During the final weeks of the Civil War, a Union flotilla landed at Apalachee Bay planning to capture Fort Ward (San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park) and march north to the state capital.
With a timely warning, volunteers from the Tallahassee area - Confederate soldiers, old men and young boys - met the Union forces at Natural Bridge and successfully repelled three major attacks. The Union troops were forced to retreat to the coast and Tallahassee was the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi not captured by the Union.
A monument at the site honors the Confederate soldiers who defended Natural Bridge. There are picnic and fishing areas surrounded by woodlands for a comfortable place to relax and reflect back on Florida’s history.
Freshwater fishing on the north side of Natural Bridge is allowable and can be quite good at times. Bream, Crappie, Florida Black Bass, Catfish, and the occasional Striper can be caught. All FWC fishing regulations are enforced. Stop at the Iron Ranger in the restroom parking lot to pay the entrance fee. Tear off and display the stub on your dash.
All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. A fishing license may be required. More information is available at the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
Sheltered picnic tables throughout the park are surrounded by woodlands for a comfortable place to relax and reflect back on Florida’s history. There is also an accessible picnic table under a pavilion off of the main walkway.
The historic battlefield site was named for its true geological feature that provides a crossing point at a section where the St. Marks River goes underground for a distance before reappearing, forming a natural bridge. The property is also the site of Florida's second largest Civil War battle. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and cited as one of the top ten endangered Civil War sites in the United States by the Civil War Preservation Trust. Please see the History section for more information.