Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Running Water Creek Bridge

Marker ID:  
Location: on J E Clouse Highway (State Highway 134) 2 miles east of Shellmound Road (State Highway 156), Whiteside, TN
County: Marion
Coordinates: N 35° 0.109    W 085° 30.7
  35.00181666    -85.51166666
Waymark: None


Running Water Creek Bridge
Chickamauga Campaign Heritage Trail

The Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad Bridge over Running Water Creek was a vital link in the rail connection between Nashville and Chattanooga. The retreating Confederate Army destroyed it in the summer of 1863.

The pursuing Federal Army expected to be able to use the bridge. Private William Miller, 75th Indiana Infantry, wrote in his journal on Sunday, August 30, "We started from camp about 10 o'clock and was ferried across on flats with the rest of our brigade and started up the river near the railroad toward Chattanooga. It was very dark and the road rough and rocky and hard marching. We were on the road all night and arrived at "White Side, ' or 'Running Water, ' about day light where we found the Rebels had burned the bridges. The bridge spanned the Valley from one mountain to the other and was covered and iron roofed. It is about one hundred and fifty feet high at [the]highest place...The bridge here cost a mint of money and serves the railroad and will take months to rebuild it so the cars can pass over and should we take Chattanooga our supplies would have to be carried over the mountains by wagons."

The Federal Army rebuilt the bridge. Chesley A. Mosman, with the 59th Illinois Infantry, wrote: "Orders came for our Company to go to the side of the railroad bridge as a guard for carpenters who are to rebuild the structure. The bridge is nearly a mile below camp and go we must, at once, so we packed up and started...We got to the bridge and arranged for the night...A contractor named Boomer of Chicago has the job of rebuilding the bridge and it must be completed in 40 days at the outside." The soldiers found uses for the sheet iron that had been used to cover the original bridge. Men utilize the old sheet iron from the wrecked bridge" Lieutenant Mosman continued, "as a rood for their huts and in a day or two Company d will be about as cozily housed as any men in the field service can be. It often sounded as if we had started a boiler yard from all the pounding that was going on."

"Two years ago today," Mosman recalled on November 9, "we left Springfield, Mo. for Syracuse, Mo..., but today we are condemned to work on the highway. Col. Grose had us build a platform for the trains. Trains came up the west side of the creek with knapsacks of some of our Brigade. We finished the platform and built a small bridge on the wagon road."

Lieutenant Mosman and the 59th Illinois Regiment, spent most of the winter at Whiteside. The railroad bridge over Running Water Creek was completed at a cost of $95,000.00 It was five hundred feet in length and ninety-five feet high, with the wooden trestle extending the length to 780 feet. It was one of the war's greatest feats of military engineering.

Erected by Chickamauga Campaign Heritage Trail.