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fear chased one another in our midst; hope that trains were running on that road, and fear that it, too, had been stopped by wash-outs. In the latter case it seemed to us that we should be compelled to return to Harrisburg and sit down to think with our Philadelphia brethren.
    The Cumberland Valley train took us to Hagerstown, and there the big and genial conductor told us it would stay, as it could not cross the Potomac to reach Martinsburg. We were twelve miles from the Potomac and twenty from Martinsburg. Fortunately, a construction train was going to the river to repair some small wash-outs, and Major Ives, the engineer of the Cumberland Valley Road, took us upon it, but he smiled pitifully when we told him we were going across the bridge.
    "'Why, man,' he said to the Times's correspondent, `the Potomac is higher than it was in 1877, and there's no telling when the bridge will go.'
    "At the bridge was a throng of country people waiting to see it go down, and wondering how many more blows it would stand from foundering canal-boats, washed out of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, whose lines had already disappeared under the flood. A quick survey of the bridge showed that its second section was weakening, and had already bent several inches, making a slight concavity on the upper side.

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen