This is a minor piece on how history lives on, during the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.
There was a General, Ambrose Burnside. He is generally acknowledged to be competent, but not spectacular. During his civil war career, General Burnside mostly served in the eastern theater throughout the war.
There are 2 things about him that still affect our daily lives.
The Antietam creek runs from Pennsylvania, through Maryland to where it joins the Potomac.
It passes the town of Sharpsburg.
In September, 1862, Union forces under Major General George McClellan clashed with General Robert E. Lee when the Confederacy invaded the North.
On September 17, the bloodiest day in American history, their forces met at Antietam, a creek below Sharpsburg.
General Burnside’s mission was to take and cross a bridge across Antietam Creek at the southern end of the field. Burnside didn’t perform reconnaissance on the are, and didn’t find the areas where he could have easily forded the river. He focused only on the bridge. Which was covered by Confederate snipers.
Burnsides forces suffered 500 casualties before finally crossing and taking the bridge.
If you’re down in that area, and want to cross the Antietam Creek west to the Potomac river, or East to the Shenandoah Valley, you can do it over the Burnside Bridge, and remember the fierce fighting that happened there.
Appearance – Ambrose Burnside was also known for prodigious facial hair. The way his grew from the top of his jaw into his mustache was impressive, unique, and soon became recognizable everywhere.
A perfect example of how history touches even you, even today. Jaw whiskers were identified with man, becoming known as Burnsides, and then, Sideburns.
Don’t you think history is fun? (answer in the comments!)