Leon County, FL | Mar 6, 1865
Late in the war, Union Maj. Gen. John Newton led a joint force expedition to engage and destroy Confederate troops in Florida that had attacked at Cedar Keys and Fort Myers, and were allegedly encamped somewhere around St. Marks near the state capital at Tallahassee. When the expedition began, the U. S. Navy had difficulty getting its ships up the narrow and shallow St. Marks River. The Army force, however, had advanced, and after finding one bridge destroyed, started before dawn on March 6th to attempt a crossing of the river at Natural Bridge. The Union troops initially pushed Rebel forces back but not away from the bridge. Confederate forces under Gen. Samuel Jones, protected by breastworks, guarded all of the approaches and the bridge itself. The action at Natural Bridge lasted most of the day, but, unable to take the bridge, the Union troops retreated to the protection of the fleet. The battle prevented the Union from capturing the Florida capital and made Tallahassee the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi River not to be captured by Union forces during the war. The battle has been described as the last Confederate victory in the Civil War, and it was the second largest battle fought in Florida.