“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Front Royal in Warren County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

The Bridges

“Torch the Bridges!”


—Battle of Front Royal - May 23, 1862 —

The Bridges Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
1. The Bridges Marker
Inscription. Flanked out of his position on Richardson's Hill, Union Col. John R. Kenly hurried his command north to the bridges spanning the forks of the Shenandoah River. At this spot on the South Fork stood the Front Royal Turnpike Bridge, and the Manassas Gap Railroad bridge was located just east. Another bridge led over the North Fork.

As the Federals crossed the bridges, the 1st Maryland Infantry (CSA) pressed the Union rear and the Louisianans attacked the flanks. Kenly's troops burned their tents and supplies, as well as Kenly's headquarters at the Vannort house to the west. Kenly ordered the bridges burned to thwart the Confederate pursuit. He also deployed the 5th New York Cavalry and his cannons on Guard Hill, across the forks, to protect his retreat route.

The Federal attempt to burn the bridges failed when the Louisianans, led by Gen. Richard Taylor, charged into the flames to beat them out.

The North Fork Bridge was damaged enough, however, that it and the cannon and musket fire from Guard Hill slowed the Confederate crossing. The Federal advantage evaporated when Lt. Col. Thomas S. Flournoy's 6th Virginia Cavalry swam the rain-swollen river and formed for the pursuit.

(Lower Left Sidebar): Medal of Honor at Front Royal
Although Col. John R. Kenly ordered the bridges over the North and South
Marker in Front Royal Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 26, 2007
2. Marker in Front Royal
The South Fork of the Shenandoah River can be seen here behind the marker.
Forks of the Shenandoah River to be burned, the Confederates succeeded in putting out the flames. Thanks to the determination of Sgt. William Taylor, Co. H, 1st Maryland Infantry (USA), however, Kenly's goal was partially accomplished. Taylor was painfully wounded in the process, but he single-handedly destroyed enough of the North Folk Bridge that the Southerners could not use it. On Aug. 2, 1897, Taylor received the nation's highest award for bravery, the Medal of Honor, for his courage above and beyond the call of duty at Front Royal.
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 56.515′ N, 78° 11.654′ W. Marker is in Front Royal, Virginia, in Warren County. Marker is on North Royal Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located at the north end of Royal Avenue. The road dead ends at the South Fork of the Shenandoah River at the old bridge site. The marker is about 300 feet past the railroad overpass near the end of Royal Avenue. Marker is in this post office area: Front Royal VA 22630, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Richardson’s Hill (approx. 0.4 miles away); Execution of Mosby’s Rangers
Detail of the Tactical Map Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
3. Detail of the Tactical Map
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Guard Hill (approx. 0.6 miles away); Rose Hill (approx. 0.8 miles away); Guard Hill Engagement (approx. 0.8 miles away); Execution of Mosby’s Men (approx. 0.8 miles away); Battle of Front Royal (approx. 0.8 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Front Royal (approx. 1.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Front Royal.
More about this marker. On the right side of the marker is a map detailing the Battle of Front Royal with Civil War Trails sites linked to the battle time line. In the upper center, a map illustrates the tactical maneuvers described on the marker. A portrait of Gen. Richard Taylor is between the two maps. The left side bar has a portrait of Sgt. William Taylor.
Regarding The Bridges. This marker is one of several from a driving tour of the Front Royal Battlefield. The markers are listed in sequence on the Battle of Front Royal Virtual Tour by Markers link below.
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Front Royal - The Bridges
Dead End of Royal Avenue Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
4. Dead End of Royal Avenue
At the time of the battle, the south end of the bridge stood where the marker stands today.
. The Bridges is stop 8 in the Battle of Front Royal Driving Tour. (Submitted on October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Copy of the Marker. (Submitted on October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. Battle of Front Royal. National Parks Service summary of the battle. The action discussed on the marker is related to phase 5 of the battle summary. (Submitted on October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

4. North Fork Bridge Repair Work. This areal photograph is part of a Virginia Department of Transportation survey for expanding the existing highway bridge. Clearly visible are the road bed leading to the old bridge, islands formed from the pilings of the old bridge, and the dam upstream. (Submitted on October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

5. Battle of Front Royal Virtual Tour by Markers. (Submitted on November 18, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Additional comments.
1. Road Improvements
At present, the repairs and construction work on US 340/522 near the North Fork Bridge site creates a bottleneck for traffic even on off days. While the markers in the vicinity are easy to find, finding a spot to stop and observe them is sometimes difficult.
Ruins of the Old Bridge Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
5. Ruins of the Old Bridge
The old pilings are clearly visible, and the opposite shore shows traces of the old roadbed.
  — Submitted October 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

Categories. War, US Civil
South Fork Railroad Bridge Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
6. South Fork Railroad Bridge
The railroad bridge was replaced by a newer structure over time. The ruins of the Pike bridge are visible in the foreground. This photo was taken from the modern US Highway 340/522 bridge.
North Fork Bridge Site Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, October 7, 2007
7. North Fork Bridge Site
The bridge site is now a boat landing on the north shore of the river. An old dam stands just below the modern highway bridge. This was the location of Sgt. William Taylor action that lead to the award of the Medal of Honor.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,638 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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