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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Campbell's Bridge

Vital Crossing

 

—Lee's Retreat —

 
Campbell's Bridge Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
1. Campbell's Bridge Marker
Inscription. When General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia began its retreat from Petersburg and Richmond on the evening of April 2, 1865, part of the army crossed the Appomattox River at Campbell's Bridge here. Other columns crossed the river on three nearby bridges beginning about 8 p.m. Gen. James Longstreet, with whom Lee rode, crossed just west of here on the Battersea pontoon bridge and passed through Ettricks (now Ettrick). Gen. John B. Gordon led troops from the Petersburg defenses across the Pocahontas Bridge and the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad Bridge. Lee ordered the bridges destroyed after all had crossed. Union Col. Charles Walcott, 61st Massachusetts Infantry, noted that "On reaching Campbell's Bridge [after dawn] it was found to be burning very furiously. ... In spite of every exertion on the part of General [Charles H.T.] Collis and my officers and men to extinguish the flames, in which some of my men were seriously burned, the bridge fell in about 10 minutes after reaching it."

After Lee crossed the river, he told an officer, "It has happened as I told them it would, at Richmond. The line has been stretched until it has broken." The several columns soon converged near Goode's Bridge, where most crossed into Amelia County to continue the march west. The units that had been at Five Forks, however, remained
Retreat Route Map Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
2. Retreat Route Map
south of the Appomattox River.

(Sidebar):
On the hill across the river is the village of Ettrick, home during the war to many employees of the cotton and flour mills that surrounded Campbell's Bridge. The Ettrick Manufacturing Company, Battersea Mills, and Matoaca Manufacturing Company produced fabric for Confederate uniforms. The Georgia Confederate hospital was located in a grove nearby. In March 1865, a railroad spur from Dunlop's station, to the north on the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, was completed into Ettrick. A quartermaster center there transferred supplies over the pontoon bridge to the Petersburg lines.

In April 1865, members of the 1st Maine Cavalry and a local woman named Anna E. Trueman opened the "Ettricks (sic) Free School" for village residents. The school was held in the Methodist church for eight weeks.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 13.93′ N, 77° 25.017′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker is on Fleet Street (State Highway 36), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located in a parking area for a city park overlooking the Appomattox River. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Campbell's Bridge Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
3. Campbell's Bridge Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Appomattox River Heritage Trail (a few steps from this marker); Ettrick (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The First Methodist Meeting House (about 500 feet away); Grace Episcopal Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fort Henry (approx. half a mile away); Tavern Park (approx. half a mile away); General Lee's Headquarters (approx. half a mile away); Concrete Bunker (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. In the lower center of the marker is a map showing the retreat route. When Lee's Army of Northern Virginia evacuated Richmond and Petersburg on April 3, 1865, it took the routes west indicated in red. Lee himself followed the solid red route. The Union Army of the Potomac, under Grant and Meade, took the roads indicated in blue.

On the upper right is a photo of Ettrick mills from Campbell's Bridge, 1865.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Wartime Photo of Ettrick and the Mills Photo, Click for full size
4. Wartime Photo of Ettrick and the Mills
(Civil War photographs, 1861-1865 / compiled by Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge, Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1977. No. 0447, Call number: LC-B817- 7113[P&P])
Petersburg Southside Millrace Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
5. Petersburg Southside Millrace
Bridge Ruins Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
6. Bridge Ruins
Seaboard Air Line Railway and date from around 1890.
Ettrick Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
7. Ettrick
Looking over the modern Appomattox River bridge, the town of Ettrick and the mills in the photo were spread across the hill on the north side of the river. Upstream, to the left, was Merchant's Island, used as a prisoner of war camp for a time during the war.
Petersburg from the North Bank Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
8. Petersburg from the North Bank
Looking back across the river toward the marker location. Note the bridge piers continue into town.
Appomattox River at Campbell's Bridge (downriver). Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, May 31, 2009
9. Appomattox River at Campbell's Bridge (downriver).
Appomattox River at Campbell's Bridge (upriver). Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, May 31, 2009
10. Appomattox River at Campbell's Bridge (upriver).
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,962 times since then and 96 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   9, 10. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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