Union troops retreating from York joined them, as did a company of African American militiamen.
They mustered fewer than 1, men. When Confederate Brigadier General John Brown Gordon arrived on June 28 with approximately 1, 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. They kept Wrightsville from going up in smoke, but the bridge was destroyed. The Pennsylvania militia had saved Lancaster.
The railroad utilized two bridge building companies, Pencoyd Iron Works and Edgemoor Bridge Works, each with a responsibility to simultaneously build one-half of the bridge across the Susquehanna River. Competition and the fear of being the company that lags behind in holding up its end of the schedule are significant motivating factors. Divide and conquer was used successfully on many railroad building projects; the most notable the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.
However this method to accelerate construction was also used on many smaller projects; such as the competition between the Delta track-laying crew and the Bel Air track-laying crew to see which could lay the most track in completing the Maryland Central Railroad in During the Civil War, Union forces burned the wooden covered bridge in , between Wrightsville and Columbia, to prevent advancing Confederate troops from crossing the Susquehanna River.
For the next several years, ferry service was the only means of traveling across the Susquehanna River at this location.
From that point, the story is picked up in an article within the trade publication The Railway and Engineering Review. The Pennsylvania Railroad Co.
The bridge forms a portion of the York branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad running from a connection with the main line at Columbia to York, Pa. All the wooden trusses except the ft. The masonry was not seriously damaged. It was decided to rebuild the bridge with Pratt truss steel spans designed to carry a single track railroad below and a highway on the upper chord.
In re-constructing the bridge the two iron spans near the center of the river were removed and replaced with one span ft. The original masonry was of rubble laid in lime mortar. The piers were quite massive, but the stone used was small.
The original piers had been replaced from time to time as it became necessary to renew them, until at the time the bridge was destroyed there remained only eight of the original rubble piers. These were all taken down to the foundation level and rebuilt with first class ashlar work.
The total length of the new superstructure is 5, ft. Contracts for the construction of the new spans were placed on the 22nd of January , fourteen spans being ordered from the Pencoyd Iron Works, and thirteen spans from the Edgemoor Bridge Works.
The contracts required these two companies to complete the erection on or before the first day of July Before the contracts were closed it was thought advisable to modify the original plan so as to provide temporarily to carry both the highway and the railroad across on the lower floor, the design being slightly modified for this purpose. The upper deck of the bridge was therefore not completed, but will be utilized for highway purposes at some future time.
The Columbia–Wrightsville Bridge, officially the Veterans Memorial Bridge, spans the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. By late June , the Confederate Army had invaded Pennsylvania. After capturing York, the Rebels planned to take the state capital, Harrisburg, and possibly.
The two bridge companies took the field and unloaded their first material on the ground about March The Edgemoor Company started to raise iron on their first span on April 16, while the Pencoyd Company did not begin to raise iron until about April The Edgemoor Company swung their thirteenth and last span on the 7th of May, and the Pencoyd Company swung their fourteenth and last span on the 11th of May. The entire superstructure was therefore erected in twenty-one working days. The shortest time consumed in the erection of one span was eight and one-half working hours.