Folck's Mill Covered Bridge
WORLD GUIDE #
A unique covered bridge crossed Evitts Creek on the historic Baltimore Pike at Wolfe Mill, Maryland, east of Cumberland.
Folck's Mill Covered Bridge over Evitts Creek on the Baltimore Pike.
"This photograph is part of the Herman and Stacia Miller Collection and has been printed courtesy of the Mayor and City Council of Cumberland, Maryland."
An article in the Evening Times, Cumberland, MD, April 7, 1894 provides some detail about Folck's Mill Bridge:¹
A New Bridge Will Have to be Built. Last Tuesday afternoon after the regular meeting of the board of county commissioners at the instigation of President David P. Miller of the board, all the members took a trip out the Baltimore Pike for the purpose of examining the old covered bridge which crosses Evitt's Creek near Faulk's [Folck's] Mill.
Several complaints have been made to the commissioners about the bridge, and President Miller today informed a TIMES reporter that they found the bridge in a very dilapidated and apparently unsafe condition. The road supervisor was notified and he had the top and a portion of the floor removed.
Upon a close examination it was found that the bridge cannot be repaired except at a considerable expense. The old bridge was condemned twenty years ago, but was never substantially repaired. It was built in the year 1818, consequently it is among the oldest landmarks in Western Maryland.
A new bridge is absolutely necessary and it is probable that in the near future a beautiful iron bridge will replace the old wooden structure. Mr. Miller examined the bridge again last evening and says it is almost irreparable.
The bridge was the scene of a Civil War battle, well documented, known as Folck's Mill, on August 1, 1864.
John Folck owned a grist mill, saw mill, cooper shop and farm in the general area where the battle took place. Nearby was a toll booth on the Baltimore Pike, just ahead of the covered bridge over Evitts Creek. General Lee's Confederate army was marching toward Cumberland, westward, on the Baltimore Pike. They were unaware that the Union army was awaiting their arrival, quietly hidden near Folck's Mill. Civil War historian Joseph Topinka describes what took place on the day of the battle:
Local townsmen took up arms and headed out of town as the "Potomac Home Brigade Home Militia" under the command of Charles Mynn Thruston of Washington Street. The 156th Ohio headed out to meet the Confederates also, but they were untried, 100 day troops ready to muster out of service. The only veterans present were three artillery crews of the 1st Illinois Battery, who also headed out of town and placed their guns on top the hill west of Puccini's Restaurant (The George Hinkle House). The rest of the untested troops deployed on both sides of the cannons and dug in for the fight that they knew was coming. Suddenly, the moment of truth had come, it was 3 o'clock and the Confederates were marching west. The first few hundred Confederates had crossed the covered bridge at Evitt's Creek when the Union forces opened fire on them at point blank range. The Confederates scrambled for cover behind the bridge and at the home of George Hinkle as well as several buildings behind John Folck's Mill, just north of Hinkle's place. They began to return the fire and, after a long period of fighting, almost captured the left (northern) side of the posted union troops with their sharpshooters deploying ever close on the ridge.
The Confederates had four cannons posted near to where the (current) Rt.220 bridge crosses over Interstate 68. They were commanded by a Texan named John McClanahan. The rebel artillery was very good, but the Union soldiers were entrenched on high enough ground which rendered the Confederate fire almost ineffective. After six hours of fighting back and forth, darkness stopped the battle.
From Harold L. Scott, Sr., The Battle of Folck's Mill:
A squadron of the enemy cavalry appeared about 3:00 p.m. near Folck's Mill. A portion of them crossed the covered bridge at that place and came within range of the muskets at Kelley's forces. At this juncture the artillery on the heights opened fire upon them, which was the first intimation they (the Rebels) had of the presence of Kelley's command. After their recovery from the surprise they took shelter behind the bridge, Folck's Mill, house, barn, etc., and from this cover their sharpshooters opened a galling fire upon Kelley's artillery.
Casualties for the Southern Army numbers 8 dead, about 30 wounded, leaving 2 wagons and a large amount of ammunition. The Northern troops lost 1 soldier and had 1 wounded. The Confederates retreated to the Potomac, near Oldtown and crossed the river into Virginia.
UPDATED: 04/15/2013, for newspaper article about the date the bridge was built and the demise of the bridge.
UPDATED: 04/22/2010, for number of spans and addition of photograph.
¹ Article information provided by Linda Burns.