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Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside




Born: May 23, 1864

Liberty, Indiana



Died: September 13, 1881

Providence, Rhode Island


West Point: 1847

Brevet 2nd Lieutenant: July 1847

Resigned Commission: 1853

Brig. Gen: Rhode Island Militia

Colonel: May 2, 1861

Brig. Gen: August 6, 1861

Maj. Gen: March 18, 1862

Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside

March 8, 1843: Accepts appointment to West Point

July 1, 1843: Enters the military academy as one of 53 cadets

June 1847: West Point Graduate - 18th in Class of 38

July 1847: Commissioned as Brevet 2d Lieutenant and assigned to 2nd U. S. Artillery - Traveled to Mexico City, but arrived after hostilities ended

September 8, 1847: Promoted to 2d Lieutenant and assigned to the 3d Artillery

Upon returning from the Mexican-American War, Burnside is assigned to Ft. Adams, Newport, RI.

December 10, 1849: Transferred and served two years on the Western Frontier under Captain Braxton Bragg

1849: Wounded by an arrow in the neck against the Apaches in Las Vegas, New Mexico

1850-1851: Office of Quartermaster of the Boundary Commission

September 1851: Bearer of Dispatches to Washington, D.C. While on the trip, he starts to invent a breech-loading rifle, which was vastly superior to any existing.

December 1851: Promoted to First Lieutenant

1852: Commander, Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island

April 27, 1852: Marries Mary Richmond Bishop of Providence

1853: Resigned commission in the U. S. Army to start the "Bristol Rifle Works"

1855: Recognized for his military ability, was placed in command as major-general of the volunteer-militia of the State

1856: Resigned his commission when the Governor dissolved a court-martial board Burnside had created

March 4, 1857: Becomes the Democratic candidate for Congress from Eastern District of Rhode Island

March 27, 1857: Letter in the Providence Post to the citizens of the Eastern Congressional District of Rhode Island

August 17, 1857: Testing of Breech Loading Weapons

April 27, 1858: After being ruined, Burnside accepts a job as "Cashier of the Railroad Land Office" for the Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago

June 1860: Appointed treasurer of the cooperation

April 15, 1861: Governor Sprague of Rhode Island sends a dispatch to Burnside stating, "A regiment of Rhode Island troops will go to Washington this week. How soon can you come on and take command?" He responds, "At once" and reported for duty the next morning.

April 16, 1861: Commissioned as Colonel of the First Regiment of Rhode Island Detached Militia

April 26, 1861: First Rhode Island Regiment is first organization that arrives in Washington fully "uniformed, armed, and supplied with provisions and ammunition for three weeks"

July 21, 1861: Battle of Manassas

August 6, 1861: Promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteers - Assigned to train provisional brigades in the new Army of the Potomac

September 1861: Burnside submits his plan for North Carolina to Gen. McClellan

Fall 1861: Burnside is instructed to secure the coast of North Carolina

November/December 1861: Making his headquarters in New York City, Burnside contracts for transportation, organizing troops, pursuing arms, ammunition and supplies

December 19, 1861: Burnside leaves New York to join his troops at Annapolis, Maryland

January 4, 1862: Orders for embarkation are given

January 5, 1862: Troops start embarking with them being totally onboard by the 8th

January 5, 1862: Burnside selects the gunboat Picket as his flagship for the expedition

January 9-10, 1862: The fleet leaves Annapolis for Fortress Monroe. Burnside and the gunboat Pickett arrive the morning of the 11th.

January 11, 1862: During the night the fleet leaves Fort Monroe with the gunboat Pickett leaving on the morning of the 12th

January 13 - July 10, 1862: Department of North Carolina​

January 14, 1862: Fleet is off Cape Hatteras, but it is not till the 17th that most vessels harbor in Pamlico Sound

An escaped slave from Roanoke Island walked into the camp at Hatteras Island and was interviewed by General Williams, who sent him to see Burnside.

February 7-8, 1862: Battle of Roanoke Island

February 26, 1862: Troops are ordered to be ready to embark for New Berne. It was not till March 6th when they started boarding transports. The last of the troops boarded on the 9th.

March 12, 1862: The fleet weighs anchor and heads for New Berne dropping anchor at Slocum's Creek, about fifteen miles south of New Berne.

March 23 - April 26, 1862: Battle of New Berne

March 18, 1862: Senate confirms nomination for Major General of Volunteers

March 18, 1862: Burnside and his troops advance as far as Carolina City, a few miles from Beaufort

Burnside decides to completely invest the fort by a combined attack by land and sea to force its surrender

March 23 - April 25, 1862: Siege of Fort Macon

McClellan send instructions to Burnside not to proceed into the interior of North Carolina until the Peninsula Campaign was settled

June 20, 1862: Burnside is presented an elegant sword by the Rhode Island General Assembly in New Berne

Late June 1862: Burnside is preparing to attack Goldsborough when he receives orders to reinforce McClellan

July 6, 1862: Burnside with 8,000 infantry leaves New Berne for the James River arriving on the 8th. This was essentially the end of Burnside's command in North Carolina and on August 26th relinquished all jurisdiction.

July 1862 - September 3, 1862: Division becomes the IX Corps, Army of the Potomac                            

July 22, 1862: IX Army Corps is formed

Early August: Command of the Army of the Potomac is offered to Burnside, but he declines

August 2, 1862: IX Corps embarks at Newport News landing the next night at Aquia Creek. They immediately proceeded towards Fredericksburg with 18,000 troops.

August 29-30, 1862: Second Battle of Bull Run

September 1862: Declined command of Army of the Potomac after Pope's failure at 2nd Battle of Manassas

September 1862: Maryland Campaign

November 7, 1862: Assigned command of Army of the Potomac, reluctantly

November - December 1862: Battle of Fredericksburg

January 1863: 2nd Offensive against Gen. Lee, but was bogged down due to weather -- Burnside offered to resign and was replaced by MGen. Joseph Hooker -- Assigned command Department of the Ohio and his IX Corps

Knoxville Campaign

September 8-10, 1863: Capture of Cumberland Gap

November 16, 1863: Battle of Campbell's Station

May 1864: Overland Campaign

May 5-7, 1864: Battle of the Wilderness

May 7-20, 1864: Spotsylvania Campaign

May 12, 1864: Battle of Cold Harbor

May 26-30, 1864: Battle of Totopotomy Creek

June - July 1864: Siege of Petersburg

June 25 - July 30, 1864: Petersburg Mine Assault

August 14, 1864: Relieved of command following the disastrous result of the Mine Assault

April 15, 1865: Resigned his commission

May 1866 - May 1869: Three one-year terms as Governor of Rhode Island

1874 - 1881: U. S. Senator from Rhode Island till his death

Boatner, Mark M. III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: David McKay, 1967. p 107-108

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State, 1964. p 57-58

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