Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

Ambrose (Everett) Burnside - Early life and career, Civil War, Post-bellum career, In popular media, Assessment


US soldier, born in Liberty, Indiana, USA. Recognized more for his famous side whiskers than his generalship, he trained at West Point (1847), served on the frontier, then resigned from the army to manufacture a breech-loading rifle of his own design. He returned to service in 1861, became the second commander of the Army of the Potomac (Nov 1862), and precipitated the Union disaster at Fredericksburg (Dec 1862), the most one-sided of the major battles of the Civil War. Relieved in January 1863, he led the small army that took Knoxville, TN (1863) before returning E to command a corps in Meade's army. He left on leave after the failure of his assault in the Battle of the Crater (1864) and was not recalled. After the war he became governor of Rhode Island and a US senator from that state (1875–81).

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