General Ambrose Burnside


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 29, 1862

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General Burnside

General Burnside

Burnside's Movements

Burnside's Movements

Abraham Lincoln Sabbath

Lincoln Requests Sabbath Observed


Warrenton, Virginia


The Passaic

McClellan's Departure

McClellan's Departure


Buchanan Cartoon


Thoroughfare Gap

Thoroughfare Gap

Civil War Thanksgiving

Winslow Home, Civil War Thanksgiving

Cavalry Battle

Cavalry Battle

McClellan's Farewell

McClellan's Farewell



VOL. VI.—No. 309.]





Entered according to Act of Congress. in the Year 1802, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


THE portrait of General BURNSIDE, which accompanies these lines, will introduce the reader to the face and figure of one of the most gallant of our soldiers—the Commander of the Army of the Potomac. It is from a photograph by Brady.

Major-General Ambrose Everitt Burnside was born of Scotch parents, at Liberty, Union county, Indiana, on 23d May, 1821, and is consequently in his thirty-ninth year. He entered West Point in 1842, graduated in 1847, eighteenth in a class of 38, and was appointed to the artillery. He accompanied Bragg's Battery throughout the Mexican war, and with it entered the city of Mexico. At the close of the Mexican war Lieutenant Burnside was detailed for duty against the Apaches in New Mexico, and served some two years in frontier warfare. In 1852 the was appointed to the command of Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island, and while there he married Miss Bishop of Providence. In 1853 he resigned his rank in the army, and devoted his time and energy to the manufacture of the famous rifle which bears his name. When Buchanan was elected to the Presidency, his Secretary of War, Floyd, agreed with Burnside to arm a large portion of the army with his rifle, and induced him to establish extensive factories for its manufacture. The works were no sooner complete than another gunmaker offered Floyd pecuniary inducements to break his contract with Burnside, who was ruined in consequence. Assigning all his property to his creditors, Burnside came to this city without a dollar, sold his sword and uniform in Chatham Street., and went West in search of employment. He found it in the office of the Illinois Central, where, as soon as his energies and capacity became known, he received a salary of $2000 a year. Of this suns he paid one half regularly to his creditors, until by the help of a timely legacy he was enabled to liquidate his debts in full.

The outbreak of the rebellion found him at work in the office of the Illinois Central at New York. His opinions on the state and prospects of the country had been frankly expressed not only to his friends here, but to the leading citizens of New Orleans, which city he visited in February, 1861. He told the Southerners that they were going to plunge the country into a terrible war, in which they would be crushed ; and, like Banks, he constantly strove to impress upon the minds of his Northern friends his belief that the war was no such child's play as Mr. Seward and others wished us to believe. When the call for troops was issued on 15th April, he tendered his services to the Governor of his adopted State—Rhode Island—and was appointed Colonel of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment. At the head of this and other regiments, with the rank of Brigadier-General, he fought, and fought well, at Bull Run. He wept bitter tears that night at the result, which, in his opinion, might

have been avoided by better management. On the appointment of General McClellan to the Supreme Command, Burnside was appointed Brigadier-General, and was charged with the duty of brigading the new levies as they arrived at Washington. He and McClellan were old friends, had served side by side in the office of the Illinois Central, and loved and trusted each other. In November, 1861, General Burnside set sail with his expedition for North Carolina. His brilliant triumphs, at Roanoke, Newbern, and Fort Macon are matters of history;

they proved him to he not only an able and skillful but a lucky General. His administration of affairs in North Carolina was characterized by judgment and sagacity.

After the six days' battles before Richmond, Burnside was summoned to the aid of the Army of the Potomac, and arrived at Newport News with the bulk of his army. He was soon after dispatched to Fredericksburg, and, subsequently to the defeats at Centreville and Bull Run, was given the command of a corps in the Army of the Potomac.

He led the advance in the march of that army through Maryland, and at the battle of Antietam commanded at the post of danger—the Bridge The field charge which carried the Bridge was led by the General in person.

When it was decided to remove General McClellan, General Burnside's appointment to the vacant post followed as a matter of course. That he accepted it with reluctance can well be imagined ; indeed it is known that he declined it twice. His esteem for General McClellan was unbounded. It

will always be remembered to his honor that in the dark days of last winter, when every one was complaining of McClellan's inactivity, Burnside almost turned the tide by writing a letter in which he generously conceded the credit of his own victories to McClellan's plans.

General Burnside, as his portrait shows, is a very handsome man. Tall and stout, with a flashing eye and a sonorous voice, the looks the very beau-ideal of a soldier.

It is pleasant to know that. Burnside enjoys the utmost confidence and affection of the General whom lie replaces. McClellan spoke hopefully of him when he heard of his appointment. " Burnside," he said, "is the best and honestest of men. He is no Mr. Pope. He will do a great deal better than you expect." On 8th they were all day closeted together. When he had given him his plans, M'Clellan signified his intention of leaving the field immediately to report at Trenton, in compliance with the order. Burnside, reluctant to part with him so soon, urged him to remain a little longer—the interest of the country demanded that he should. "Well," said M'Clellan, to some officers around him, "I'll remain just as long as Burn wants me." "No you won't," replied Burnside, "for if you do you will remain with us altogether."

The Times correspondent says: "For an hour previous to M'Clellan's departure officers poured into the car in a stream to bid him farewell. Burnside and he sat on the seat together in earnest, confidential intercourse. At length all had gone, and Burnside rose to leave. It was an interesting moment. M'Clellan held out his hand, and Burnside seized it; warmly in both his. M'Clellan then placed his hand on the shoulder of his brother General, and with a. look full of unutterable things spoke a brief parting sentence to him, which is his legacy, and not the public's."

Another correspondent says: "Congratulated on his elevation by an acquaintance, Burnside firmly replied, 'That, Sir, is the last thing on which I wish to be congratulated.' When, on Friday at midnight, the order assigning him to the command was brought from Washington he was deeply moved, and, going over immediately to General M'Clellan's headquarters, they sat up together in consultation during the whole night. This morning early I saw him walking up and down the balcony of the hotel which he makes his head-quarters in an absorbed, distraught condition, seemingly overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility resting upon him."

General Burnside is in command of the largest and finest army ever raised in America. We forbear to give an estimate of the numbers, but we may say that there are very few battlefields in the world on which so huge an army could be drawn up in line of battle. Perhaps Napoleon fought the battle of Solferino with fewer men. This great army has recently been subdivided into three

grand divisions, namely : Right Grand Division, commanded by Gen. Edwin V. Sumner, consisting of the second and ninth corps, previously commanded by Generals Sunmer and Burnside; Left Grand Division, commanded by General William B. Franklin, consisting of the first and sixth corps, previously commanded by Generals Hooker and Franklin; the Center Grand Division, commanded by Major-General Joseph Hooker, consisting of the third and fifth corps, heretofore commanded by Generals Heintzelman and Fitz John (Next Page)


General Ambrose Burnside

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