Burnside, Ambrose Everett

Burnside, Ambrose Everett,

1824–81, Union general in the U.S. Civil War, b. Liberty, Ind. He saw brief service in the Mexican War and remained in the army until 1853, when he entered business in Rhode Island. In the Civil War, Burnside commanded a brigade at the first battle of Bull RunBull Run,
small stream, NE Va., c.30 mi (50 km) SW of Washington, D.C. Two important battles of the Civil War were fought there: the first on July 21, 1861, and the second Aug. 29–30, 1862. Both battlefields are included in Manassas National Battlefield Park (est. 1940).
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 and was made (Aug., 1861) a brigadier general of volunteers. His expedition to the North Carolina coast (1862), resulting in the capture of Roanoke Island, New Bern, Beaufort, and Fort Macon, won him a major generalcy and much prestige. He commanded under G. B. McClellan in the Antietam campaignAntietam campaign
, Sept., 1862, of the Civil War. After the second battle of Bull Run, Gen. Robert E. Lee crossed the Potomac to invade Maryland and Pennsylvania. At Frederick, Md., he divided (Sept.
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 and shortly afterward succeeded that general in command of the Army of the Potomac. After a costly defeat at the battle of Fredericksburg (see Fredericksburg, battle ofFredericksburg, battle of,
in the Civil War, fought Dec. 13, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Va. In Nov., 1862, the Union general Ambrose Burnside moved his three "grand divisions" under W. B. Franklin, E. V.
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) in Dec., 1862, Burnside asked President Lincoln either to sustain him in dismissing Joseph HookerHooker, Joseph,
1814–79, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Hadley, Mass. After fighting the Seminole and serving in the Mexican War, Hooker resigned from the army in 1853 and was for several years a farmer in California.
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 and several other generals who opposed his plans, or to remove Burnside himself. Lincoln relieved him in favor of Joseph Hooker. As commander of the Dept. of the Ohio (Mar.–Dec., 1863), he occupied E Tennessee, took Knoxville, and repulsed James Longstreet's attempt to recapture the town. In 1864 he commanded under generals Meade and Grant in Virginia. Held partially responsible for the fiasco at PetersburgPetersburg,
city (1990 pop. 38,386), politically independent and in no county, SE Va., on the Appomattox River; inc. 1850. A port of entry and an important tobacco market, it has industries producing chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furniture, structural steel, lumber, paper goods,
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, he was relieved. Burnside was elected governor of Rhode Island in 1866 and was reelected in 1867 and 1868. From 1875 to his death he was a U.S. Senator. He originated the fashion of wearing long side whiskers, thus the term burnsides or sideburns.


See biography by B. P. Poore (1882); K. P. Williams, Lincoln Finds a General (Vol. II, 1950).

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