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Weekend Events Mark Anniversary Of Battle

In June of 1864, Union cavalry under the command of General James H. Wilson and August V. Kautz were making a raid through Southside Virginia, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.

Their intention was to cut off the last remaining Confederate supply line; their main objective was the destruction of the railroad bridge over the Staunton River between Charlotte and Halifax Counties. 

Fighting against a force of over 5,000 men and far superior artillery, the bridge was saved through the gallant efforts of 296 Confederate troops and 492 “old men and young boys” who gathered at the bridge to defend it from the advancing Federals. 

This Friday marks the 146th anniversary of this vital, but less well-known, battle — the Battle for Staunton River Bridge.

The Historic Staunton River Foundation and the Staunton River Battlefield State Park in conjunction with the Halifax Chapter 1321 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) will host a Commemoration of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge with a weekend full of activities beginning Friday night (the actual day of the battle), and the revelry will continue with daylong events on Saturday at the Staunton River Battlefield State Park in Randolph and Clover.

Battle of Staunton River Bridge Commemoration
Friday
• 8 p.m. to dusk:  Wagon Ride Tour of the Battleground
• Dusk: Night cannon firing demonstration by Cumming’s Cape Fear Light Artillery in Fort Hill in honor of the 146th Anniversary of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge.  Bring a flashlight.

Saturday
•  9 to 9:45 a.m.: Military service award ceremony at Fort Hill near UDC monument, presented by the Halifax Chapter 1321 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  These service awards are presented to veterans who are lineal descendants of Confederate Veterans. 

•  9:45 to10:30 a.m. – Wreath laying ceremony led by Historic Staunton River Foundation.  Local hereditary and genealogical groups are invited to attend and participate. The Historic Staunton River Foundation will present commemorative medals to recognized descendants of the participants of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge.  

In addition, the Robert C. Moates Scholarship recipient, Savannah Ketchum, a 2010 graduate of Randolph-Henry High School, will present her winning essay.  This scholarship is sponsored by the Charlotte County Grays 1964 of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. 

• 10:30 a.m.:  Guided battlefield tour and narration will begin at the Staunton River Battlefield Bridge.  Parking is available at Roanoke Station in Randolph and the Clover Visitors Center, and a bus will be provided for transportation.

•  Lunch – Hotdogs, barbecue, chips, concessions, and beverages will be available for purchase at the picnic shelter at the Clover Visitors Center.  Members of the Sappony Indian Nation will be serving lunch.  In addition, Sappony merchandise will be available for purchase.

• 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Presentation on “Weapons of the Civil War” will be conducted by Robert M. “Bert” Dunkerly, the Lead Park Ranger at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  His presentation will focus on the weapons specifically used at the Battle of Staunton River Bridge. 

In addition, Dunkerly is an award-winning author and speaker who is actively involved in historic preservation and research. 

Throughout the day:  Living History Encampment presented by Confederate re-enactors from the 14th Virginia Infantry, Co. K and Oliver’s Battery, 21st Virginia, Co. C will be located next to Fort Hill.  Prisoner demonstrations and Confederate cooking will be shown for public participation.

Throughout the day:  Cannon firing demonstrations by Cumming’s Cape Fear Light Artillery in Fort Hill.  A “firing schedule” will be available in the Clover Visitors Center.

Bring the entire family, friends and camera for these and other events held throughout the summer at the Staunton River Battlefield State Park.

This is a “tentative schedule,” and every effort has been made to maintain and keep it accurate.