Colonel Henry Walter Kingsbury

First Lieutenant, 69th New York State Militia Regiment, with the colour that was carried until late in 1862. This regiment was part of the 'Irish Brigade' that attacked the sunken road position at Antietam. Painting by Ron Vols tad.

▲ This war-time popular print has incorporated something from the battlefield which actually existed - the Burnside

Bridge - but fails to show the heights above it and, moreover, shows Confederate artillery as its primary defender.

Burnside wrote in his report that he received the order to take the stone bridge at 1000 and that he ordered the 11th Connecticut forward as skirmishers to drive the Confederates away from the foot of the bridge. In addition, he had ordered Colonel Crook to make the actual assault. Burnside also ordered Brigadier General Rodman to find a ford further downstream, cross his division and attack the Confederate extreme right on the far bank. Cox places these events at 0900. It was discovered that Crook's position made an assault impractical, and the mission was assigned to Brigadier General Sturgis's 2nd Division. Sturgis advanced the 2nd Maryland and 6th New Hampshire regiments of his 1st Brigade towards the bridge. It was a daunting task. The road beyond the bridge was 'covered by rifle pits and breastworks', wrote Cox, 'made of rails and stone, all of which defenses, as well as the woods which covered the slope, were filled with the enemy's infantry and sharpshooters.'

The Confederates holding these positions at this time amounted to only a single brigade commanded by Brigadier General Robert Toombs, an 76

▲ This war-time popular print has incorporated something from the battlefield which actually existed - the Burnside

Bridge - but fails to show the heights above it and, moreover, shows Confederate artillery as its primary defender.

element of D. R. Jones's division. Toombs was one of the 'political generals' that caused so many difficulties for the regular officers serving in both armies. He served in the United States House of Representatives and in the US Senate. Toombs became a leading secessionist in Georgia, was nearly elected president of the Confederacy, and was initially Secretary of State in the Confederate government. He resigned to accept a brigadier generalship, although he had absolutely no military experience. Toombs wanted to lead troops, and he would do so magnificently at Antietam. He placed the 20th Georgia near the bridge, extending his line to the right with the 2nd Georgia and the 50th Georgia regiments (the latter of Drayton's brigade), in an effort to cover the approach from the lower ford. Toombs would receive reinforcements later in the

▲ In this view, the two New York and Pennsylvania regiments have finally crossed the Burn-

side Bridge and are forming to move up to push the Georgia defenders off the heights above them.

action, the 15th Georgia and the 17th Georgia of his own brigade, and the 11th Georgia of George Anderson's Brigade.

The 2nd Maryland and the 6th New Hampshire advanced, wrote Burnside, 'in the most gallant style'. Colonel Henry Walter Kingsbury's 11th Connecticut, deployed in skirmishing order, tried to support the attacking regiments with rifle fire. Colonel Kingsbury fell mortally wounded, wrote Cox, 'cheering his men on to duty'. The Federal regiments were unable to carry the bridge, however, despite repeated attempts. The volume of musketry, delivered by Toombs's Georgians forced their retreat. 'They made a handsome effort', wrote Sturgis, 'but the fire was so heavy on them before they could reach the bridge that they were forced to give way and fall back.'

Sturgis passed the assignment of taking the stone bridge to the commander of his 2nd Brigade, Brigadier Edward Ferrero. He selected the 51st Pennsylvania to make the initial rush over the bridge, followed immediately by the 51st New York, and then the remainder of the brigade. Colonel John

▲ In this view, the two New York and Pennsylvania regiments have finally crossed the Burn-

side Bridge and are forming to move up to push the Georgia defenders off the heights above them.

Frederick Hartranft (1830-89), a Pennsylvanian lawyer, led his 51st Pennsylvania over the bridge, supported closely by the 51st New York led by Colonel Robert Brown Potter (1829-87), also a lawyer before the War. The two regiments were actually intermingled so much that their regimental standards reached the opposite slope more or less together. Their divisional commander, Brigadier General Sturgis, wrote that the bridge was taken 'with an impetuosity which the enemy could not resist, and the Stars and Stripes were planted on the opposite bank at 1 o'clock p.m., amid the most enthusiastic cheering from every part of the field where they could be seen'.

Burnside began to consolidate his position on the far bank. Ferrero rushed the remaining regiments of his brigade, the 35th Massachusetts and xx

F Archer

G Gregg

H Branch

I Pender

J Brockenbrough

's Ford

Antietam Creek

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