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Burnside's Bridge, Sharpsburg

#3 of 10 in Things to do in Sharpsburg
Must see · Bridge · Landmark
Burnside's Bridge is a landmark on the Civil War Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, northwestern Maryland.
ConstructionSeeking to improve connections between roads in Washington County, fourteen bridges were commissioned to be constructed. It is one of five bridges designed by master bridge builder John Weaver, its construction was completed 1836. It was constructed by local Dunker farmers. The three-arched, 12ft-wide, 125ft-long bridge provided a passageway over Antietam Creek for farmers to take their produce and livestock to market in Sharpsburg. The bridge's three arches are constructed of locally sourced coursed limestone, masonry walls contain the roadbed and has wooden parapets. The original cost of construction was $3200 (now between $73,000 and $84,000.)
The bridge has two other names, one is "Rohrbach's Bridge", after a local farmer Henry Rohrbach who lived nearby. The second name, "Lower Bridge" is in reference to the Upper Bridge and Middle Bridge located further upstream that also allowed movement of freight, animals, and people across the creek.
Battle of AntietamCrossing over Antietam Creek, the bridge played a key role in the September 1862 Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War when around 500 Confederate soldiers from Georgia under General Robert Toombs and Henry Benning, for several hours held off repeated attempts by elements of the Union Army's IX Army Corps, whose leader was Major General Ambrose E. Burnside, to take the bridge.
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233 reviews
  • The guide said almost all the rocks making up this bridge are original to the battle. That I could touch the very stones where so many were wounded and died was powerful. Over 500 casualties occurred....  more »
  • Wow! So much to see, and Burnside Bridge was quite a sight to see. You can just picture the day the troops approach the bridge! Just wow!  more »
  • The path from the parking lot is being worked on but it was still super easy to get down to the bridge itself. A friendly volunteer was chatting up guests about the history. Everything was clean and the plaques have helpful diagrams so you can really understand where everything was happening that day. Our favorite stop of the driving tour.
  • OMG...I finally got to see it and walk across this iconic landmark from History. I am a student of history and have read and seen various documentaries about the Battle of Antietam and am aware of the pivotal role that this bridge played, but to see in person and walk across it humbled me more than I expected. The bridge has been rebuilt recently but only the mortar is new. Every single original stone was replaced in its exact original location. For me this was truly Hallowed Ground. Just to see this made the whole trip worth it.

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