Stop 1 - Union Plan and Organization
At 10:00 a.m., as the fighting raged at the Sunken Road, Ninth Corps commander Ambrose Burnside received orders to commence his attack against the Lower Bridge and the right flank of Lee’s army. Recognizing the great difficulty in successfully carrying the bridge by a direct, frontal attack, Burnside sent Gen. Isaac Rodman with 3,200 soldiers downstream where they were to cross Antietam Creek and outflank the Confederate troops in position on the high bluffs west of the creek, and opposite the bridge.
While Rodman’s men moved south, Burnside ordered diversionary attacks against the bridge in order to keep the Confederate troops defending that area pinned down. Over the course of the next three hours, at least three separate attacks were launched against the bridge, each one resulting in heavy loss. Owing to the nature of the terrain on this part of the battlefield, no large-scale attack against the bridge was possible. Thus, unlike other Union attacks at Antietam, those against the bridge were made on a much smaller scale, which made their success all the more difficult to achieve.
This trail will cover the extent of the Union attacks directly on the bridge. In fact, it was near this stop that one of these attacks, led by Colonel George Crook, stalled.
Last updated: March 1, 2021