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Civil War  |  Historic Site

High Bridge

Virginia

River Rd and Jamestown Road
Rice, VA 23966
United States

This heritage site is a part of the American Battlefield Trust's Road to Freedom Tour Guide app, which showcases sites integral to the Black experience during the Civil War era. Download the FREE app now.

High Bridge across Appomattox River, south side railroad. Farmville, Va., (vicinity) April 1865.
High Bridge across Appomattox River, south side railroad. Farmville, Va., (vicinity) April 1865. Library of Congress

Fortifications to the original 1854 High Bridge were built, in part, with the help of area free men of color who were conscripted for Confederate service. The Confederate Congress authorized the draft of free men of color to support military activities. Confederate records indicate there were about 30 "black Confederates" supporting the Confederate Engineer Department at High Bridge in September 1864. The Bureau of Conscription authorized a draft for free African-Americans from Appomattox, Prince Edward, Amelia, Buckingham and Cumberland Counties to support Captain William G. Bender, the engineer in charge of construction of the fortifications. By December 1864, there were at least 50 such engaged in work. These men were provided Confederate uniforms and blankets due to cold weather.

Railroads During the Civil War from The National Historic Register Report