Etowah River Bridge
Etowah Railroad Bridge
All that remains of this key bridge are the stone pillars.
Completed in the mid-1840's, the Western and Atlantic Railroad bridge over the Etowah River burned six times by the end of the War Between the States. In late May, 1864, it was destroyed a day after being rebuilt by retreating Confederate forces as Sherman's troops advanced to the western end of the Allatoona Mountains during the Atlanta Campaign. When John B. Hood began moving north on the Nashville Campaign (October, 1864) after the loss of Atlanta he burned the bridge again.

This bridge was a major target of Andrew's Raiders, during the Great Locomotive Chase. An engine, the Yonah, sat on tracks near the bridge waiting to pick up a shipment from the Cooper Iron Works nearby. Andrews decided not to destroy the bridge because of the proximity of the engine, although recent heavy rains would have made it difficult for the wooden structure to burn. This decision was costly for the raiders. Unaware that the crew of the General was already in pursuit, they left the Yonah, which Fuller, Murphy and Cain used to continue the chase.

While the pillars were in use they would have had about twelve feet of wood on top of the stone to "cushion" the tracks, visible in the photo below. As Sherman left Cartersville on November 12, 1864 to start his "March to the Sea," (see After Atlanta for more information) the bridge was burned by his troops to prevent its use after he left. After the war the bridge was rebuilt and remained in use until the railroad bed was moved and a modern trestle was built west of the old bridge.

Photo of Western and Atlantic Railroad bridge in 1864
Bridge in 1864
Taken from the high point just west of the bridge.
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Location: Etowah River, just west of Allatoona Dam
Directions: North on Ga. 293 from Emerson, turn Right on River Road. Go under the Highway 41 Bridge. The remains are on the right, next to Riverside Park.
Additional information:

Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: December 7, 2003

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Cooper's Iron Works

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