Landscape Photos of Antietam Creek

The Battle of Antietam was fought in Sharpsburg, Maryland, between the Potomac River and Antietam Creek. Three bridges span the creek. The southernmost bridge was the Burnside Bridge, named for Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside. More than 13,000 men in Burnside’s 9th Corps fought for over three hours to cross the bridge on the Rohrbach property.

The Federals Cross Antietam Creek. The Final Attack Begins.

In the above map, purple lines mark hiking trails. Red lines show the approximate location of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, and blue lines represent the Union Army of the Potomac.

Burnside Bridge Over Antietam Creek

Less than 500 Georgians under the command of Confederate Brig. Gen. Robert Toombs had held the federals in-check from an overlook on the west bank. A brigade of men from Ohio and Connecticut first tried to cross the bridge, but they were forced back. A brigade from Maryland and New Hampshire made the second charge, but failed. Finally, Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero’s 51st New York and 51st Pennsylvania regiments took the bridge and Burnside’s 9th Corps crossed to the west bank to join the final attack of the day.

burnside bridge over antietam creek
Confederate View. West Bank of Antietam Creek at Burnside Bridge

Witness Tree on the East Bank

A “witness tree” is a tree that is old enough to have “witnessed” something, usually something important. The National Park Service identifies the tree in the following photo as having been a sapling during the Battle of Antietam. It stands on the east bank of Antietam Creek, where Union infantry struggled to cross the bridge, only later engage Gen. Lee’s Confederates in The Final Attack.

witness tree on east bank of creek
Witness Tree on the East Bank of Antietam Creek at Burnside Bridge

The next photo present a Union View of the Burnside Bridge, also called the Rohrbach Bridge after the family whose property was overrun here during the battle. Three bridges span Antietam Creek in the Sharpsburg area; since this bridge is the southernmost of the three, it is also called the Lower Bridge.

union view on east bank of creek
Union View. Burnside’s 9th Corps Crossed the Rohrbach Bridge from east to West.

View from the West Bank

burnside bridge over antietam creek
Viiew of the Burnside Bridge from the West Bank
wayside exhibits overlooking burnside bridge
View of the Burnside Bridge from Wayside Exhibits Next to the Parking Lot

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