A few weekends ago my girls and I took most of Saturday for leisure and site seeing. We made our way up to Rickwood Caverns near Empire, AL, which is not very far from where we live . Then we took out from there to make the long way back home. My intended route was to swing back through Double Springs, AL in Winston County (known to Civil War history buffs and students as the “Free State of Winston“) to grab some photo’s of the soldier monument out front of their court house. The last leg of the trip was planned for downtown Jasper, AL to see and photograph the Confederate memorial that stands in their courthouse square as well. As circumstance would have it we got rained out and didn’t make either of the last two stops.
However, en route to Double Springs, I noticed a set of flags (one American and one Rebel) flying from a rudimentary yet adequate sign displaying the words Civil War Park & Museum. Intrigued, I turned around and followed the arrow, and subsequent indicators, all the way out to an unlined, single lane road where we happened upon an old log cabin, a couple of homes, and a few other buildings sitting atop a knoll overlooking the Crooked Creek. Various Confederate flags, both official and unofficial, as well as the American flag were hoisted about the property and flying proudly. Little did I know we had stumbled upon the very ridge where skirmishes transpired as Union forces attempted to ford the Crooked Creek while running from Confederate Calvary.
This was one of several skirmishes that commenced during Streight’s Raid as a result of a chase begun at the Battle of Day’s Gap and continued across Alabama in late April of 1863. The following information from Wikipedia about the battle of Day’s Gap explains:
On April 30 at Day’s Gap on Sand Mountain, Forrest caught up with Streight’s expedition and attacked his rear guard. Streight’s men managed to repulse this attack and as a result they continued their march to avoid any further delays and envelopments caused by the Confederate troops.
This battle set off a chain of skirmishes and engagements at Crooked Creek (April 30), Hog Mountain (April 30), Blountsville (May 1), Black Creek/Gadsden (May 2), and Blount’s Plantation (May 2). Finally, on May 3, Forrest surrounded Streight’s exhausted men three miles east of Cedar Bluff, Alabama, and forced their surrender. They were sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. Streight and some of his men escaped on February 9, 1864.
Meandering the back roads to the battle site at Crooked Creek, we also noted state provided recreational signs indicating a covered bridge in the vicinity. We swung by on our way out, as you will see in the photos below. It was a beautifully preserved covered bridge form 1904. The grounds were nicely kept and surrounded by densely wooded hills and hollers, with a nice open picnic area near the shore line.
The property at Crooked Creek is now owned by a Mr. Wise and consists of various buildings and camp sites, including his home and the museum. The museum, housed in a former railroad depot, contains his private collection of civil war artifacts. Proudly commemorating the war between the States, Mr. Wise uses the facilities as a platform for displaying the wealth of items he has gathered and traded for over the years. Pictures of our visit below included many of the artifacts and displays one can see when visiting the site. Mr. Wise is very friendly and informative, even insisting that we hold or touch various items, including actual civil war era guns. The girls loved that!