Lancaster Examiner and Herald

Wed, July 1, 1863
The Destruction Of The Susquehanna Bridge
The Fight At Wrightsville
Columbia, June 29, 11 A.M.
The grand bridge over the Susquehanna which was destroyed last night, was constructed in 1834 and cost $157,000. It was 5,629 feet long, fourteen feet above high water, built of all wood, and about forty feet wide; had two tracks, also, used for vehicles and foot passengers, and tow paths, the latter for the Susquehanna and Tide Water Canal.

The confliguation was a sublime sight, the entire length being on fire at once, with the buildings at Wrightsville and floating blasting timbers in the stream. The rebels were on the other bank and the adjacent hills, and crowds of males and females on this side glaring at the sight. The fire department here was in service constantly to save the eastern end of the bridge, but it was useless. Soldiers, citizens, and freeman labored together, also the Philadelphia City Troop. The troop acted splendidly in the fight. The only Columbia volunteers in the fight were fifty-three negros, who after making entrenchments with the soldiers, took muskets and fought bravely.

The retreat of the troops, the firing of the bridge, and the shell and shot falling into the river, created a panic here, and the skedaddle continued during the night as the shelling of the town was anticipated.

Colonel Frick and Major Haller had artillery posted at different points on the bank, under Lieutenant Ridgeway, to use a necessary. Major Haldman, of Columbia, as a volunteer aid, acted nobly. We had no artillery in the entrenchments. Before the fight piles of lumber and empty freight cars were placed in Wrightsville to check the enemy, and were successful. The rebel force was about eight thousand, consisting of infantry, artillery, and a regiment of cavalry. Thep played upon us with six pices of artillery. Companies A, G, E, C, and L, of Colonel Thonas' Regiment are missing and beleaved to be captured. Compines B, F, and H, were in the fight but safe. D, I, K, and M, are with the Colonel at Bainbridge. The quartermaster , with about two hundred'men, is in Lancaster; among them Sergeant Evans and seven of Company C. Caption March was wounded in the leg and arm slighty. Lieutenant Colonel Sickles and one Lieutenant are reported captured.

The engagement commenced by skirmishing on the left, on the railroad, between a small squad and fiftey rebal dismouted cavalry. Major Knox was there and narrowly escaped being hit. Our squad fell back to the entrenchments fighting. Half an hour afterwards the pickets on the turnpike, a mile from the entrenchments, were attacked and retired, followed by the enemy.

I n a few moments three pieces of artillery were planted on the pike, about five hundred yards from the entrenchments, and three in a feild to the right. At the same time it was discovered that we were flanked on both sides. Our forces engaged comprized the 27th Regiment, three companies of the 20th, an independent Maryland company, detachments of convaleecents, Caption Walker's company of the 26th, and a nergo company. The rebal artillery fire was continuous, the shells bursting within the entrenchments. After a gallent defence without artillery, the order fir retreat was given, and and in good order, we retired, the enemy's cavalry followong to the bridge entrance, and shells bursting all around. the colors formerly of the 129th Pennsylvaniawaved during the fight, and small flags were waving here and there along the lines. Nothing was lost except a few tents, rations, and entrenching tools.

The order from Harrisburg to prevent the rebals from crossing was imperative, and the destruction of the bridge was absolutely neccessary.

The first toll-home on the York turnpike was within the centre of the entrenchments. Caption Smith, Company A, 27th Regiment, narrowly escaped a shell, and and Company E, covered the retreat magnifcently. Serg't Steadman was surrouned, but escaped. The rebel loss is unknown, but several were seen to fall.

At noon on Saturday, Colonel Jenning's regiment was at York Springs, Fourteen miles north of Hanover, retreating towards Harrisburg. The rebals were close on eight abreast with a large wagon train. General Ewell knows the country, having formerly visited here.

On Saturday four companies of Thomas' regiment were attacked by two hundred mounted rifliemen at a bridge eight below York but they drove the enemy back. Subsequently, however, they were reported captured.

Since the above was in type three companies have arrived in Lancaster, and will report to Col. Thomas at Bainbridge.