Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site PSR04: Mulberry Hill Plantation/Staunton River Battlefield State Park
During the battle of Staunton River Bridge in the summer of 1864, Mulberry Hill was commandeered for the Union headquarters and their field hospital. It is said that Mrs. McPhail, the lady of the house at the time, told the Union forces that there were more than 10,000 Confederate soldiers waiting for them along the river, although in fact there were little more than 600. In the end, the 600 triumphed over more than 5,000 Union troops and protected General Lee's supply line from the south. The Mulberry Plantation House still stands on its hillside perch looking out across the Staunton River floodplain, the battlefield and that famous bridge. The grounds of this historic plantation, now part of Staunton River Battlefield State Park, consist of a mosaic of woodland and open fields, with a small farm pond behind the house at the bottom of the hill. Numerous creeks flow through the woodlands to fill this pond and create an excellent venue for wildlife. Carefully check the pond for wintering waterfowl and the occasional wood duck. Listen as the woodlands resound with the sounds of eastern wood-pewee and summer tanager each summer and broad-winged hawks soar past overhead. The fields and overgrown gardens of the plantation also attract numerous butterflies including great spangled fritillaries, red-spotted purples and silver-spotted skippers.
From the Scenic Portion of Staunton River, continue northeast on Rt. 746/Mt. Laurel Road for 0.5 miles to Rt. 607. Bear right and head east for 2.8 miles to Rt. 641. Turn left and go north 1.0 miles to the plantation on the right.