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

New River Bridge

Attack on the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad

 
 
New River Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, July 16, 2008
1. New River Bridge Marker
Inscription. On May 10, 1864, the day after defeating Confederate forces in the bloody battle of Cloyd's Mountain, Union Gen. George Crook's Army of the Kanawha attacked and burned this railroad bridge over the New River. During the Civil War, the railroad was a major strategic resource, allowing the rapid massing of troops and the long-distance delivery of food and munitions. U.S. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's plans for a Union offensive on all fronts in 1864 led to the destruction of this important 780-foot bridge.

By mid-morning, Crook's 6,000 men, who had torn up railroad tracks as they advanced from Dublin, arrived at the north end of the bridge with 12 pieces of artillery. Confederate commander Col. John McCausland had placed his 2,000 soldiers and 14 guns at the south end of the bridge after burning the turnpike bridge at Ingles Ferry. Sharpshooters for both sides occupied the riverbanks. The U.S. forces included two future presidents: Col. Rutherford B. Hayes and Lt. William McKinley.

An artillery duel followed. By 1 p.m., the Confederates had expended their ammunition and withdrew to Christiansburg. The Federals then burned the bridge's wooden upper structure but left the stone piers standing for lack of explosives. Deep in enemy territory and unsure of the fate of the other Union armies in Virginia, Crook returned to West Virginia.
Marker Seen through Picnic Shelter image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, July 16, 2008
2. Marker Seen through Picnic Shelter
By June 11, train traffic across the New River was restored until Gen. George Stoneman's Union troops disabled several bridge trusses on April 6, 1865, three days before Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 8.057′ N, 80° 34.827′ W. Marker is in Radford, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Berkley Williams Drive 0.7 miles from Charlie Coles Drive. Touch for map. Marker is on pathway that runs along the New River in Bisset Park. From parking lot at western end of the park, walk across picnic area to read the marker. To see the present-day railroad bridge and the old piers, follow the path to your left for a short distance. Marker is in this post office area: Radford VA 24141, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Montgomery County / Pulaski County (approx. half a mile away); The New River (approx. half a mile away); Starnes (approx. 0.6 miles away); Wildwood Pool (approx. 0.8 miles away); Connelly's Run
The New River Railroad Bridge, 2008 image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, July 16, 2008
3. The New River Railroad Bridge, 2008
(approx. 0.8 miles away); Page’s Meeting House (approx. 1.2 miles away); First Settlement (approx. 1.4 miles away); Radford (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Radford.
 
More about this marker. Illustration on the marker is a drawing of the R.R. Bridge at New River by Louis Miller ca. 1853 (Va. Historical Society). On the right side of the marker is a map of the area detailing the unit movements described in the text.
 
Regarding New River Bridge. Radford was known as Central Depot.
 
Also see . . .
1. Geology and the Civil War: Union Raiders in the New River Valley. (Submitted on July 25, 2008, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia.)
2. Radford City Website. Has useful GIS map and and a Bikeway/Walkway map showing Bisset Park. (Submitted on July 25, 2008, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
Close-up of Area Map, New River Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, July 16, 2008
4. Close-up of Area Map, New River Bridge
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 24, 2008, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,841 times since then and 136 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 25, 2008, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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