Monday, August 4, 2008

Bridge between north and south

On September 17, 1862 the Union and Confederate armies fought the bloodiest one day battle in US history. Robert E. Lee had led his Army into Maryland with the intent of moving into Pennsylvania and isolating Washington, DC from the northern states. General George McClellan moved his Army from Washington to engage Lee. The armies met in the quiet, rural valley along Antietam Creek. The battle started before dawn in a cornfield, continued on a lane along the creek, and ended with the battle for this bridge over the creek. Southern forces held the high ground at the bridge, while the northern forces attacked across open field to the bridge, eventually capturing the bridge. At the end of the day, 23,000 soldiers of both armies were killed, wounded or missing. Lee's army retreated to the safety of Virginia and the war continued for another 2 years. The battle at Antietam had a significant political impact, as President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation after the Union victory.

The grounds where this battle was fought are a national park and contain a national cemetery and remain much as they were in 1862. The cemetery continued in use for US servicemen until 1953. In 2000, one local resident who was killed in the attack on the USS Cole was buried here.

Confederates defended from here

Union attacked from this side

Among the many plaques around the battlefield is this one near the bridge. Note the photograph in the lower left taken 4 days after the battle. And in the painting of the battle by a union officer, note the size of sycamore tree just to the right of the bridge.


7 comments:

Anne-Berit said...

Wonderful Bridge-photos and great information,thanks!

imac said...

Great Battle Bridge Lew, also lots of info.

My Bridge is also up

RuneE said...

A bridge with a history indeed. Let us hope that its very existence can demonstrate the idiocy of war - and civil war especially.

Hyde DP said...

great to see the old picture of the bridge alongside the now - some awful history there.

Liv said...

Best bridge today, just wonderful!
Also lots of good info - interesting post.

A. said...

Lovely shots of the bridge, but I especially loved reading the history associated with it. I'm really not at all good with American history so I'm delighted to learn a little more.

Paulie said...

I'm late but I'm finally here!

Good bit of history with your bridges between post Monday! We have those kind of markers with historical info on them at our national Reserve park by Fort Vancouver here in Vancouver. They hold lots of good information for history buffs.