Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

“Why Burnside's Bridge?”

 
 
"Why Burnside's Bridge?" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2007
1. "Why Burnside's Bridge?" Marker
Inscription. Ever since the battle the Lower Bridge has been Burnside Bridge.

Confederate Colonel Douglas was a native of Sharpsburg, and familiar with Antietam Creek. After the war he wrote:
"Go look at it and tell me if you don't think Burnside and his corps might have executed a hop, skip, and jump and landed on the other side. One thing is certain, they might have waded it that day without getting their waist belts wet in any place. Why Burnside's Bridge? Is it sarcasm?"

The 51st New York and 51st Pennsylvania captured the Lower Bridge about 1 p.m. The Union Ninth Corps spent the next two hours preparing for the final assault on Sharpsburg:
"The troops commenced crossing and a continuous stream of infantry and artillery poured over the bridge during the afternoon."

By 3 p.m. Ninth Corps was ready:
"All except our second division were sent forward and attacked the enemy's right flank, which if done earlier in the day, when the enemy's left and center were engaged, might have destroyed Lee's army."
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. 39° 27.047′ N, 77° 43.898′ W. Marker is near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Old Burnside Bridge Road, on the left
Marker and Monuments on the East End of Burnside Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2007
2. Marker and Monuments on the East End of Burnside Bridge
The "Why Burnside Bridge?" interpretive marker stands in front of the monuments for the 21st and 35th Massachusetts Infantry.
when traveling east. Touch for map. Located to the east of stop 9 (Burnside Bridge) of the driving tour of Antietam Battlefield, along the walking trail east of the bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Bridge of Destiny (here, next to this marker); 21st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (here, next to this marker); 35th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (here, next to this marker); We Showered the Lead Across that Creek (here, next to this marker); 2nd Maryland Infantry (a few steps from this marker); 51st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (a few steps from this marker); Witness to History (within shouting distance of this marker); Ninth Army Corps (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sharpsburg.
 
More about this marker. In the upper left is a portrait of "Colonel Henry Kyd Douglas, C.S.A." In the lower left is a photo of Burnside Bridge from the west, near the Confederate defender's lines, taken by Alexander Gardner or James F. Gibson on September 21, 1862 (days after the battle). On the right a section of a painting of Union Captain James Hope depicts the attack that secured the bridge.
 
Regarding "Why Burnside's Bridge?".
The Lower or Burnside Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2007
3. The Lower or Burnside Bridge
According to the Historic American Building Survey, the bridge including abutments is just over 190 feet. All told the creek at this point is about 125 feet wide.
This marker was replaced by another named Bridge of Destiny (See nearby markers).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Virtual Tour of Markers near Burnside Bridge, Antietam Battlefield
 
Also see . . .  Burnside's Bridge - Photo Tour. The caption for photo two makes a very important counter-point to Col. Douglas' remarks. Just simply crossing a body of water is not sufficient for military purposes, a military formation must be able to fight as a cohesive unit before, during, and after the crossing. (Submitted on March 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,864 times since then and 74 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
Paid Advertisement