Antietam Burnside's Bridge (Battleground America)

Antietam: Burnsides Bridge (Battleground America).

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For more than two hours one continued roll of musketry was kept up along the lines, the rebels having the advantage of high ground and a narrow piece of heavy woodland as a breastwork. " 62 CHAPTER 6 ATTACK OF FERRERO'S BRIGADE THE IX CORPS' CONTINUED FAILURE to take the bridge was proving increasingly disconcerting to Major General McClellan. Word had come to his headquarters that the bridge was still in enemy hands despite his urgent command that it be carried at all hazards. Since dispatches alone had failed to encourage Burnside's prompt seizure of the bridge across the Antietam, the senior general sent Colonel Sackett back to Burnside's headquarters.

Willcox came to his position after a year in Confederate captivity. Isaac Rodman who was placed in charge of the 3rd Division had been out of commission since spring, retiring from his post as a regimental commander due to illness. He took over the 3rd Division from John Parke who in turn became Burnside's chief of staff. Brigadier General Samuel Sturgis, who moved into the vacancy in the 2nd Division made by Jesse Reno's death, at least had been on active duty throughout the Union's dark days of August.

The IX Corps' lack of diligence in finding alternate fording points was a symptom of a greater sickness plaguing McClellan's entire army. As the events at Sharpsburg would show, spontaneity and vigor were qualities seriously lacking in the upper echelons of the IX Corps. Burnside and Cox's divisions set up on the battle's eve 44 Face Off at Burnside's Bridge The narrowness of the Lower Bridge can be seen in this modernday photo. McClellan and his officers ignored this obvious obstacle for a large assaulting force using the bridge to cross the river under enemy fire.

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