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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

“Will You Give Us Our Wiskey?”

 
 
"Will You Give Us Our Wiskey?" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2007
1. "Will You Give Us Our Wiskey?" Marker
Inscription. Union Major General Ambrose Burnside's Ninth Corps was ready at 7 a.m. The order to attack came at 9 a.m.

1. One division spent the morning looking for the ford downstream.

2. At the bridge the 11th Connecticut Regiment made the first attack. They were pinned down at the creek bank.

3. Three Ohio regiments got lost in the woods and came out 300 yards too far upstream.

4. The 2nd Maryland, supported by the 6th New Hampshire, charged the bridge and sustained 44 percent casualties in 10 minutes.

5. The entire Union Ninth Corps was held up by 500 Georgia and a few South Carolina riflemen looking down onto bridge and creek.

6. Colonel Edward Ferraro was a teetotaler - he had disciplined the 51st Pennsylvania by taking away their whiskey ration. It was well after noon when he addressed the 51st New York and the 51st Pennsylvania Regiments:
"It is General Burnside's special request that the two 51st's take that bridge. Will you do it?"

A Pennsylvania soldier called out:
"Will you give us our whiskey, Colonel, if we make it?"

"Yes, by God!"

The two 51st's, New York on the left and Pennsylvania on the right,
..."charged up the road in column with fixed bayonets, and in scarcely more time than it takes to tell it the bridge was passed."

They
Close Up of the Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 29, 2008
2. Close Up of the Map
The north seeking arrow points to the right of the map. The numbers on the map correspond to Federal movements enumerated in the text.
got their whiskey.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. 39° 27.043′ N, 77° 43.896′ W. Marker is near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Old Burnside Bridge Road, on the left 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. We Showered the Lead Across that Creek ( here, next to this marker); 2nd Maryland Infantry ( here, next to this marker); Bridge of Destiny ( here, next to this marker); 35th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry ( here, next to this marker); 21st Massachusetts Volunteer 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. On the left is a map keyed to the numbered comments in the text. On the right is a Sketch by Edwin Forbes, Civil War combat artist. Forbes drew
Monuments and Markers at the East End of Burnside Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
3. Monuments and Markers at the East End of Burnside Bridge
On the left, closest to furthest, are the 21st Massachusetts Infantry Monument, 35th Massachusetts Infantry Monument, 2nd Maryland Infantry, and the 51st Pennsylvania Infantry Monuments. On the right are the "Give Us Our Whiskey" and the "Why Burnside Bridge" interpretive markers. In the background is a tablet cluster flanking the 51st New York Infantry Monument.
a small sycamore tree beside the bridge. Today the same tree is a patriarch shading the bridge and stream.

 
Regarding "Will You Give Us Our Wiskey?". This marker was replaced by a new one named We Showered the Lead Across that Creek (See nearby markers).
 
Also see . . .  Antietam Battlefield. National Park Service site. (Submitted on March 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Similar View of the Bridge Today image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
4. Similar View of the Bridge Today
The two regiments formed behind Nagle's Brigade, then rushed forward onto the bridge, side by side. Note the small tree in Forbes' drawing which stood next to the wall on the near side landing of the bridge. That tree has grown substantially, and survives as a witness to the battle, seen in the break of the stone wall at the bridge abutment.
Burnsides Bridge - Union view of the Approach image. Click for full size.
By Alexander Gardner
5. Burnsides Bridge - Union view of the Approach
This photograph taken two days after the battle, is from a similar angle to the modern photo above. Note the "witness tree" which stands on the near end of the bridge in this photograph. It still stands and has grown over the years.
The view in 1976 image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, July 1976
6. The view in 1976
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,120 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on March 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3. submitted on April 1, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on March 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5. submitted on April 28, 2008, by Dennis M. Sheron of Hudson, Indiana.   6. submitted on April 5, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.
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