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White stone Memorial Monument. Confederate light artillery is shown at a reenactment. Confederates advance during a reenactment. Union forces load rifles at the River Sink during a battle reenactment.
Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park
Main Battlefield Memorial Monument.

History and Culture

The historic battlefield site was named for its true biological feature that provides a crossing point at a section where the St. Marks River goes underground for a distance before reappearing, therefore forming a natural bridge. The property is also the site of Florida' second largest Civil War battle. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and cited as one of the top ten endangered Civil War sites in the United States by the Civil War Preservation Trust. In 1865, during the final week of the Civil War, the battle at Natural Bridge preserved Tallahassee as the only Confederate Capitol east of the Mississippi that did not surrender to Union forces. In February 2009, the state of Florida purchased nearly 55 acres of land adjacent to the original property to protect a first magnitude spring.

Photo of a 1970s Reenactor's Camp.

Reenactor's Camp

Natural Bridge is the site of the second largest Civil War battle in Florida and also where the St. Marks River drops into a sinkhole and flows underground for 1.25-miles before reemerging. This photo of the first reenactment camp was taken in 1976.

First Reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge in 1975.

First Reenactment

Each year the size, scope and attendance of the reenactment increases. This annual reenactment commemorates the Civil War battle that took place in March 1865.

Reenactors preparing a cannon during a reenactment.

Preparing for Battle

Reenactors prepare for the reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge. On March 5, 1865, Confederate soldiers, plus a small number of older men and young boys, repelled numerous advances by the Union forces making their way to Tallahassee, Florida's Capital. Union losses included 21 killed, 89 wounded and 38 captured. Confederate losses totaled three killed and 22 wounded.

Participants at reenactment at Natural Bridge Battlefield.

1992 Reenactment

Participants march to the Battle of Natural Bridge Battlefield Reenactment during the early 1990s. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) acquired the older portion of the park to erect the monument. The UDC managed the property until it became a state park in 1949.

St. Marks River at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park.

St. Marks River

The St. Marks River meanders across the Natural Bridge Battlefield before disappearing into the River Sink.