Although burning wooden trestle bridges during the war was pretty commonplace, destruction of masonry is altogether a different situation. Remember that WWII-style combat engineers did not exist and the tools and munitions necessary were the province of an engineering department that scarcely existed either. Artillery shells were likely the only available items, and regular field artillery projectiles were too weak to do the job. Solid shot was the preferred projectile for such a task and it doesn't explode - it batters the target into rubble. To do so the Confederate artillery wasn't in position to even hit the bridge, much less destroy it.was studying this battle and thought i'd ask you experts a simple question.
why didn't the confederates just blow up this bridge before the federals arrived?
Earlier in the campaign, Confederate troops tried to destroy an aqueduct and locks on the C&O canal, also stone. Couldn't make a dent with the tools and explosives they had with them. If anyone considered blowing the Lower Bridge, they would have quickly discarded the notion.
Monocacy AqueductEarlier in the campaign, Confederate troops tried to destroy an aqueduct and locks on the C&O canal, also stone. Couldn't make a dent with the tools and explosives they had with them. If anyone considered blowing the Lower Bridge, they would have quickly discarded the notion.
In January of 2014 a section of the stone wall on the upstream side of the bridge collapsed into Antietam Creek. Temporary repairs were made and an engineering assessment of the entire structure was undertaken. The investigation revealed substantial deterioration of the walls and significant water infiltration contributing to the structural instability of the bridge.
The bridge was closed in October of 2015 for repairs. Phase I of the project focused on the on the in-stream work, repairing and strengthening the stone piers and arches. Portable dams were installed in the creek that diverted the water while this work was completed. During Phase II the bridge walls were selectively dismantled and rebuilt. Every stone was painstakingly mapped, recorded and replaced as close as possible to its original location. Once the masonry work was complete, the wood coping was completely replaced and the bridge was resurfaced.
Burnside’s Bridge is almost 200 years old, and, as far as i know, it has never had any major structural repairs done to it. In the 1950’s and 60’s, people used to drive cars over it. It’s a robust bridge.
Here are a couple of photos of the work in progress.
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