Civil War Then and Now: Burnside’s Bridge 4 at Antietam
A “then and now” photograph of Burnside’s Bridge at Antietam National Battlefield, high on the hill west of Antietam Creek, looking east.
Originally opened in 1836, this tiny bridge near Sharpsburg, Maryland played a key role in the September 1862 Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War. My image was taken at approximately the same spot as the famous Civil War photographerAlexander Gardner, as he stood capturing one of the most iconic photos of the bridge (shown left above and first below).
The view that defending Confederate soldiers would have had as Union Major General Burnside’s troops attempted to cross the bridge. Burnside’s 12,000 men were held at bay by about 450 to 500 Georgians perched on these bluffs overlooking the bridge. Eventually the bridge was seized by General Burnside, after being delayed for several hours well beyond what had been expected. The tree sitting next to the bridge (not visible in Gardner’s photo) was in existence at the time of the battle and is known as the Burnside Sycamore “witness tree,” it now stands as a living memorial to the brave soldiers who fought here on that day.
Inspired by Gardner, a modern day view of Burnside’s Bridge from the east side of Antietam Creek, as seen from down on the water.
Did you know?
Burnside’s Bridge is one of the most photographed bridges of the Civil War.