Historical ‘ambush’ re-enacted at Pioneer Museum

Published 3:00 am Friday, May 15, 2015

The re-enactment of the “Ambush at Hobdy’s Bridge” Saturday and Sunday at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama will be an opportunity to learn more about Pike County and Alabama history. And, a part of history of which few people are aware, said Bob McLendon, event coordinator and member of Pvt. Augustus Braddy Camp 385, an event sponsor.

“People often know more about the history of other places than the history of own community,” McLendon said. “The ambush that took place at Hobdy’s Bridge is a slice of history that few people know about but one that has significance for Alabama and Pike County.”

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama will host the 150th anniversary of the “Ambush at Hobdy’s Bridge this weekend, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 until 5 p.m. on Sunday. The re-enactment of the “Ambush at Hobdy’s Bridge” will be at 2:30 both days.

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Authentic re-enactors will portray Union and Confederate soldiers, including mounted cavalry. There will also be authentic camps and other living history displays.

McLendon will present a historical account of the “ambush” beginning at 2 p.m. and everyone is invited to take the opportunity to know more about the event.

“Most historians believed for years that the last death in the Civil War was at Palmitto Ranch in Texas on May 13, 1865,” McLendon said. “However, further research has determined that the last death in the war actually took place at Hobdy’s Bridge in Pike County six days after the fight at Palmitto. This fact gives Pike County and Hobdy’s Bridge a footnote in history.”

McLendon said that, after the formal surrender of the two main Confederate armies east of the Mississippi River, bands of former Confederate soldiers and “guerillas” were roaming South Alabama.

“In response, the 1st Florida Cavalry (United States) was sent north to base out of Montgomery,” McLendon said. “On May 11, 1865, a detachment of 25 men of the 1st Florida Cavalry was sent to escort mail from Montgomery to Eufaula. Some of the men were from the area and, when they reached Eufaula, Lt. Joseph Carroll gave the men a short leave to visit their families. He ordered the men to reunited with him at Hobdy’s Bridge on May 19.”

McLendon said that, about May 17, Carroll learned that several bands of Confederate guerillas were active in the area.

“He headed back to Montgomery with the others to follow,” McLendon said. “On May 19, those left behind assembled at Hobdy’s Bridge on their route back to Montgomery. As they crossed the bridge, they were ambushed by Confederate guerillas. No official unit, if there even was one, has been identified as the attacking force.”

Killed in the ambush was Corporal John W. Skinner of Co. C, 1st Florida Cavalry (US). Skinner was a native of Alabama and had originally been a Confederate soldier. As a result, a former Alabama Confederate soldier, while serving in a Florida Union regiment in Alabama, was officially the last man killed in the Civil War.

The “Ambush at Hobdy’s Bridge” Saturday and Sunday will re-enact the historical event.

Admission to the “Ambush at Hobdy’s Bridge” will be $6 and will also include admission to the Pioneer Museum and to the Conecuh River Depot Military Museum.

“Ambush at Hobdy’s Bridge” is sponsored by the Pvt. Augustus Braddy Camp 385, Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Elizabeth Buford Bashinsky Chapter 236, United Daughters of the Confederacy and is supported by the Alabama Division.