Park of the Month: High Bridge Trail
Its history is linked to the final days of the American Civil War in Southside Virginia
The Battle of High Bridge is one of a series of battles that led to the surrender of General Lee
For many years the excitement around Virginia has been the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the American Civil War and many historical destinations are gearing up for the finale in Appomattox.
On Sunday March 29, 2015, High Bridge Trail State Park will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.
The High Bridge was crossed by General Robert E. Lee’s army during his retreat. Though the Confederate Engineers rendered High Bridge impassible, they failed to successfully burn the Wagon Bridge (which no longer stands), allowing Union troops to pursue the Confederate forces toward Farmville. If the attempt to destroy the Wagon Bridge had been successful, the outcome of this particular campaign during the American Civil War may have been different. Within days after crossing High Bridge, General Lee would surrender at Appomattox Court House.
High Bridge has been converted into one of the largest pedestrian bridges in the United States
The commemoration of the Battles of High Bridge will consist of three informative programs:
Chris Calkins, Park Manager of Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park, a prominentAmerican Civil War historian and author, willtake our visitors on a journey of the mind. He will speak to the events that occurred on that fateful day of April 7, 1865 and recount true storiesof desperateactionsmade by ordinary soldiers.
Earthen fortification once prevented the enemy from crossing High Bridge
Bill Graham of Powhatan will speak to the earthen fortifications at High Bridge and their role in the two battles that occurred there. He will shed light on the three hundred man garrison that occupied the four redoubts constructed and the artillery ordnance used for their defense.
Burkes Tavern is the site where Union General Smyth’s died after being wounded along the South Side Railroad that is now High Bridge Trail
Bob Flippen, Education Specialist for High Bridge Trail, will talk about the mortal wounding of General Thomas Alfred Smyth, near Farmville on the morning of April 7, 1865. General Smyth was the last Union General to die in the American Civil War. Smyth was shot by a Confederate sharpshooter as his brigade approached Farmville along the South Side Railroad. He would later succumb to his wound at Burkes Tavern in Nottoway County on April 9, while being evacuated for medical treatment.
These programs are free but a $4 parking fee applies atpark access areas. For more information, check out the individual event listings here, contact us by email here, or call the park office at (434) 315-0457.
Guided history tours and a living history village will take place in the Town of Farmville
The Town of Farmville will have commemorative events also, including guided history tours and a living history village at Riverside Park. Re-enactors will portray a Civil War encampment and feature artillery and musket demonstrations. Other events will include a burial re-enactments and graveside services at the Farmville Confederate Cemetery.
For more information about the events happening in Farmville, visitVirginia’s Heartland Regional Visitor Centeror call (434) 392-1482.