Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bridges Over the Antietam

Before I get to the fighting around Burnside's Bridge I thought it would be good to cover the other two bridges over the Antietam. All three were important to the Union though only the lower bridge became famous, because of its role in the day's fighting. All three bridges had been built many years before the battle by the same guy (unfortunately his name eludes me at the moment) and of the same design.

On the northern part of the battlefield is the Upper Bridge. Hooker used the Upper Bridge to cross his corps the night before the battle, and I'm pretty sure Mansfield used it too. Sumner crossed at a ford farther downstream. This bridge still stands though it clearly has had some modern alterations, like a paved road for one. We drove over this bridge a few times and luckily there was no traffic coming the other way. The locals probably thought we were crazy to be walking on it and taking pictures but they should get used to that sort of thing. Ray lost his hat at this bridge, which turned into a running joke on where Ray might recover his hat. I'm not sure how much he lamented the loss but since he got a Iron Brigade hat in the VC to replace it I was happy.

In about the middle of the battlefield sits Middle Bridge. Except the original bridge has been replaced with, gasp, a modern structure. Mike and I got some nice footage of the creek from below the bridge. The modern intrusion can be seen in the distance, its the only picture I have of the modern bridge because who really needs a picture of a modern bridge. The creek looked high, deep and fast that day. A few days later the rain poured down and Ray reported that it looked two feet higher. When I got home I checked the gauging station near Burnside's Bridge and Ray was right, the creek had risen nearly two feet over night due to that heavy rain. For a city boy from Chicago Ray sure knows his creeks.
The Lower Bridge is also an original but that is for tomorrow.


Brian Downey said...

Hi Nick,

Thanks for posting all these Sharpsburg and area pictures - sounds like you guys had one fantastic trip. It's particularly cool to see the Upper Bridge. I'm not sure I've ever actually seen a photo of it online before. It was overdue.

Nick said...

I'm glad I'm able to add something to the material online that's new. Hoepfully it won't be the last time.