“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)

The Battle at the Bridge

The Revolutionary War

The Battle at the Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, January 21, 2010
1. The Battle at the Bridge Marker
Inscription. 25 April 1781
In the late afternoon and evening of 24 April 1781, Virginia militia regiments of Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg’s Corps of about 1,000 men marched into Petersburg in order to counter an expected attack by the invading 2,500 man British army of Major General William Phillips the following day. That evening, Major General Frederick von Steuben, the overall American commander in Virginia, ordered Muhlenberg’s Corps and other gathering militia to the north side of the Appomattox River in the community of Pocahontas and onto the heights overlooking the river (now Colonial Heights) for the night. On the morning of the 25th, von Steuben and MuhIenberg began deploying their force to defensive positions on the eastern edges of Blandford and Petersburg. Concurrently, von Steuben left Colonel Robert Goode’s militia regiment of Chesterfield County and Captain Robert Bolling’s company of Cavalry in Pocahontas to secure the militia’s rear and provide covering fire for operations on the south of the river.

The initial British attack began near 1:00 o’clock. Around 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, following intense fighting against overwhelming odds, von Steuben ordered a general withdrawal of the militia from Petersburg into Chesterfield County. The Americans had held their principal defensive position along
Pocahontas Bridge Site image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, January 21, 2010
2. Pocahontas Bridge Site
what is now Madison Street against several assaults by Phillips’ overwhelming British regulars. However, with ammunition running low and British artillery battering the militia lines, von Steuben determined that his force had accomplished as much as they could to defend the town. With British forces in close pursuit, the militia fought a bitter hand-to-hand delaying action along this waterfront while individual units crossed the narrow Pocahontas Bridge to safety. The last units across took up the bridge planks to delay the enemy’s following. Though it had withdrawn from Petersburg, the brave Virginia militia had impeded the British invasion and remained intact to fight another day.
Location. 37° 14.126′ N, 77° 24.168′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker is on Pocahontas Street 0.1 miles west of 3rd Steet, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pocahontas (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pocahontas Island (about 500 feet away); South Side Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named South Side Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bollingbrook Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away); Old Market Square (approx. 0.2 miles away); Petersburg’s Old Towne (approx. 0.2 miles away); Touring Old Towne (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a map carrying the caption, “The map above was drawn by John Hills, a lieutenant and assistant engineer in the 23rd Regiment, British Army. The map was published in London by William Faden, Geographer to King George III, at Charing Cross, on May 3, 1784.”

On the right is an image of “Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg from an engraving by Frederick Girsch, courtesy of the Library of Congress.”

On the lower right is an image of “The Battle of Petersburg.” Courtesy of the Artist, Pamela Patrick White.
Also see . . .
1. The Battle of Petersburg. Being a short synopsis of that battle between the Virginia militia commanded by Major General, the Baron von Steuben and British regulars commanded Major General William Phillips. By Robert P. Davis, 1SG, USA (Ret) (Submitted on January 24, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

2. American Revolution Round Table - Richmond. The ARRT-R is devoted to the study of all aspects of the Revolutionary period (ca. 1763-89). (Submitted on January 24, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsWar, US Revolutionary
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 893 times since then and 74 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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