New River Bridge

New River Bridge (HM631)

Location: Radford, VA 24141
Country: United States of America

N 37° 8.057', W 80° 34.827'

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Attack on the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad

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. 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.
HM NumberHM631
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 9:10am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 537264 N 4109851
Decimal Degrees37.13428333, -80.58045000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 8.057', W 80° 34.827'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 8' 3.42" N, 80° 34' 49.62" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2 Berkley St, Radford VA 24141, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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