The bridge was constructed in 1836 of limestone and granite from the area, by local Dunker farmers. The three-arched, 12-foot (3.7 m)-wide, 125-foot (38 m)-long bridge provided a passageway over Antietam Creek for farmers to take their produce and livestock to market in Sharpsburg.
It was originally named the Lower Bridge, as there were two others (Upper Bridge and Middle Bridge) upstream that also allowed movement of freight, animals, and people across the creek. The Lower Bridge took on the name Rohrbach's Bridge after a farmer, Henry Rohrbach, who lived near the structure.
Battle of Antietam 
Crossing over Antietam Creek, the bridge played a key role in the September 1862 Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War when a small number of Confederate soldiers from Georgia for several hours held off repeated attempts by elements of the Union Army's IX Corps to take the bridge by force. Finally, the 51st New York and the 51st Pennsylvania infantry regiments seized it, led by Union Brig. Gen. Edward Fererro but not before the attack had been delayed for several hours beyond what had been expected. The bridge now bears Burnside's name.
After the war, the U.S. Government acquired the bridge and adjoining land. Vehicular traffic across the bridge was stopped and the original farm lanes allowed to grow over with grass.
Foot traffic is still allowed across the structure, at the Antietam National Battlefield. It remains as one of the most photographed bridges of the Civil War.
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