On June 14, 1864, after occupying Lexington and burning the Virginia Military Institute, Union General David Hunter's 18,000-man force marched south toward Lynchburg through Buchanan, a river port located at the western terminus of the James River and Kanawha Canal.
When Union General William W. Averell's cavalrymen attempted to seize the Buchanan Bridge across the James River, Confederate General John C. McCausland's troopers who had been harassing them, confronted them again. By the time Averell arrived, the Confederates had packed the wooden covered bridge with coal oil-soaked hay. McCausland ignited the north end of the bridge then escaped in a small boat to the side of the river, corssing beneath the burning structure. An artillery duel ensued. The wind carried embers from the bridge across the river to dwellings in Pattonsburg. Averell's men helped extinguish the flames, but not before eleven houses burned. The bridge, which survived the fire, was unusable, so Union soldiers, wagons, and artillerg forded the river upstream, losing a day's march. The next morning, Hunter's force crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains on present-day Route 43. (background information taken from Civil War History Marker located at the Bridge)
The old bridge piers today support the pedestrian swinging bridge.
Please stop by and visit the MY WORLD MEME hosted by the fab team of Klaus | Sandy | Ivar | Wren | Fishing Guy| Louise. We had over 100 visitors last week.