War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0467 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

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sent back for buckets to endeavor to arrest the flames, but before they arrive, the fire had progressed so far that it was impossible to arrest it. He had, therefore to return, and leave the bridge to its fate. This bridge was one mile and a quarter in length, the superstructure being of wood, on stone pillars, and it included in one structure a railroaded bridge, a pass-way for wagons, and also a tow-path for the canal. which here crosses the Susquehanna. The brigade was entirely consumed, and from in the town of Wrightsville caught fire and several buildings were consumed, but the further progress of the flames was arrested by the exertions of Gordon's men. I regretted very much the failure to secure this bridge, as, finding the defenseless condition of the country generally, and the little obstacle likely to be afforded by the militia to our progress, I had determined, if I could get possession of the Columbia Bridge, to cross my division over the Susquehanna, and cut the Pennsylvania Central Railroad, march upon Lancaster, lay that town under contribution, and then attack Harrisburg in the rear while it should be attacked in front by the rest of the corps. relying, in the worst contingency that might happen, upon being able to mount my division from the immense number of horses that had been run across the river, and then move to the west, destroying the railroads and canals, and returning back again to a place of safety. This project, however, was entirely thwarted by the destruction of the bridge, as the river was otherwise impassable, being very wide and deep at this point. I therefore ordered General Gordon to move his command back to York next day, and returned to that place myself that night. Colonel White succeeded in reaching Hanover Junction and destroying the depot and also one or two brigades in the vicinity, but he did not, however, destroy all the bridges between that point and York, as he reported that one or two of them were defended by an infantry force. Colonel French succeeded in destroying the bridges at the mouth of the Conewago, and all the brigades from that point to York, and I sent him to destroy the remaining brigades over the Codorus, between York and Hanoer Junction, which he succeeded in doing, any force which may previously have been defending them having disappeared. I found no public stores at this place. A few prisoners found in the hospital t York, with 19 captured by Gordon at Wrightsville, railroad buildings and two car manufactories, as well as the hospital buildings, were not burned, because, after examination, I was satisfied that the burning of them would cause the destruction of the greater, part of the town, and, notwithstanding the barbarous policy pursued by the enemy in similar cases, I determined to forbear in this case, hopping that in might not be without its effect even upon cruel enemy. This example has been lost upon the Yankees, however, as so far from appreciating the forbearance shown, I am informed that it has been actually charged by some of their papers that Gordon's command fired the town of Wrightsville, whereas the exertions of his men saved the place from utter destruction. On the evening of the 29th, I received, through Captain Elliott Johnston, aide to General Ewell, a copy of a note from General Lee, and also verbal instructions, which required me to move back, so as to rejoin the rest of the corps on the western side od the South Mountain, and accordingly, at daylight on the morning of the 30th, I put my whole command in motion, moving by Weigelsown and East Berlin