On June 25, 1861, 296 Confederate troops, along with 492 “old men and young boys” defended the historic Staunton River Bridge against Union cavalry led by Generals James H. Wilson and August V. Kautz. Though the Union cavalry numbered more than 5000, they lost this battle to the Confederates, and the strategic bridge remained standing.
Each year, Historic Staunton River Foundation, beginning on Friday evening with a wagon ride and tour of the battleground. At dusk, the Cape Fear Light Artillery will present a cannon-firing demonstration.
On Saturday morning beginning at 9:00, the United Daughters of the Confederacy will hold a Military Service Award Ceremony to honor veterans who are lineal descendants of Confederate veterans. After the ceremony, visitors can take a guided tour of the battle site.
Special guest speaker this year will be Dr. Lawrence G. Kautz, a descendent of the Union General August V. Kautz and author of a book about his ancestor. Dr. Kautz’ lecture will take place in the Clover Visitor Center from 12:30 – 1:30 PM.
Throughout the day on Saturday, visitors can view living history encampments and cannon firing demonstrations will take place every 30 minutes. In addition, a hot dog lunch will be available for purchase in the picnic shelter beginning at 11:30, thanks to members of the Sappony Indian Nation.
The park’s Clover Visitor Center contains an exhibit detailing the historic battle fought here. Visitors can see historic earthen fortifications along the trail through the park. Across the Staunton River Bridge is the Roanoke Station Visitor Center, with a display of Native American artifacts recovered during archaeological excavations here. While this weekend focuses on Civil War history, the history of the park and the location on the Staunton River goes back much further. For more details, call the park at (434) 454-4312.