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Ambrose E. Burnside, U.S.A.

Ambrose E. Burnside was born in Indiana, and graduated from the Military Academy July 1, 1847. He was promoted brevet second lieutenant Second Artillery the same day, and second lieutenant of the Third Artillery September 8, 1847. He served in the City of Mexico during the winter of 1847-48, and when peace had been established with that republic he was stationed at Fort Adams, Rhode Island, from which point he was ordered to Las Vegas, New Mexico, and was engaged in a skirmish there with Jacarillo Apache Indians, August 23, 1849, in which he was wounded. During the years 1850-51 he was at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; he was with the Mexican Boundary Commission from April, 1851, to March 16, 1852.

He was promoted first lieutenant December 12, 1851, and was at Fort Adams in 1852-53, and resigned October 2, 1853.

After leaving the army he became a manufacturer of fire-arms at Bristol, Rhode Island, from 1853 to 1858. He was major-general of Rhode Island militia in 1855-57. He invented the Burnside breech-loading rifle in 1856, and was member of the Board of Visitors to the Military Academy the same year. He was cashier of the Land Department of the Illinois Central Railroad Company in 1858-59,and treasurer of the same railroad in i86o-6i.

At the commencement of the war of the Rebellion he was appointed colonel of Rhode Island Volunteers May 2, 1861, and served in defense of Washington in Patterson's operations about Cumberland, Maryland, and participated in the Manassas campaign, being engaged in the first battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. He was mustered out of service August 2, 1861.

On the 6th of August, 1861, he was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, and served in command of Provisional Brigade near Washington, and was then employed in organizing a Coast Division at Annapolis, Maryland, to January 8, 1862.

General Burnside was then placed in command of the Department of North Carolina, and was engaged in the battle and capture of Roanoke Island; attack of New Berne, North Carolina; attack on Camden and bombardment of Fort Macon, resulting in its capture April 26, 1862. For these affairs he received a sword of honor from the State of Rhode Island, in testimony of his services at Roanoke Island.

He was appointed major-general of volunteers March 18, 1862, and from July 6 to September 4, 1862, he was in command of the reinforcements to the Army of the Potomac, concentrated at Newport News, Virginia, and subsequently at Fredericksburg, constituting the Ninth Army Corps.

General Burnside participated in the Maryland campaign, in command of the right wing of the Army of the Potomac, and of the Ninth Corps, and was engaged in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam. Afterwards he had general charge of Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and Second and Twelfth Corps, until November 10, 1862, and on this date, while marching towards Falmouth, he was assigned to the command of the Army of the Potomac, relieving General McClellan. He commanded the Army of the Potomac in the battle of Fredericksburg, December 11-13, 1862, and in March, 1863, was relieved and ordered to the West, where he commanded the Department of the Ohio. He participated in the capture of Cumberland Gap and occupation of East Tennessee, and was engaged in the actions of Blue Springs and Lenoir, combat of Campbell's Station, and siege of Knoxville. He was engaged in recruiting the Ninth Army Corps from January 12 to April 13, 1864, and then commanded that corps in the Richmond campaign with the Army of the Potomac, being engaged in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Tolopotomy, Bethesda Church, and siege of Petersburg, including the Mine assault July 30, 1864. He was then on leave of absence and waiting orders to April 15, 1865, when he resigned his commission.

In 1864 General Burnside received the thanks of Congress for " gallantry, good conduct, and soldier-like endurance" in North Carolina and Fast Tennessee.

After leaving the service, General Burnside was director of the Illinois Central Railroad Company and in the Narragansett Steamship Company; president of the Cincinnati and Martinsville Railroad Company; of Rhode Island Locomotive Works at Providence; and of the Indianapolis and Vincennes Railroad Company. He was also governor and captain-general of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He was also U. S. Senator from that State, and died September 13, 1881.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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