(1824 - 1881)
Home State: Rhode Island
Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1847
Command Billet: Wing and Corps Commander
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: Ninth (IX) Army Corps
see his Battle Report
Pre-war profession: tailor; graduated USMA at West Point in 1847; saw duty in the Mexican war and on the frontier. He resigned from the US Army in 1853, then was a businessman and militia officer. In 1861 he organized the 1st Rhode Island Regiment and was its Colonel. He commanded a brigade at First Bull Run, and in August 1861 was appointed BGen of Volunteers. He led sucessful expeditions against the North Carolina coast and New Berne, and in March 1862 was promoted to MGen of Volunteers. He took command of the IX Corps after BGen. Reno was killed at South Mountain.
On the Campaign
Commanded the Federal Left Wing at Antietam, which consisted of his own Ninth (IX) Corps and Porter's Fifth (V) Corps. His task was to cross Antietam Creek and roll-up Lee's Right. He began his attack at about 10 AM, but couldn't get across the Lower (now "Burnside's") Bridge and take the heights until about 1 PM. He then paused to reform and rearm his troops, before advancing again on Sharpsburg at about 3 PM. He advanced steadily to near the town until he was stopped and driven back by the counterattack of A. P. Hill (just up from Harpers Ferry) at about 4 PM. For more detail, you might also want to see his Official Report about the campaign.
The rest of the War
Burnside was given command of The Army of the Potomac by President Lincoln in November 1862 and fought it at the disaster at Fredericksburg in December. He later commanded The Department of the Ohio (at Knoxville), and then the IX corps at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Petersburg, and the Crater. He was then relieved of command and resigned April 1865.
After the War
Post War Career: Governor, businessman, and US Senator.
More on the Web
For a more detailed biography see also the Burnside Biography at Shotgun's Civil War page.
5/23/1824; Liberty, IN
9/13/1881; Bristol, RI