Ambrose Everett Burnside

Ambrose Everett Burnside

Union Army General
Country: USA

Biography of Ambrose Everett Burnside

Ambrose Everett Burnside was born in 1824 in Indiana and graduated from West Point in 1847. After serving in Texas and New Mexico for six years, Burnside retired in 1853 and moved to Rhode Island. He ventured into the production of firearms, but did not achieve much success in this business.

When the Civil War began, Burnside formed and led the 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry Regiment, arming them with rifles from his own production. He fought on the side of the Union. The first battle in which Burnside and his three-month-old soldiers saw action was the Battle of Bull Run. The Northern command recognized his frontal attack on Confederate positions and awarded him the rank of brigadier general, sending him to capture the North Carolina coast.

For the successful capture of Roanoke Island, Burnside was promoted and offered to lead the Army of the Potomac. Twice, Burnside found the strength to reject this tempting offer. His 9th Corps played an active role in the Second Battle of Bull Run and Antietam. In the latter, Burnside became famous for his three attempts to take a stone bridge over a stream, only to be pushed back by Robert Toombs' soldiers each time. It is unknown for what reasons, but the unsuccessful commander was offered to lead the main Northern army for the third time, and it was impossible to refuse this offer.

The test of the new commander's resilience came with the defeat at Fredericksburg. Without giving his soldiers time to recover from the defeat, Burnside began the infamous "mud march," which ultimately disappointed Lincoln in him. After commanding the Army of the Potomac for only two months, he was relieved and sent with his old 9th Corps to Ohio and then to Knoxville.

In Knoxville, James Longstreet managed to trap the 9th Corps, forcing the federal troops to await William Sherman's forces for rescue. Despite this dubious success, Congress expressed its gratitude to Burnside. When Grant prepared for the Overland Campaign, he had to involve the forces of the 9th Corps. Grant did not hide his distrust of Burnside and assigned his staff officer to accompany him, whose task was to ensure the proper execution of orders and prevent the commander's "independence."

Burnside's last claim to fame was his "participation" in the siege of Petersburg. After the Battle of the Crater, Grant could no longer forgive Burnside, and he was removed from his position as corps commander and discharged from the army in April 1865. Following the example of many, Burnside engaged in railroad construction. He was elected governor of Rhode Island three times and served as a U.S. senator from 1874 until his death in 1881.