As many of you are aware, my passion for Civil War miniature wargaming was sparked by my childhood love for playing mock battles in the sandbox under my Dad’s apple trees. Marx, Lido, MPC, Lido, Britains, Swoppets, Tim Mee, and other plastic warriors staged many a fight. Over the years, I have also acquired an interest in Civil War dioramas (well frankly, any historical dioramas), and have previously posted on this blog some thoughts on some of my favorite public miniature displays, as well as one of the largest private dioramas.
One that I have not previously discussed here is a different kind of diorama. Instead of a sweeping battle vista filled with hundreds or thousands of miniature soldiers, this particular diorama is more of an architectural rendition, but because it pertains to one of the ACW fights here in York County, PA, I wanted to share it with the readership.
One of the more obscure actions during the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign was the defense and subsequent burning of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge, at the time, the world’s longest covered bridge. Confederate forces under John B. Gordon attacked entrenched Union militia, which hastily withdrew and torched the bridge behind them to eliminate any Rebel pursuit.
A small diorama of the town of Wrightsville and its horseshoe-shaped defenses was created a few years ago and is housed in a tiny, obscure museum in Wrightsville, about 45 minutes east of Gettysburg via U.S. Route 30. This diorama faithfully depicts the village’s streets, the broad Susquehanna River (more than a mile and a quarter in width), the steep banks of Kreutz Creek, the entrenchments and rifle pits (many of which were erected by college students from what is now Millersville University and Franklin & Marshall), the turnpike, and the rolling hills.
The little museum also contains artifacts of the Civil War and local history, and is open by appointment or during lublic hours (usually Sunday afternoons from 1 until 4 March through November). Here is their website for more information.