Ambrose Burnside

Ambrose Everett Burnside (May 23, 1824 – September 13, 1881) was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island. He served as governor and as a United States Senator. As a Union Army general in the American Civil War, he conducted successful campaigns in North Carolina and East Tennessee, as well as countering the raids of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, but suffered disastrous defeats at the Battle of Fredericksburg and Battle of the Crater. His distinctive style of facial hair became known as sideburns, derived from his last name. He was also the first president of the National Rifle Association.

Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Burnside - retouched
Ambrose Burnside, circa 1880
United States Senator
from Rhode Island
In office
March 4, 1875 – September 13, 1881
Preceded byWilliam Sprague IV
Succeeded byNelson W. Aldrich
30th Governor of Rhode Island
In office
May 29, 1866 – May 25, 1869
LieutenantWilliam Greene
Pardon Stevens
Preceded byJames Y. Smith
Succeeded bySeth Padelford
Personal details
Ambrose Everett Burnside

May 23, 1824
Liberty, Indiana
DiedSeptember 13, 1881 (aged 57)
Bristol, Rhode Island
Cause of deathAngina
Resting placeSwan Point Cemetery
Providence, Rhode Island
Political partyRepublican
Other political
Mary Richmond Bishop
(m. 1852; her death 1876)
EducationUnited States Military Academy
ProfessionSoldier, inventor, industrialist
Ambrose Burnside's signature
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Union Army
Years of service1847–1865
RankUnion Army major general rank insignia.svg Major General
CommandsArmy of the Potomac
Army of the Ohio
Battles/warsMexican–American War
American Civil War

Early life

Burnside was born in Liberty, Indiana and was the fourth of nine children[1] of Edghill and Pamela (or Pamilia) Brown Burnside, a family of Scottish origin.[2] His great-great-grandfather Robert Burnside (1725–1775) was born in Scotland and settled in the Province of South Carolina.[3] His father was a native of South Carolina; he was a slave owner who freed his slaves when he relocated to Indiana. Ambrose attended Liberty Seminary as a young boy, but his education was interrupted when his mother died in 1841; he was apprenticed to a local tailor, eventually becoming a partner in the business.[4]

As a young officer before the Civil War, Burnside was engaged to Charlotte "Lottie" Moon, who left him at the altar. When the minister asked if she took him as her husband, Moon is said to have shouted "No siree Bob!" and run out of the church. Moon is best known for her espionage for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Later, Burnside arrested Moon, her younger sister Virginia "Ginnie" Moon, and their mother. He kept them under house arrest for months but never charged them with espionage.[5]

Early military career

He obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1843 through his father's political connections and his own interest in military affairs; Caleb Blood Smith recounted Burnside's brash application to the military academy.[6] He graduated in 1847, ranking 18th in a class of 47, and was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Artillery. He traveled to Veracruz for the Mexican–American War, but he arrived after hostilities had ceased and performed mostly garrison duty around Mexico City.[7]

At the close of the war, Lt. Burnside served two years on the western frontier under Captain Braxton Bragg in the 3rd U.S. Artillery, a light artillery unit that had been converted to cavalry duty, protecting the Western mail routes through Nevada to California. In 1849, he was wounded by an arrow in his neck during a skirmish against Apaches in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on December 12, 1851.

Mrs Ambrose Burnside, Mary Richmond Bishop
Mrs. Burnside, Mary Richmond Bishop

In 1852, he was assigned to Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island, and he married Mary Richmond Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island on April 27 of that year. The marriage lasted until Mary's death in 1876, but it was childless.[8]

In October 1853, Burnside resigned his commission in the United States Army, and was appointed commander of the Rhode Island state militia with the rank of major general. He held this position for two years.

After leaving the Regular Army, Burnside devoted his time and energy to the manufacture of the famous firearm that bears his name: the Burnside carbine. President Buchanan's Secretary of War John B. Floyd contracted the Burnside Arms Company to equip a large portion of the Army with his carbine, mostly cavalry, and induced him to establish extensive factories for its manufacture. The Bristol Rifle Works were no sooner complete than another gunmaker allegedly bribed Floyd to break his $100,000 contract with Burnside.

Burnside ran as a Democrat for one of the Congressional seats in Rhode Island in 1858 and was defeated in a landslide. The burdens of the campaign and the destruction by fire of his factory contributed to his financial ruin, and he was forced to assign his firearm patents to others. He then went west in search of employment and became treasurer of the Illinois Central Railroad, where he worked for and became friendly with George B. McClellan, who later became one of his commanding officers.[9]

Civil War

Ambrose Burnside2
General Ambrose Burnside.

First Bull Run

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Burnside was a colonel in the Rhode Island Militia. He raised the 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and was appointed its colonel on May 2, 1861. Two companies of this regiment were then armed with Burnside Carbines.

Within a month, he ascended to brigade command in the Department of northeast Virginia. He commanded the brigade without distinction at the First Battle of Bull Run in July, and took over division command temporarily for wounded Brig. Gen. David Hunter. His 90-day regiment was mustered out of service on August 2; he was promoted to brigadier-general of volunteers on August 6 and was assigned to train provisional brigades in the Army of the Potomac.[7]

Burnside with 1stRI
Burnside (seated, center) and officers of the 1st Rhode Island at Camp Sprague, Rhode Island, 1861

North Carolina

Burnside commanded the Coast Division or North Carolina Expeditionary Force from September 1861 until July 1862, three brigades assembled in Annapolis, Maryland which formed the nucleus for his future IX Corps. He conducted a successful amphibious campaign that closed more than 80% of the North Carolina sea coast to Confederate shipping for the remainder of the war. This included the Battle of Elizabeth City, fought on 10 February 1862 on the Pasquotank River near Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The participants were vessels of the U.S. Navy's North Atlantic Blockading Squadron opposed by vessels of the Confederate Navy's Mosquito Fleet; the latter were supported by a shore-based battery of four guns at Cobb's Point (now called Cobb Point) near the southeastern border of the town. The battle was a part of the campaign in North Carolina that was led by Burnside and known as the Burnside Expedition. The result was a Union victory, with Elizabeth City and its nearby waters in their possession and the Confederate fleet captured, sunk, or dispersed.[10]

Burnside was promoted to major general of volunteers on March 18, 1862 in recognition of his successes at the battles of Roanoke Island and New Bern, the first significant Union victories in the Eastern Theater. In July, his forces were transported north to Newport News, Virginia and became the IX Corps of the Army of the Potomac.[7]

Burnside was offered command of the Army of the Potomac following Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's failure in the Peninsula Campaign.[11] He refused this opportunity because of his loyalty to McClellan and the fact that he understood his own lack of military experience, and detached part of his corps in support of Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia in the Northern Virginia Campaign. He received telegrams at this time from Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter which were extremely critical of Pope's abilities as a commander, and he forwarded on to his superiors in concurrence. This episode later played a significant role in Porter's court-martial, in which Burnside appeared as a star witness.[12]

Burnside again declined command following Pope's debacle at Second Bull Run.[13]


Burnside Bridge at Antietam in 2005

Burnside was given command of the Right Wing of the Army of the Potomac (the I Corps and his own IX Corps) at the start of the Maryland Campaign for the Battle of South Mountain, but McClellan separated the two corps at the Battle of Antietam, placing them on opposite ends of the Union battle line and returning Burnside to command of just the IX Corps. Burnside implicitly refused to give up his authority, and acted as though the corps commander was first Maj. Gen. Jesse L. Reno (killed at South Mountain) and then Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox, funneling orders through them to the corps. This cumbersome arrangement contributed to his slowness in attacking and crossing what is now called Burnside's Bridge on the southern flank of the Union line.[14]

Burnside did not perform an adequate reconnaissance of the area, and he did not take advantage of several easy fording sites out of range of the enemy; his troops were forced into repeated assaults across the narrow bridge which was dominated by Confederate sharpshooters on high ground. By noon, McClellan was losing patience. He sent a succession of couriers to motivate Burnside to move forward. He ordered one aide, "Tell him if it costs 10,000 men he must go now." He increased the pressure by sending his inspector general to confront Burnside, who reacted indignantly: "McClellan appears to think I am not trying my best to carry this bridge; you are the third or fourth one who has been to me this morning with similar orders."[15] The IX Corps eventually broke through, but the delay allowed Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill's Confederate division to come up from Harpers Ferry and repulse the Union breakthrough. McClellan refused Burnside's requests for reinforcements and the battle ended in a tactical stalemate.[16]


Union General Ambrose Burnside, 1862

McClellan was removed after failing to pursue General Robert E. Lee's retreat from Antietam, and Burnside was assigned to command the Army of the Potomac on November 7, 1862. He reluctantly obeyed this order, the third such in his brief career, in part because the courier told him that, if he refused it, the command would go instead to Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, whom Burnside disliked. President Abraham Lincoln pressured Burnside to take aggressive action and approved his plan on November 14 to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. This plan led to a humiliating and costly Union defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13. His advance upon Fredericksburg was rapid, but the attack was delayed by his planning in marshaling pontoon bridges for crossing the Rappahannock River, as well as his own reluctance to deploy portions of his army across fording points. This allowed Gen. Lee to concentrate along Marye's Heights just west of town and easily repulse the Union attacks.

Assaults south of town were also mismanaged, which were supposed to be the main avenue of attack, and initial Union breakthroughs went unsupported. Burnside was upset by the failure of his plan and by the enormous casualties of his repeated, futile frontal assaults, and he declared that he would personally lead an assault of the IX corps. His corps commanders talked him out of it, but relations were strained between the commander and his subordinates. Accepting full blame, he offered to retire from the U.S. Army, but this was refused. Burnside's detractors labeled him the "Butcher of Fredericksburg".[17]

In January 1863, Burnside launched a second offensive against Lee, but it bogged down in winter rains before it accomplished anything and has been derisively called the Mud March. In its wake, he asked that several openly insubordinate officers be relieved of duty and court-martialed; he also offered to resign. Lincoln chose the latter option on January 26 and replaced him with Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, one of the officers who had conspired against Burnside.[18]

East Tennessee

Burnside offered to resign his commission altogether but Lincoln declined, stating that there could still be a place for him in the army. Thus, he was placed back at the head of the IX Corps and sent to command the Department of the Ohio, encompassing the states of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. This was a quiet area with little activity, and the President reasoned that Burnside could not get himself into too much trouble there. However, antiwar sentiment was riding high in the Western states as they had traditionally carried on a great deal of commerce with the South, and there was little in the way of abolitionist sentiment there or a desire to fight for the purpose of ending slavery. Burnside was thoroughly disturbed by this trend and issued a series of orders forbidding "the expression of public sentiments against the war or the Administration" in his department; this finally climaxed with General Order No. 38, which declared that "any person found guilty of treason will be tried by a military tribunal and either imprisoned or banished to enemy lines".

On May 1, 1863, Ohio Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham, a prominent opponent of the war, held a large public rally in Mount Vernon, Ohio in which he denounced President Lincoln as a "tyrant" who sought to abolish the Constitution and set up a dictatorship. Burnside had dispatched several agents to the rally who took down notes and brought back their "evidence" to the general, who then declared that it was sufficient grounds to arrest Vallandigham for treason. A military court tried him and found him guilty of violating General Order No. 38, despite his protests that he was simply expressing his opinions in public. Vallandigham was sentenced to imprisonment for the duration of the war, and was turned into a martyr by antiwar Democrats. Burnside next turned his attention to Illinois, where the Chicago Times newspaper had been printing antiwar editorials for months. The general dispatched a squadron of troops to the paper's offices and ordered them to cease printing.

Lincoln had not been asked or informed about either Vallandigham's arrest or the closure of the Chicago Times. He remembered the section of General Order No. 38 which declared that offenders would be banished to enemy lines and finally decided that it was a good idea; so Vallandigham was freed from jail and sent to Confederate hands. Meanwhile, Lincoln ordered the Chicago Times to be reopened and announced that Burnside had exceeded his authority in both cases. The President then issued a warning that generals were not to arrest civilians or close down newspapers again without the White House's permission.[19]

Burnside also dealt with Confederate raiders such as John Hunt Morgan.

In the Knoxville Campaign, Burnside advanced to Knoxville, Tennessee, first bypassing the Confederate-held Cumberland Gap and ultimately occupying Knoxville unopposed; he then sent troops back to the Cumberland Gap. Confederate commander Brig. Gen. John W. Frazer refused to surrender in the face of two Union brigades but Burnside arrived with a third, forcing the surrender of Frazer and 2,300 Confederates.[20]

Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans was defeated at the Battle of Chickamauga, and Burnside was pursued by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, against whose troops he had battled at Marye's Heights. Burnside skillfully outmaneuvered Longstreet at the Battle of Campbell's Station and was able to reach his entrenchments and safety in Knoxville, where he was briefly besieged until the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Fort Sanders outside the city. Tying down Longstreet's corps at Knoxville contributed to Gen. Braxton Bragg's defeat by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Chattanooga. Troops under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman marched to Burnside's aid, but the siege had already been lifted; Longstreet withdrew, eventually returning to Virginia.[18]

Overland Campaign

Burnside was ordered to take the IX Corps back to the Eastern Theater, where he built it up to a strength of over 21,000 in Annapolis, Maryland.[21] The IX Corps fought in the Overland Campaign of May 1864 as an independent command, reporting initially to Grant; his corps was not assigned to the Army of the Potomac because Burnside outranked its commander Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, who had been a division commander under Burnside at Fredericksburg. This cumbersome arrangement was rectified on May 24 just before the Battle of North Anna, when Burnside agreed to waive his precedence of rank and was placed under Meade's direct command.[22]

Burnside fought at the battles of Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, where he did not perform in a distinguished manner,[23] attacking piecemeal and appearing reluctant to commit his troops to the frontal assaults that characterized these battles. After North Anna and Cold Harbor, he took his place in the siege lines at Petersburg.[24]

The Crater

Petersburg crater aftermath 1865
Petersburg Crater with Union soldier in 1865

As the two armies faced the stalemate of trench warfare at Petersburg in July 1864, Burnside agreed to a plan suggested by a regiment of former coal miners in his corps, the 48th Pennsylvania: dig a mine under a fort named Elliot's Salient in the Confederate entrenchments and ignite explosives there to achieve a surprise breakthrough. The fort was destroyed on July 30 in what is known as the Battle of the Crater. Because of interference from Meade, Burnside was ordered, only hours before the infantry attack, not to use his division of black troops, which had been specially trained for this mission. He was forced to use untrained white troops instead. He could not decide which division to choose as a replacement, so he had his three subordinate commanders draw lots.

The division chosen by chance was that commanded by Brig. Gen. James H. Ledlie, who failed to brief the men on what was expected of them and was reported during the battle to be drunk well behind the lines, providing no leadership. Ledlie's men entered the huge crater instead of going around it, becoming trapped, and were subjected to heavy fire from Confederates around the rim, resulting in high casualties.

Burnside was relieved of command on August 14 and sent on "extended leave" by Grant. Burnside was never recalled to duty during the remainder of the war. A court of inquiry later placed the blame for the Crater fiasco on Burnside and his subordinates. In December, Burnside met with President Lincoln and General Grant about his future. He was contemplating resignation, but Lincoln and Grant requested that he remain in the Army. At the end of the interview, Burnside wrote, "I was not informed of any duty upon which I am to be placed." He finally resigned his commission on April 15, 1865, after Lee's surrender at Appomattox.[25]

The United States Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War later exonerated Burnside, and placed the blame for the Union defeat at the Crater on General Meade for requiring the specially trained USCT (United States Colored Troops) men to be withdrawn.

Postbellum career

Ambrose E Burnside grave
Burnside's grave in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island

After his resignation, Burnside was employed in numerous railroad and industrial directorships, including the presidencies of the Cincinnati and Martinsville Railroad, the Indianapolis and Vincennes Railroad, the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad, and the Rhode Island Locomotive Works.

He was elected to three one-year terms as Governor of Rhode Island, serving from May 29, 1866, to May 25, 1869.

Burnside was a Companion of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, a military society of Union officers and their descendants, and served as the Junior Vice Commander of the Massachusetts Commandery in 1869. He was commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veterans' association from 1871 to 1872, and also served as the Commander of the Department of Rhode Island of the GAR.[26] At its inception in 1871, the National Rifle Association chose him as its first president.[27][28]

During a visit to Europe in 1870, Burnside attempted to mediate between the French and the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War. He was registered at the offices of Drexel, Harjes & Co., Geneva, week ending November 5, 1870.[29] Drexel Harjes was a major lender to the new French government after the war, helping it to repay its massive war reparations.

In 1876 Burnside was elected as commander of the New England Battalion of the Centennial Legion, the title of a collection of 13 militia units from the original 13 states, which participated in the parade in Philadelphia on July 4, 1876, to mark the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.[30]

In 1874 Burnside was elected by the Rhode Island Senate as a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, was re-elected in 1880, and served until his death in 1881. During that time, Burnside, who had been a Democrat before the war, ran as a Republican, playing a prominent role in military affairs as well as serving as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in 1881.[31]

Burnside died suddenly of "neuralgia of the heart" (Angina pectoris) at Bristol, Rhode Island, and is buried in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island.[31] An equestrian statue in his honor was erected in the late 19th century in Burnside Park in Providence.

Assessment and legacy

Personally, Burnside was always very popular, both in the army and in politics. He made friends easily, smiled a lot, and remembered everyone's name. His professional military reputation, however, was less positive, and he was known for being obstinate, unimaginative, and unsuited, both intellectually and emotionally for high command.[32] Grant stated that he was "unfitted" for the command of an army and that no one knew this better than Burnside himself. Knowing his capabilities, he twice refused command of the Army of the Potomac, accepting only the third time when the courier told him that otherwise the command would go to Joseph Hooker. Jeffry D. Wert described Burnside's relief after Fredericksburg in a passage that sums up his military career:[33]

He had been the most unfortunate commander of the Army, a general who had been cursed by succeeding its most popular leader and a man who believed he was unfit for the post. His tenure had been marked by bitter animosity among his subordinates and a fearful, if not needless, sacrifice of life. A firm patriot, he lacked the power of personality and will to direct recalcitrant generals. He had been willing to fight the enemy, but the terrible slope before Marye's Heights stands as his legacy.

— Jeffry D. Wert, The Sword of Lincoln

Bruce Catton summarized Burnside:[34]

... Burnside had repeatedly demonstrated that it had been a military tragedy to give him a rank higher than colonel. One reason might have been that, with all his deficiencies, Burnside never had any angles of his own to play; he was a simple, honest, loyal soldier, doing his best even if that best was not very good, never scheming or conniving or backbiting. Also, he was modest; in an army many of whose generals were insufferable prima donnas, Burnside never mistook himself for Napoleon. Physically he was impressive: tall, just a little stout, wearing what was probably the most artistic and awe-inspiring set of whiskers in all that bewhiskered Army. He customarily wore a high, bell-crowned felt hat with the brim turned down and a double-breasted, knee-length frock coat, belted at the waist—a costume which, unfortunately, is apt to strike the modern eye as being very much like that of a beefy city cop of the 1880s.

— Bruce Catton, Mr. Lincoln's Army


Burnside was noted for his unusual facial hair, joining strips of hair in front of his ears to his mustache but with the chin clean-shaven; the word burnsides was coined to describe this style. The syllables were later reversed to give sideburns.[32]

Burnside Park monument
Equestrian monument in Burnside Park, Providence, Rhode Island.


In popular media

See also


  1. ^ Marvel, p. 3.
  2. ^ Mierka, np. The original spelling of his middle name was Everts, for Dr. Sylvanus Everts, the physician who delivered him. Ambrose Everts was also the name of Edghill's and Pamela's first child, who died a few months before the future general was born. The name was misspelled as "Everett" during his enrollment at West Point, and he did not correct the record.
  3. ^ "Free Family History and Genealogy Records —". Archived from the original on December 12, 2008.
  4. ^ Mierka, np., describes the relationship with the tailor as indentured servitude.
  5. ^ Eggleston, Larry G., (2003). Women in the Civil War : extraordinary stories of soldiers, spies, nurses, doctors, crusaders, and others. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0786414936. OCLC 51580671.
  6. ^ "Reminiscence of Gen. Burnside". The New South. 27 December 1862. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Eicher, pp. 155–56; Sauers, pp. 327–28; Warner, pp. 57–58; Wilson, np.
  8. ^ Eicher, pp. 155–56; Mierka, np.; Warner, pp. 57–58.
  9. ^ Eicher, pp. 155–56; Mierka, np.; Sauers, pp. 327–28; Warner, pp. 57–58.
  10. ^ Mierka, np.
  11. ^ Marvel, pp. 99–100.
  12. ^ Marvel, pp. 209–10.
  13. ^ Sauers, pp. 327–28; Wilson, np.
  14. ^ Bailey, pp. 120–21.
  15. ^ Sears, pp. 264–65.
  16. ^ Bailey, pp. 126–39.
  17. ^ William Palmer Hopkins, The Seventh Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers in the Civil War 1862–1865. Providence, RI: The Providence Press, 1903, p. 56.
  18. ^ a b Wilson, np.; Warner, p. 58; Sauers, p. 328.
  19. ^ McPherson, pp. 596–97. McPherson remarked that Burnside's "political judgment proved no more subtle than his military judgment at Fredericksburg."
  20. ^ Korn, p. 104.
  21. ^ Grimsley, p. 245, n. 43.
  22. ^ Esposito, text for map 120.
  23. ^ Grimsley, p. 230, describes Burnside's conduct as "inept." Rhea, p. 317: "[Burnside's] failings were so flagrant that the Army talked about them openly. He stumbled badly in the Wilderness and worse still at Spotsylvania."
  24. ^ Wilson, np.
  25. ^ Wert, pp. 385–86; Mierka, np.; Eicher, pp. 155–56.
  26. ^ Eicher, pp. 155–56.
  27. ^ "NRA Explore".
  28. ^ "NRA Online Membership".
  29. ^ "Americans in London". New York Times, December 14, 1870, p. 6c, last line.
  30. ^ New York Times March 16, 1876.
  31. ^ a b Wilson, np.; Eicher, p. 156.
  32. ^ a b Goolrick, p. 29.
  33. ^ Wert, p. 217.
  34. ^ Catton, pp. 256–57.
  35. ^ Raub, Patricia. "Burnside: Our Statue But Not Our Hero". The Occupied Providence Journal. Retrieved 14 June 2014. The monument stood for nearly twenty years in Exchange Place, facing City Hall, with horses, wagons, and carriages moving in all directions around it.
  36. ^ Marshall, Philip C. "Hope Street Survey Descriptions". Philip C. Marshall. Retrieved 6 September 2015. President Chester A. Arthur and Governor Augustus O. Bourn of Bristol dedicated the hall to the memory of General Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-1881), whose statue was intended to be the focus of the porch.
  37. ^ "URI History and Timeline". University of Rhode Island. Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 1966. Aldrich, Burnside, Coddington, Dorr, Ellery, and Hopkins Residence Halls were opened
  38. ^


  • Bailey, Ronald H., and the Editors of Time-Life Books. The Bloodiest Day: The Battle of Antietam. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1984. ISBN 0-8094-4740-1.
  • Catton, Bruce. Mr. Lincoln's Army. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1951. ISBN 0-385-04310-4.
  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Esposito, Vincent J. West Point Atlas of American Wars. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1959. OCLC 5890637. The collection of maps (without explanatory text) is available online at the West Point website.
  • Goolrick, William K., and the Editors of Time-Life Books. Rebels Resurgent: Fredericksburg to Chancellorsville. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1985. ISBN 0-8094-4748-7.
  • Grimsley, Mark. And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May–June 1864. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8032-2162-2.
  • Korn, Jerry, and the Editors of Time-Life Books. The Fight for Chattanooga: Chickamauga to Missionary Ridge. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1985. ISBN 0-8094-4816-5.
  • McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Oxford History of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-19-503863-0.
  • Marvel, William. Burnside. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8078-1983-2.
  • Mierka, Gregg A. "Rhode Island's Own." MOLLUS biography. Accessed July 19, 2010.
  • Rhea, Gordon C. The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern May 7–12, 1864. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8071-2136-3.
  • Sauers, Richard A. "Ambrose Everett Burnside." In Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, edited by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000. ISBN 0-393-04758-X.
  • Sears, Stephen W. Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983. ISBN 0-89919-172-X.
  • Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964. ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.
  • Wert, Jeffry D. The Sword of Lincoln: The Army of the Potomac. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. ISBN 0-7432-2506-6.
  • Wilson, James Grant, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos, eds. "Ambrose Burnside." In Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography. New Work: D. Appleton & Co., 1887–1889 and 1999.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
none, new corps
Commander of the IX Corps
July 22, 1862 – August 3, 1862
Succeeded by
Department of Virginia
Preceded by
George B. McClellan
Commander of the Army of the Potomac
November 9, 1862 – January 26, 1863
Succeeded by
Joseph Hooker
Political offices
Preceded by
James Y. Smith
Governor of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Seth Padelford
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
William Sprague
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Rhode Island
Served alongside: Henry B. Anthony
Succeeded by
Nelson W. Aldrich
Political offices
Preceded by
John A. Logan
Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic
Succeeded by
Charles Devens
Army of the Ohio

The Army of the Ohio was the name of two Union armies in the American Civil War. The first army became the Army of the Cumberland and the second army was created in 1863.

Battle of Fort Sanders

The Battle of Fort Sanders was the crucial engagement of the Knoxville Campaign of the American Civil War, fought in Knoxville, Tennessee, on November 29, 1863. Assaults by Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet failed to break through the defensive lines of Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, resulting in lopsided casualties, and the Siege of Knoxville entered its final days.

Battle of the Cumberland Gap (1863)

The September 7–9, 1863 fall of the Cumberland Gap was a victory for Union forces under the command of Ambrose Burnside during his campaign for Knoxville. The bloodless engagement cost the Confederates 2,300 men and control of the Cumberland Gap.

Burnside, Chicago

Burnside is one of the 77 semi-official community areas of Chicago, Illinois, and is located on the city's far south side. This area is also called by locals, "The Triangle", as it is bordered by railroad tracks on every side; the Illinois Central on the west, the Rock Island on the south and the Nickel Plate Railroad (now Norfolk-Southern) on the east.

Originally considered part of Roseland and the Chatham communities, it was distinguished as one of the 77 Chicago community areas when the University of Chicago established its sociological map of Chicago communities. The area was mostly undeveloped swamp land north of Lake Calumet until after the American Civil War. The Illinois Central Railroad (ICRR) built the Burnside Station at 95th street and named it after Ambrose Burnside, a Civil War general and official of the ICRR.

By the 1890s, the ICRR began construction of a roundhouse and repair shop at 95th and South Park Boulevard on what is now the site of Chicago State University. Developer W. V. Jacobs purchased the land in the triangle and began building residential homes. The area was settled by predominantly Hungarian, Polish, Italian and Ukrainian immigrants. Factory jobs were plentiful at the nearby Burnside Shops as well as Pullman Company, Burnside Steel Mill and other nearby factories.

Following World War II, the area's population makeup included a growing number of African-Americans. This was one of several transformations that this working-class neighborhood would undergo. Burnside's fortunes began to change in the 1960s when industry patterns lead to economic decline. Nearby steel mills were shuttered. The Pullman Company scaled back production and eventually closed for good in 1981. Skyrocketing crime rates, gang violence and urban decay forced longtime residents and businesses to move away, a phenomenon referred to as white flight.As of 2015, all 2,601 residents of the neighborhood are black, making it the only community area of Chicago entirely populated by one race.

Burnside, Wisconsin

Burnside is a town in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the population was 529. The ghost town of New City was located in the town. The town was named after civil war general Ambrose Burnside.

Burnside Park, Providence, Rhode Island

Burnside Park is a small park situated in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, adjacent to Kennedy Plaza. Named for Ambrose Burnside, a general in the American Civil War from Rhode Island, an equestrian statue was erected in his honor in the late 19th century, and sits in the center of the park. Burnside Park was the location of the camp of the Occupy Providence Movement (patterned after the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City) during the Fall of 2011.

Cairo and Vincennes Railroad

The Cairo and Vincennes Railroad was a 19th-century American railroad that connected Cairo, Illinois, with Vincennes, Indiana. It was chartered by the state of Illinois in 1867 through the efforts of former American Civil War General Green B. Raum, who subsequently oversaw the planning and engineering of the proposed line. Within a few years, the fledgling railroad company named another former general, Ambrose Burnside, as its president. The Cairo & Vincennes began laying track in 1870 and completed the initial portion in 1872 to haul coal from southern Illinois mines. However, the route was not fully completed until late in 1874.

In January 1874, the railroad was teetering on bankruptcy and the contractors, the firm of Winslow & Wilson, applied for control. In February, a new board of directors assumed control of the railroad and named industrialist J. P. Morgan as the new president, replacing Burnside. In April, the C&V formally went into receivership. The next month, receivers H. L. Morrill and A. B. Salford took possession of the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad.The line was reorganized into the Cairo and Vincennes Railway in 1880, which in turn became part of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway in 1881, but was resold to the Cairo, Vincennes and Chicago Railway at the Wabash's foreclosure in 1889. The CV&C became part of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway (Big Four) system, which itself became part of the New York Central Railroad system in 1906. Much of the original route of the C&V remains in usage for freight hauling. Part, in Illinois, has been rededicated as the Tunnel Hill State Trail.

Chicago Times

The Chicago Times was a newspaper in Chicago from 1854 to 1895, when it merged with the Chicago Herald.The Times was founded in 1854 by James W. Sheahan, with the backing of Democrat and attorney Stephen A. Douglas, and was identified as a pro-slavery newspaper. In 1861, after the paper was purchased by Democratic journalist Wilbur F. Storey, the Times began espousing the Copperhead point of view, supporting Southern Democrats and denouncing the policies of Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, General Ambrose Burnside, head of the Department of the Ohio, suppressed the paper in 1863 because of its hostility to the Union cause, but Lincoln lifted the ban when he received word of it.

Storey and Joseph Medill, editor of the Republican-leaning Chicago Tribune, maintained a strong rivalry for some time. In 1888, the newspaper saw the brief addition of Finley Peter Dunne to its staff. Dunne was a columnist whose Mr. Dooley satires won him national recognition. After just one year, Dunne left the Times to work for the rival Chicago Tribune.

In 1895, the Times became the Chicago Times-Herald after a merger with the Chicago Herald, a newspaper founded in 1881 by James W. Scott. After Scott's sudden death in the weeks following the merger, H. H. Kohlsaat took over the new paper. He changed its direction from a "democratic" publication to an "independent republican" one. It supported "sound money" policies (against free silver) in the 1896 election.Kohlsaat bought the Chicago Record from Chicago Daily News publisher Victor F. Lawson in 1901 and merged it with the Times-Herald to form the Chicago Record-Herald. Frank B. Noyes acquired an interest in the new newspaper at the time and served as publisher, with Kohlsaat as editor.

General Order Number 38

General Order Number 38 was issued by American Union general Ambrose Burnside on April 13, 1863, during the American Civil War while Burnside commanded the Department of the Ohio. Among other issues, the order attempted to make it illegal to criticize the war within that Department:

That hereafter all persons found within our lines who commit acts for the benefit of the enemies of our country, will be tried as spies or traitors, and, if convicted, will suffer death. This order includes the following classes of persons:


The habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy will no longer be tolerated in the department. Persons committing such offences will be at once arrested, with a view to being tried as above stated, or sent beyond our lines into the lines of their friends.

Any kind of opposition to the war — such as that expressed by the Copperheads peace movement — was considered sympathy to the enemy, and the order was immediately used as justification to arrest Ohio Representative Vallandigham, a prominent leader in the movement (in fact, he was arrested for criticizing the order itself) and to try him in a military court.

Burnside’s order inspired a political campaign song that mentioned Clement Vallandigham:

O, brothers, don't forget the timeWhen Burnside was our fate,And laws were supersededBy order 38.Then like a free-born western man,Our Val spoke bold and true,O, when he’s chosen governorWhat will poor Burnside do.Wont he skedaddle,As he’s well used to do.

James Y. Smith

James Youngs Smith (September 15, 1809 – March 26, 1876) was an American politician and the 29th Governor of Rhode Island (May 26, 1863 – May 29, 1866).

John Hopkins Harney

John Hopkins Harney (February 20, 1806 – January 26, 1868) was a Kentucky legislator native of Bourbon County, Kentucky. He was a distant cousin of General William Selby Harney.

Harney was orphaned at an early age, leaving him in dire economic circumstances that forced him to educate himself instead of attending school. And, he began working on a land surveying crew. At the age of seventeen, he successfully solved a problem on one of their surveying expeditions which attracted so much attention that he was soon made principal of an academy in Paris, Kentucky.

After saving up money from his teaching position, Harney was able to purchase a scholarship to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he graduated in 1827 with a degree in belles letres and theology. He was immediately thereafter appointed a professor of mathematics at Indiana University.

In 1833, Professor Harney transferred to the math department at Hanover College in Indiana, where he began preparing an algebra textbook. He put the final touches on this project after being named president of Louisville College in Kentucky in 1839. Published in 1840, it was the first such book ever written by an American.

When Louisville College closed in 1843, Harney began publication of the Louisville Democrat, which he continued to edit for the rest of his life. He was elected to the local school board in 1850, and afterward became its president and established many reforms.

During the U.S. Civil War, Harney served in the Kentucky legislature as chairman of the Committee on Federal Relations. When the state was invaded by Confederate forces, he drafted a famous resolution: "Resolved, that Kentucky expects the Confederate--or Tennessee--troops to be withdrawn from our soil unconditionally."

Beyond his legislative agenda during the war, Harney used his newspaper to protest arbitrary arrest and deportation of Kentucky residents by Federal authorities. He urged his fellow citizens not to support the Federal war effort with "another man or another dollar" until their liberties were assured. This led to his arrest. General Ambrose Burnside intervened and ordered Harney's release.

After the war, Harney urged the repeal of the severe laws enacted against self-expatriated Confederates, an ultimately successful campaign. But, in 1868, he did oppose the nomination of any former Confederates for high office on the grounds it might provoke arbitrary arrests by Federal officials still operating in Kentucky. He died soon thereafter.

Mr. Harney was married May 24, 1827, to Martha Rankin Wallace, a cousin of General Lew Wallace, and had seven children. Among his sons was the notable poet and journalist William Wallace Harney. Among his grandsons was ragtime innovator Ben Harney.

Jonas H. McGowan

Jonas Hartzell McGowan (April 2, 1837 – July 5, 1909) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

McGowan was born in Smith Township, Ohio (then part of Columbiana County, now Mahoning County). He was the eighth of ten children of Samuel and Susan McGowan. His paternal Scotch-Irish ancestors had fled religious persecution and settled in Pennsylvania. His father was a pioneer in Columbiana County, Ohio, where he cleared a tract of government land and occupied it as a homestead. In 1854, Samuel moved his family to Orland, Indiana, where he died in 1860. McGowan's mother was of German descent and survived the father for another four years. McGowan's father was an abolitionist and his house served as a depot on the Underground Railroad.

McGowan attended a seminary in Alliance, Ohio and the Orland Academy. He graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1861 and taught in the city schools of Coldwater, Michigan for one year. In 1862, he married Josephine Pruden, then preceptress at the High School in Coldwater.

During the Civil War, McGowan served in the Fifth and Ninth Regiments, Michigan Volunteer Cavalry. In August 1862, he enlisted as a private in the Fifth Regiment and was soon promoted to Sergeant of his Company. In November 1862, he was made a Captain in the Ninth Regiment, and went into the field early in 1863. Their first service was chasing Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, who made incursions into southern Indiana and Ohio on Morgan's Raid. McGowan took part in the Battle of Salineville, which resulted in the capture of Morgan in July 1863, near Salineville, Ohio. He went into campaigns in East Tennessee with General Ambrose Burnside, until he was forced to resign in 1864 for reasons of poor health.

McGowan returned to Coldwater, where he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1867, and commenced practice. He served as prosecuting attorney of Branch County from 1868 to 1872. He was also director of the Coldwater school board for six years. He began serving as a member of the University of Michigan board of regents in 1870 and served until 1877 when he resigned after being elected to Congress. He also represented the 10th district in the Michigan Senate from 1873 to 1874.

In 1876, McGowan was elected as a Republican from Michigan's 3rd congressional district to the 45th United States Congress. He was re-elected to the 46th Congress and served from March 4, 1877 to March 3, 1881. He declined to be a candidate for re-nomination in 1880.

Jonas H. McGowan resumed the practice of his profession in Washington, D.C., until his death in 1909. He was interred in Oak Grove Cemetery, Coldwater, Michigan.

Knoxville Campaign

The Knoxville Campaign was a series of American Civil War battles and maneuvers in East Tennessee during the fall of 1863 designed to secure control of the city of Knoxville and with it the railroad that linked the Confederacy east and west. Union Army forces under Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside occupied Knoxville, Tennessee, and Confederate States Army forces under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet were detached from Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee at Chattanooga to prevent Burnside's reinforcement of the besieged Federal forces there. Ultimately, Longstreet's own siege of Knoxville ended when Union Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman led elements of the Army of the Tennessee and other troops to Burnside's relief after Union troops had broken the Confederate siege of Chattanooga. Although Longstreet was one of Gen. Robert E. Lee's best corps commanders in the East in the Army of Northern Virginia, he was unsuccessful in his role as an independent commander in the West and accomplished little in the Knoxville Campaign.

Mud March (American Civil War)

The Mud March was an abortive offensive in January 1863 by Union Army Major General Ambrose Burnside in the American Civil War.

Burnside had been trying to approach the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, by crossing the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, but had been soundly defeated. The so-called Mud March was his second attempt at a river crossing. The strategy was sound, but it failed because of dissension between generals, compounded by severe winter storms.

New Burnside, Illinois

New Burnside is a village in Johnson County, Illinois, United States. The population was 211 at the 2010 census.In 1878, New Burnside peaked in population at 1,200 when the railroad ran through the middle of the town. The population decreased gradually after the railroad was abandoned. More recently, the Tunnel Hill State Trail for bicycles was built along the abandoned line. The village was founded in 1872, and was a Cairo and Vincennes Railroad boom-town. Much of its founding was based on the same coal mining industry that grew Harrisburg and Carrier Mills, but slowly turned to an orchard-based economy by 1900. It was named after Civil War general Ambrose Burnside.

North Carolina in the American Civil War

North Carolina had joined the Confederacy with some reluctance, mainly because neighbouring Virginia had done so, and it remained a divided state throughout the war, with the western mountain people retaining much Union sentiment. Yet it contributed more troops to the Confederacy than any other state (though it also raised Union regiments), and channelled many vital supplies through the major port of Wilmington, in defiance of the Union blockade.

Fighting occurred sporadically in the state from September 1861, when Union Major General Ambrose Burnside set about capturing key ports and cities, notably Roanoke Island and New Bern. In 1864, the Confederates assumed the offensive, temporarily reconquering Plymouth, while the Union army launched several attempts to seize Fort Fisher. Troops from North Carolina played a major role in dozens of battles, including Gettysburg, where Tar Heels were prominent in Pickett's Charge. One of the last remaining major Confederate armies, under Joseph E. Johnston, surrendered near Bennett Place to Sherman. Troops also played a major role for the Union, with the 3rd North Carolina Cavalry taking part in the Battle of Bull's Gap, Battle of Red Banks and Stoneman's 1864 and 1865 raid in western North Carolina, southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee. The Department of North Carolina, established in 1862, seized Wilmington in 1865, then the state's largest city. The North Carolina-based XVIII Corps was also among the largest in the Union Army.


Sideburns, sideboards, or side whiskers are facial hair grown on the sides of the face, extending from the hairline to run parallel to or beyond the ears. The term sideburns is a 19th-century corruption of the original burnsides, named after American Civil War general Ambrose Burnside, a man known for his unusual facial hairstyle that connected thick sideburns by way of a moustache, but left the chin clean-shaven.

Slover-Bradham House

Slover-Bradham House is a historic house located at New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina. It was built about 1848, and is a three-story, Renaissance style brick dwelling with a low hipped roof. During the American Civil War, under the direction of General Ambrose Burnside it served as headquarters of the Eighteenth Army Corps and the Department of North Carolina. Pepsi Cola inventor Caleb Bradham owned the house from 1908 until 1934.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Tunnel Hill State Trail

The Tunnel Hill State Trail is a bicycle trail running from Eldorado to Karnak, Illinois. The trail runs along the former bed of a part of the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad, a transportation unit led during its early years by Civil War General Ambrose Burnside. The Cairo & Vincennes became a branch line of the Southern Railway before its trail section shut down in the late 1900s.

The northeast end of the trail is in Eldorado, on Trolley Road just north of U.S. Route 45. (37°48′10.5″N 88°27′25.0″W). The southwest end of the trail is west of Karnak just off Illinois Route 37 (37°18′41.4″N 89°1′4.0″W).

The trail connects to several trails including the River to River Trail; the Illinois southern route of the American Discovery Trail; the U.S. Bicycle Route 76 (part of the TransAmerica Bike Route); and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.The trail is 45 miles (72 km) long. The trail is suitable for both hiking and bicycling. The trail surface is crushed limestone. During the summer, the surface is hard packed and easily ridden on a road bicycle. However, at other times of the year, the trail may be soft and is better navigated on a mountain bike or hybrid.

Parking is available at several locations. However, full services (restaurants, lodging, groceries) are only available in Harrisburg and Vienna. There are limited services elsewhere along the trail.

  • Battles
  • Raids
Class 1
Class 2
Education/Education and Labor
Labor and Public Welfare
Labor and Human Resources
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.