The battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single day in American military history
Wet plate, albumen photograph, on 3 5/8 x 2 3/4 card mount. View of the famous stone bridge over Antietam Creek, Maryland. Light edge wear to mount with slightly rounded corners, and light staining on the reverse. No imprint. Inscription on the reverse, "Antietam," Burnside Bridge, 1862. Desirable Alexander Gardner Antietam view which was published in his Civil War Photographic Sketch Book, with the title of this image, "Burnside Bridge, Across Antietam Creek, Md., September, 1862."
One mile below Sharpsburg, Maryland, on Antietam Creek, a stone structure known as the "Burnside Bridge," crosses the stream. Bold bluffs, crowned with oaks and fringed with tangled brushes, form a most delightful valley, through which the miniature river, broken here and there by tiny cascades, hurries down to the Potomac. It was at this point that some of the most desperate fighting of the battle of Antietam occurred. The right of the Federal line was several miles above, and with the center hotly engaged, the Confederates slowly forcing them back, while General Ambrose E. Burnside, commanding the Ninth Corps, Army of the Potomac, was ordered to carry this point and turn the enemy's right. As is partially shown by the photograph, the banks of the stream were very steep, and well defended by rifle pits which were covered by the guns of the Confederates on the ridge in the background. The assaulting column suffered heavily as it approached the bridge, and, in crossing, was exposed to a murderous fire, through which it rapidly pressed, breaking over the lines of the enemy like a resistless wave, and sweeping him from the hillside. Here our troops again formed under a heavy artillery fire, and pushed forward into the standing corn, out of which a second line of Confederates suddenly arose and renewed the contest, which lasted for many hours, finally resulting in our victory. At the close of the fight the dead and wounded on the field here presented seemed countless. The Confederates were buried where they fell, and our own dead carefully interred in groups, which were enclosed with the material of fences overthrown in the struggle. The stonewall extending from the bridge still bears the evidence of the battle, and is the only monument of many gallant men who sleep at its side.
Source: Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War
WBTS Trivia: The battle of Antietam, Md., as it was known in the North, and the battle of Sharpsburg, Md., as it was known in the South, was fought on September 17, 1862. The Union Army was commanded by General George B. McClellan, and the Confederate Army by General Robert E. Lee. The Union lost 12,410 casualties, while the South lost, 10,316.