyond collecting money. Volunteers work to secure grants and donations, plan and staff special events and programs, conduct historical research, and keep the public aware of the Park and its needs. Commitment to the Park ensures that the Natural Bridge Battlefield will be preserved for future generations. The CSO cares deeply about the Site. By serving as an "oversight" organization, the CSO protects while improving the Natural Bridge.


HOW CAN I HELP?

 

The NBHS is a membership organization. When you join, you are helping to ensure preservation of the Park through better facilities and interpretation. Your membership makes you a partner in shaping the future of this historic site. This is your chance to make a difference. Complete the membership application today to show your support of the Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park.


THE PAST MEETS THE PRESENT ...

 

You have just walked down a quiet backwoods country road 6 miles east of the peaceful community of Woodville. There is a rustling of leaves and the snapping of twigs. Suddenly in front of you can be seen a large number of Southern troops forming a defensive line on either side of the road as it crosses over the St. Marks river forming a natural land bridge. On the other side of the bridge, along the river’s bank a thin line of blue stretches across from the Confederates. The roar of a cannon echoes among the trees. Union troops start to fall as their line waivers. The bloody battle begins in earnest. Officers shout orders to their men as the chaos of battle unfolds before your eyes. Battle flags advance and retreat like the waves on a beach. In the path of their retreat are scores of dead and dying men - and for a few moments you are there on the Natural Bridge Battlefield in 1865.


 

Each year since 1978, on the first full weekend in March, the most significant annual Civil War reenactment in the southeast brings life to this historic battle. Reenactment units from all over the State and the United States converge on the Natural Bridge Battlefield. More than two hundred reenactors with all the weapons of war used over 140 years ago, clash on the original battlefield. They follow the events and movements of the troops, recreating this historic engagement. Come join us!


 

NATURAL BRIDGE HISTORICAL SOCIETY,INC. - CITIZEN SUPPORT ORGANIZATION


 

c/o 815 East 7th Avenue - Tallahassee, Florida 32303