Lower Bridge At Antietam Creek
At the Lower Bridge, also known as Burnside Bridge, across Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, MD, a group of about 300 to 500 Confederate troops held off a Union advance of a few thousand men for approximately 3 hours during the Battle at Antietam.
The Confederates held the high ground and, from their position, they held a commanding view of advancing Union troops as they tried to get up to the bridge to cross it. This view is the same that the advancing Union soldiers had, while trying to dodge bullets from the Confederates shooting at them from their left flank on the other side of the creek.
Eventually the Yanks made it across the bridge, after many casualties, and forced the Rebs back across the fields. Just when it looked like the Confederates right flank was about to collapse, a Southern light division arrived from Harpers Ferry and drove the Union soldiers back to the Creek.
Antietam was the bloodiest single day battle of the American Civil War. The battle lasted for twelve hours and nearly 100,000 men were involved and over 23,000 were either killed, wounded or became missing. This was more than the combined total of the American Revolution War, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.
The encounter at Lower Bridge was just one of several that took place that day. All within about three miles of each other. All at the same time or where overlapping, creating one large battle in different areas.
Next week we’ll take a look at another sight where a natural defense became a death trap…