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The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida
Fighting begins at
East River and Newport Bridge
The Federal troops finally began their main inland
movement on the morning of March 5, 1865. The
total force consisted of around 1,000 officers and
men, with two pieces of artillery (boat howitzers)
provided by the Navy.

Leaving the lighthouse at around 8 a.m., they
pushed along the narrow path through the marshes
and across spots of high ground until they reached
the East River Bridge, where a force of around 60
Confederates under Lt. Col. G.W. Scott were poised
to oppose them.

Scott's men had a single piece of artillery, but
eyewitnesses later remembered that the colonel for
unknown reasons declined to let them open on the
approaching Federals at long range. Instead, they
had to unload the gun and then reload it with
canister and managed to get off only a single shot
before Union troops stormed across the stringers
of the bridge. Scott ordered his men to save their
gun and retreat, but in the confusion the men took
off running and the cannon was captured by Union

Hoping to take advantage of the confusion, General
Newton pushed the 2nd Florida U.S. Cavalry
(dismounted) forward with orders to take the bridge
over the St. Marks River at Newport.

Scott's men made it there ahead of them, however,
and had just managed to partially dismantle the
flooring of the bridge when the Union soldiers
approached. The Confederates took shelter behind
entrenchments on the west bank, where they were
reinforced by a company of local militia and a few
Confederate Marines from the gunboat

A sharp skirmish opened from opposite sides of
the river, but the Confederates were able to hold
back all attempts by the Federals to gain
possession of the bridge.
Marshes at Lighthouse Point
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
The St. Marks River, Looking North
Newport, Florida
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