5 votes

Burnside's Bridge


Burnside Bridge at Antietam Battlefield

Photo taken by J. Bearden

View this photo at panoramio.com

BH Photo #266936


Burnside's Bridge is a landmark on the Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Crossing over Antietam Creek, the bridge played a key role in the September 1862 Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War when a small number of Confederate soldiers from Georgia for several hours held off repeated attempts by elements of the Union Army to take the bridge by force. Finally, the Federals seized it, but not before the attack had been delayed for several hours beyond what had been expected by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside. The bridge now bears Burnside's name.

Constructed in 1836[1] of area limestone and granite by local Dunker farmers, the three-arched, 12-foot (3.7 m)-wide, 125-foot (38 m)-long bridge provided a passageway over Antietam Creek for farmers to take their produce and livestock to market in Sharpsburg. It was originally named the Lower Bridge, as there were two others (Upper Bridge and Middle Bridge) upstream that also allowed movement of freight, animals, and people across the creek. The Lower Bridge took on the name Rohrbach's Bridge after a farmer, Henry Rohrbach, who lived near the structure.

After the war, the U.S. Government acquired the bridge and adjoining land. Vehicular traffic across the bridge was stopped and the original farm lanes allowed to grow over with grass. Foot traffic is still allowed across the structure, which remains as one of the most photographed bridges of the Civil War. ~ SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnside%27s_Bridge

The Burnside Bridge was built at a cost of $2,300 by John Weaver and was originally called the Rohersbach Bridge. In 1862 it gained lasting fame during The Battle of Antietam. A small force of Confederate riflemen held General Ambrose Burnside’s entire Army Corps at bay for over four hours, giving reinforcements from Harper’s Ferry time to reach General Lee. Every year thousands of visitors from all over the world cross the authentically restored 125-foot bridge, with its sand-and-gravel roadbed and wooden parapets. A large, carefully maintained sycamore “Witness Tree” overlooks the bridge, one of 16 “living witnesses” to momentous events on this and other Civil War battlefields. ~ SOURCE: http://bridges.marylandmemories.org/burnside.html

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-antietam-bur... SHARPSBURG, Md. (AP) — The National Park Services says it's closing the landmark Burnside Bridge at the Antietam National Battlefield for major repairs that will continue at least into next spring.

Park managers said Thursday they will close the bridge Friday for the $1.7 million preservation project.

Problems surfaced in January 2014 when some stones from the bridge fell into Antietam Creek. Temporary repairs were made but the park service says its investigation revealed substantial deterioration and structural instability.


Stone arch bridge over Antietam Creek on Antietam National Battlefield
Washington County, Maryland
Open to pedestrian traffic on the battlefield
Future prospects
Closed for repairs Oct. 9, 2015; repairs expected to last into Spring 2016
Built 1836
- John Weaver
Stone arch
Length of largest span: 34.1 ft.
Total length: 107.0 ft.
Deck width: 11.5 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Antietam Creek Bridge
Rohrbach's Bridge
Burnside Bridge
Lower Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.45049, -77.73189   (decimal degrees)
39°27'02" N, 77°43'55" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/264931/4370332 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 19769 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 8, 2015: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Bridge closed for repairs, to last into 2016
  • February 23, 2015: Photo imported by Dave King
  • July 10, 2014: New photos from Andrew Raker
  • July 9, 2014: New photo from Andrew Raker
  • September 20, 2013: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • July 16, 2013: Updated by Jill Craig: Clarification of its location on the Antietam National Battlefield
  • December 3, 2011: Updated by J.P.: added Civil war Category
  • July 11, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added GPS.
  • December 19, 2010: Updated by Jodi Christman: Added builder and description and correct and alt. names



Burnside's Bridge
Posted December 25, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

A little "fun fact" about the man this bridge is named after:

Ambrose Burnside was well known for his misadventures in leadership during the Civil War, but it would be his unique facial hair extensions for which his name is associated..... sort of........

Burnside was flipped around to become side-burns.