Plate 19. Antietam Bridge, on Boonsboro and Sharpsburg Turnpike

Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Alexander Gardner, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
This structure crosses Antietam Creek on the turnpike leading from Boonesboro to Sharpsburg, and is one of the memorable spots in the history of the war, although but little suggestive in its present sunny repose, of the strife which took place near it, on the day of the battle of Antietam. Traces of the engagement are evident in the overturned stone wall, the shattered fences, and down-trodden appearance of the adjacent ground. On the night of the 16th of September, the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac captured this bridge after a sharp fight, holding it until the infantry came up. The fire of our artillery, planted on the ridges near the bridge, was terrible, and at one time no doubt contributed principally to the success of our partially disordered lines in checking the headlong assaults of the enemy.
After Lee's second invasion of Maryland, which ended with the battle of Gettysburg, and the escape of his army into Virginia at Williamsport and Falling Waters, Gen. Meade had his headquarters for a number of days on a wooded ridge called the "Devil's Backbone," situated near this stream, along which the Army of the Potomac was encamped. Very little now remains to mark the adjacent fields as a battle ground. Houses and fences have been repaired, harvests have ripened over the breasts of the fallen, and the ploughshare only now and then turns up a shot, as a relic of that great struggle.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 17.3566 cm x 22.6484 cm; 6 13/16 in x 8 15/16 in
place made
United States: Maryland, Antietam
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Gardner's Sketchbook
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.