Battle Of High Bridge To Be Commemorated

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

High Bridge Trail State Park will commemorate the 148th Anniversary of the Second Battle for High Bridge on April 7, 1-4 p.m. The park will have as a special guest, Captain John Butler, and the Cummings Battery of the Cape Fear Light Artillery. Captain Butler and his group will be present with a replica Civil War era cannon performing load and fire demonstrations every half hour from 1 to 4 p.m.

Bob Flippen, the Park's education specialist, will present a talk on the second battle for High Bridge at 2:15 p.m. at the Bridge's river overlook. Hear what transpired during this critical engagement that resulted in the unraveling of Lee's strategy to use the Appomattox River as a barrier separating the two armies and hastened the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, two days later.

April 7, 1865 was a tumultuous day for Farmville and the surrounding area. The battle at High Bridge fought early that morning was only one in a series of engagements that day. After the Federal II Corps crossed the river, the 1st and 3rd Divisions pursued William Mahone's Division toward Cumberland Church while the 2nd Division chased John Gordon's forces along the railroad until their advance was checked just north of Farmville. In this encounter, at about 11 a.m., Thomas Alfred Smyth was mortally wounded, becoming the last Union General officer to die in the American Civil War.

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Farmville was captured and occupied by General Ord and the Union VI Corps between 1 and 2 p.m. At 3 p.m. the Federal II Corps unsuccessfully assaulted Mahone's entrenched defenders around Cumberland Church.

At 4 p.m. a second attempt led by General Miles of the 1st Division was also repulsed. At about the same time, an attack by Crook's Calvary on a Confederate wagon train crossing the Plank Road was repulsed resulting in the capture of General J. Irwin Gregg.

By 9 p.m. the first note of surrender to General Lee was penned by General Grant at the Randolph House in Farmville and passed through the lines at Cumberland Church.

This event will be held at High Bridge, approximately a mile from the closest parking lot (River Road parking lot), so please allow ample time to traverse the distance. The event is free, but a parking fee applies at the River Road parking lot. Be sure to bring drinking water. For more information contact the park office at 434-315-0457 or email