previous next

[541] Hays's and Smith's brigades into camp at Lauck's mill near the railroad, some two miles north of the town. Hoke's brigade, under Avery was marched into the town and quartered in some extensive buildings put up for hospitals. I found General Gordon in the town, and repeated to him the directions to move to the Susquehanna and secure the Columbia bridge if he could, and he promptly moved his command in that direction. I then made a requisition upon the town authorities for 2,000 pairs of shoes, 1,000 hats, 1,000 pairs of socks, $100,000 in money, and three day's rations of all kinds for my men. Subsequently, between 1,200 and 1,500 pairs of shoes and boots, the hats, socks and rations were furnished and issued to the men, but only the sum of $28,600 in money was furnished, which was paid to my quartermaster, Major Snodgrass--the chief-burgess or Mayor and other authorities protesting their inability to raise any more money, as they said nearly all in the town had been previously run off, and I was satisfied that they had made an honest effort to raise the amount called for.

A short time before night I rode out in the direction of the Columbia bridge to ascertain the result of Gordon's expedition, and had not proceeded far before I saw an immense smoke rising in the direction of the Susquehanna, which I subsequently ascertained arose from the burning of the bridge in question. On arriving at Wrightsville, on the bank of the Susquehanna opposite Columbia, I learned from General Gordon that on approaching Wrightsville in front of the bridge he found a command of militia, some 1,200 strong, entrenched, and after endeavoring to move around the flank of this force to cut it off from the bridge, which he was unable to do promptly from want of knowledge of the locality, he opened his artillery on the militia, which fled at the bursting of the third shell, when he immediately pursued; but, as his men had then marched a little over twenty miles on a very warm day, the enemy beat them running. He, however, attempted to cross the bridge in pursuit and the head of his column got half-way over, but he found the bridge, which had been prepared for the purpose, on fire in the middle. As his men had nothing but muskets and rifles to operate with, he sent back for buckets to endeavor to arrest the flames, but before they arrived the fire had progressed so far that it was impossible to extinguish it; he had therefore been compelled to return and leave the bridge to its fate. This bridge was one and one-quarter miles in length, the superstructure being of wood on stone abutments and piers, and it included under one covered structure a railroad bridge, a passway for wagons, and also a tow-path for the canal which here crosses the river by means of locks and a dam below. The bridge was entirely consumed,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
David S. Gordon (3)
Snodgrass (1)
William Smith (1)
Robert F. Hoke (1)
Harry T. Hays (1)
Clark M. Avery (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: