Fourteen bridge constructions were commissioned to connect roads in Washington County. Master bridge builder John Weaver completed construction on five of them in 1836, including one built by local Dunker farmers. That particular bridge, three-arched, 12-foot wide, 125-foot long, was located on Antietam Creek and allowed farmers to move their livestock to the Sharpsburg markets. The three arches were made of the local limestone. It cost $3,200 to build the bridge at the time. Also known as Rohrbach's Bridge after a farmer named Henry Rohrbach who lived nearby and Lower Bridge, referencing the nearby Upper Bridge and Middle Bridge.


In September 1862, approximately 500 Confederate soldiers from a George outfit under the command of Generals Robert Toombs and Henry Benning fended off repeated attacks by elements of Major General Ambrose E. Burnside's IX Army Corps that were attempting to take the bridge.  With support from Edward Harlan's brigade, Rodman's Division, Colonel George Crook's Ohio brigade attempted to take the bridge.  His Ohioans got lost, however, and emerged too far upstream.  The 11th Connecticut Infantry found the bridge and attempted to take it.  The Georgians inflicted heavy casualties on them, however, and forced them to withdraw.

James Nagle's 1st Brigade from 2nd Division attempted the sieze the bridge next.  The 2nd Maryland and the 6th New Hampshire Infantry rushed the bridge using a farm road.  The Georgian sharpshooters spotted and engaged them.  The Union troops were stopped less than half way to the bridge and turned back.  The 14,000 Union soldiers had been stopped by a force of 450 Georgians.

The 51st New York and the 51st Pennsylvania Infantry from Brigadier General Edward Ferrero's brigade assaulted next.  Attacking from the Union side of the creek, they were temporarily stopped at the walls near the bridge.  After a duel with the sharpshooters that delayed the Union force longer than expected, the New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians finally charged siezed the bridge.  After the war, the U.S. government acquired the bridge and surrounding land and put a stop to all vehicle traffic over it.  Foot traffic is still allowed.  As part of the Battle of Antietem it is a national landmark, and remainds one of the most photographed bridges of the Civil War.


1. "Fort Frederick State Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia," Wikipedia.org, accessed May 31, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Frederick_State_Park