Alabama Civil War Site: Woodall’s Bridge April 7, 1864

Skirmish at Woodall’s Bridge
April 7, 1864

An estimated 600 Confederate and Union troops skirmished on this site on April 7, 1864 for control of crucial troop movements south of the Tennessee River during the Federal occupation of North Alabama.

James Holt Clanton was born in 1827 in Georgia, but his family moved to Alabama in 1835. After finishing school, Clanton went to the University of Alabama. He served as a private in the Mexican War and returned to become an attorney in Montgomery, Alabama.

Confederate Brigadier General James Holt Clanton led forces based in Danville against a Federal cavalry from the garrison at Decatur for control of Woodall’s Bridge.

The bridge was the primary route for east-west movement in Morgan County after an important river bridge at Decatur was burned two years earlier. Troops needed access to Woodall’s Bridge to move across the county and defend their picket positions.

The Confederate strength was initially 40 men, with another 200 becoming engaged. The Union forces were estimated at 350 men. The Confederates chased the Union cavalry back to Decatur after the skirmish.

The next day smaller cavalry units of both forces skirmished on this site with the Confederates again chasing the Union forces back towards Decatur.