Sachs Covered Bridge - Gettysburg, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 47.839 W 077° 16.577
18S E 305114 N 4407740
This covered bridge is dubbed as Pennsylvania's most historic covered bridge. It is probably the most haunted as well. The Confederate army bid a hasty adieu to Gettysburg and retreated over this bridge in July of 1863.
Waymark Code: WMHPHX
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 07/31/2013
Published By:Groundspeak Charter Member neoc1
Views: 15

"The Sachs Covered Bridge was built around 1852 at a cost of $1,544 and was about nine years old when the Civil War began and is one of three covered bridges remaining in Adams County. On July 1, 1863, the bridge was crossed by the two brigades of the I Corps of the Union Army heading towards Gettysburg. The III Corps also crossed the bridge heading to the Black Horse Tavern. Four days later, the majority of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia retreated over the bridge after the Union victory in the Battle of Gettysburg." SOURCE The infantry of Lee's army left the battlefield late on July 4, while the retreating wagons were still crossing the mountains at Cashtown. Portions of James Longstreet's First Corps tramped across the Sachs Bridge en route for the Fairfield Road (today's Route 116). Lee's army moved to Fairfield, where it divided and crossed the mountains through the passes at Fairfield and Monterey. SOURCE

Many people believe the bridge and area to be quite haunted. Full bodied apparitions, disembodied voices, cold spots and people being touched have been reported on more than one occasion from Sachs Bridge. One ghost story told about the bridge's haunted past includes three Confederate soldiers who deserted their unit, and were caught. It is believed that these three men were hung on this bridge as their punishment. An alternative explanation to the legend says there was three Confederate soldiers convicted of being spies were hanged from beams in the covered bridge, and Union soldiers patrolling the area discovered their bodies. Their spirits were said to haunt the bridge. Other reports had people claim they sometimes smelled General Lee smoking his pipe when they were standing on the bridge. SOURCE

I made a video of the bridge, conducting a walk-through starting from the southwest end and finishing at the northeast end. The video is hosted on YouTube and can be found HERE.

The bridge was designated Pennsylvania's "most historic bridge" in 1938 by the predecessor of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Department of Highways. After a plan in 1960 to replace the bridge, the Cumberland Township officials voted to close the bridge to vehicular traffic, while leaving it open to pedestrians, on May 9, 1968. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 25, 1980. SOURCE The bridge is also known as Sauck's Covered Bridge, Waterworks Covered Bridge & Sauches Covered Bridge.

The bridge construction is quite interesting. The type of bridge is called a Town Truss which looks like a lattice. A lattice bridge is a form of truss bridge that uses a large number of small and closely spaced diagonal elements that form a lattice. It was patented by Connecticut architect Ithiel Town in 1820 and 1835 as Town's lattice truss. I found the interior to be very interesting and quite unique. Be sure to look at the close-ups in the photo gallery. The truss design was developed by Ithiel Town of Connecticut and consists of wooden beams "crisscrossed" to form a lattice. The bridge was one of few remaining Town truss bridges in Pennsylvania. The bridge is 100 feet (30 m) long and 15 feet 4 inches (4.67 m) wide and it spans the Marsh Creek. The bridge has horizontal clapboard siding, a sheet metal roof, and wide diagonal floor planks

"On June 19, 1996, a flash flood knocked the bridge from one of its abutments and it incurred substantial damage; an iron bridge on the Marsh Creek was also heavily damaged and another destroyed. A $500,000 restoration on the bridge was already in progress before the flood; an additional $100,000 was raised to repair the damage incurred. The bridge was rededicated on July 21, 1997." SOURCE Over 75% of its original structure was used in the reconstruction and approximately 90% of the original wood was retained. In the reconstruction, the bridge was rebuilt by supporting the trusses with steel beams, and raising its elevation by three feet.

195 Water Works Rd
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Public access?:
No Restrictions - Just don't get run over by ghost traffic.

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Website about the location and/or story: [Web Link]

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