Campbell's Bridge

Campbell's Bridge (HM9H5)

Location: Petersburg, VA 23803
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 13.93', W 77° 25.017'

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Vital Crossing

— Lee's Retreat —

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 south of the Appomattox River.

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.
HM NumberHM9H5
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 5:29pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 285587 N 4123365
Decimal Degrees37.23216667, -77.41695000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 13.93', W 77° 25.017'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 13' 55.80" N, 77° 25' 1.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804, 434, 757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 567-699 VA-36, Petersburg VA 23803, US
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