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Wrightsville in York County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Burning the Wrightsville Bridge

River Towns - Civil War Trails

 
 
Burning the Wrightsville Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 27, 2010
1. Burning the Wrightsville Bridge Marker
Inscription. By late June 1863, the Confederate Army had invaded Pennsylvania. After capturing York, the Rebels planned to take the state capital, Harrisburg, and possibly Philadelphia. To get there, they would need to cross the Susquehanna River at Wrightsville. Pennsylvania militiamen from Columbia, on the Lancaster County side of the river, vowed to block the Confederate advance. Union troops joined them, as did a company of African American militiamen. They mustered fewer than 1,500 men.

When Confederate Brigadier General John Brown Gordon arrived on June 28 with approximately 1,800 troops, the Federals were waiting in their entrenchments. The Rebels opened up with artillery fire, and the Union position rapidly became untenable. The Federals decided to retreat to Columbia and blow up a section of the over mile-long bridge behind them, denying the Rebels access to Lancaster. The explosions failed to destroy the bridge, so the order to burn it was given. As the Confederates surged forward, the bridge erupted in flames. Gordon's men worked for hours to extinguish the blaze. They kept Wrightsville from going up in smoke, but the bridge was destroyed. Gordon's Brigade was recalled to York the next day. The Pennsylvania militia had saved Lancaster.
 
Erected by Pennsylvania Civl War Trails.
 
Marker series.
Burning the Wrightsville Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 27, 2010
2. Burning the Wrightsville Bridge Marker
This marker is included in the Pennsylvania Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 40° 1.72′ N, 76° 31.698′ W. Marker is in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, in York County. Marker is at the intersection of Walnut Street and North Front Street, on the right when traveling west on Walnut Street. Touch for map. Located in a parking area at the end of Walnut Street, next to a riverside trail. Marker is in this post office area: Wrightsville PA 17368, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The River: a Corridor and a Barrier (a few steps from this marker); Wrightsville's Lime Kilns (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Gettysburg Campaign (approx. 0.2 miles away); Veterans Memorial Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wrightsville (approx. 0.2 miles away); American Legion Monument (approx. mile away); Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal (approx. 0.3 miles away); Springetsbury Manor (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wrightsville.
 
More about this marker. In the center are wartime drawings of the action described in the text. The upper illustration shows ... the Burning of the Wrightsville Bridge. The lower drawing shows Chaos in Wrightsville as the bridge burns in the background.
 
Also see . . .
Wrightsville Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 27, 2010
3. Wrightsville Bridge
The piers of the wartime bridge still stand in river just upstream of the modern highway bridge.
 Buring of the Wrightsville Bridge. Historian Scott Mingus discusses the burning of the bridge in part five of his seven part tour of Wrightsville on Gettysburg Daily. (Submitted on June 12, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Wrightsville Bank and Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 27, 2010
4. Wrightsville Bank and Bridge
Looking from the marker location downstream at the bridge. The older piers are better seen in this view.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 12, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,809 times since then and 133 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 12, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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