Staunton River Battlefield LbNA # 30837
|Placed Date||May 12 2007|
|Location||Drakes Branch, VA|
Degree of difficulty: medium
Heard this box was missing but I checked 9-5-2010 and it's still there. There are a number of geocaches in the park, so I am not listing the coordinates of this one.
In June, 1864, Generals Wilson and Kautz were sent to destroy the Richmond and Danville Railroad. Their travels through Southside Virginia are now marked as a driving trail. The trail ends at the Staunton River, because on June 25, 1824, a small group of “young boys and old men,” supported by an artillery battery of regulars, turned back a the ten-times-larger Federal forces.
The logistics of that defense are such that it is the destination of current “rides” of West Point cadets today. You will want to read about the battle at http://www.stauntonriverbattlefield.org/history.html
as well as at the site, on the kiosks along the trail.
If you enjoy following the history of “The War,” you can check out a driving map of the Federals’ route at-- http://www.civilwar-va.com/virginia/va-retreat/wilson-kautz.html
For the letterbox, find Roanoke Station: On Route 360, just east of the Roanoke (locally called Staunton) River, turn north on Rt. 607. Follow 607 about 6 miles to the hamlet of Randolph. There you will find the Roanoke Station Visitor’s Center. There is a letterbox hidden at Roanoke Station (see separate description.)
Across the road from the station is the trail to the bridge. The bridge is 0.8 miles from the station; you can bicycle to the letterbox site.
Alternately, you can go to the main Clover Center in Halifax County, view the exhibits there, and take a shorter route to the bridge that passes the Confederate artillery earthworks on the hill. An additional 0.8 miles will take you a second letterbox at Roanoke Station.
On Route 360, just be alert, because you are not going to the “Staunton River State Park,” but the “Staunton River Battlefield State Park.”
The bridge replaces the one defended by the Confederates in 1864. This one was built in 1902, but it is supported by the original stone piers, and the letterbox is hidden on one of them. Go to the southwest (Halifax County) side of the bridge. Climb along the southern edge of the bridge to the stone abutment. (Rains keep the bank steep, so stay close to the bridge, using the wire fencing as a hand-hold.) You should see the edge of the yellow lid under the iron support, sitting on the original stone pier.
There were 5000 Federals trying to reach that very spot in 1864. If you should hear 500 voices raised in a Rebel Yell, you might want to turn back. But whenever I have visited, the only threats were maybe poison ivy or a water snake catching the sun. With that in mind, remember that when you replace the box, be sure that a tiny edge of the yellow lid is visible. The next visitor would not want to reach under to where he cannot see, because some other of Mother Nature’s critters may also be visiting that spot. (I always like to make a bit of noise, so any critters have a chance to vacate, just in case they don’t feel hospitable.)