TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park will host the annual reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge on March 7 and 8.
Natural Bridge is recognized as the site of the second largest Civil War battle in Florida. In addition to being a historic landmark, the park also features distinct natural characteristics. The park is named for a natural bridge formed by the St. Marks River as it flows underground.
During the final weeks of the Civil War, a Union flotilla landed at Apalachee Bay planning to capture Fort Ward (located at San Marcos de Apalachee Historic State Park) and march north to the state capitol. With a timely warning, volunteer Confederate soldiers from the Tallahassee area met the Union forces at Natural Bridge and successfully defended against three major attacks. The Union troops were forced to retreat to the coast and Tallahassee remained the only Confederate capitol east of the Mississippi not captured by the Union.
As part of the sesquicentennial commemoration, the historic march of the Union troops will be re-created from their naval landing at the St. Marks Lighthouse to Natural Bridge on Friday, March 6 around 1 p.m.
Saturday will feature a skirmish at 3 p.m. The full battle will be reenacted on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Both events will take place on the site of the original battlefield, which was acquired by the state in 2009.
On Sunday at 1 p.m., the Anna Jackson Chapter 224 United Daughters of the Confederacy will celebrate their annual pilgrimage to the site with a brief ceremony and the laying of a wreath honoring the original participants of the battle.
During the two-day event, period merchants will sell souvenirs at an authentic period camp. Food and beverages will be for sale, courtesy of the Tallahassee Elks Lodge. The Natural Bridge Historical Society, Inc. and the park’s Citizen Support Organization will be available to answer questions about the battle and its historic context.
Other activities during the weekend include prearranged school tours on Friday, living history demonstrations interpreting civilian and military life during the 1860s, historic presentations by volunteers from the John G. Riley Center/Museum of African American History and Culture, and demonstrations from the Ladies Soldiers’ Friend Sewing Society.
A donation of $3 per adult and $1 for children 6 and under is requested for admission to the event. All proceeds help to maintain and preserve the park.
The Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park is located six miles east of Woodville on the Natural Bridge Road, just south of Tallahassee.
For additional information, please contact Rob Lacy at 850-922-6007 or Rob.Lacy@dep.state.fl.us.
WHAT: Annual Battle Reenactment
WHERE: Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park
7502 Natural Bridge Rd.
Tallahassee, FL 32305
WHEN: Saturday, March 7, 2015
Battle Skirmish at 3 p.m.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Battle Reenactment at 2:30 p.m.