<BGSOUND SRC="http://gmierka.tripod.com/music/Salley_Guarden.wma">
U. S. Major General Ambrose Everett Burnside

Painting: A. E. Burnside
Massachusetts MOLLUS Commandery I.D.# 00889

National and International Statsman;
Rhode Island United States Senator, 1875-1881; Rhode Island Governor 1866-1869, U.S. Major General of the Army;
Industrialist-Inventor; Respected and admired by President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton;
3rd Commander-in-Chief of the National GAR (twice elected) 1871-1873; Prominant member of MOLLUS;
Hailed by the officers and enlisted men of his U.S. Army 9th Corps as well as all Rhode Island Civil War Veterans;
Respected by many of his former Confederate adversaries;
Loved by the overwhelming majority of the People of his State.

"Rhode Island's Own"   Part One

A Biography By: G. A. Mierka

Selected by Wikipedia as a primary resource on the life and career of Ambrose E. Burnside


Rhode Island's Own BY RI MOLLUS

Welcome to the Major General Ambrose Everett Burnside Civil War Home Page Biography, "Part One" of the series, "Rhode Island's Own".    This Webpage was written and designed by Gregg A. Mierka and is provided by the following Civil War organizations: The Rhode Island State Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States; the Rhode Island Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Elisha Dyer Camp No.7; the Rhode Island Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Civil War Museum, inc.; and the Rhode Island Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Elisha Dyer Auxiliary No.2.    Please try all our links to get to these Websites and the RI GAR Museum Webpages of Battery A, (Arnold's Battery), 1st Regiment R.I. Light Artillery; the 1st R.I. Volunteer Infantry; plus the Website of the R.I. Re-enactors Association, 2nd R.I. Volunteer Infantry; and the Website of Battery F, 1st Regiment R.I. Light Artillery, Newport Artillery, R.I.M.    This page was also created to clarify historical in-accuracies about General Burnside's military career 1861 to 1865, and to honor his great legacy of superior patriotism, statesmanship and public service.

HUZZAH !  For the first time, in 2003, the Rhode Island Civil War Hereditary Organizations listed above have successfully nominated Ambrose E. Burnside and other important people who made extraordinary contributions to the State and Nation, to the Rhode Island Hall of Fame.    This was the first time that anyone of the Civil War Period had ever been successfully nominated and installed.    Click HERE to find out more.


      What you are about to read is a portion of the great and timeless story of America.    It is a story about a soldier's duty, honor, love of country and 'Hope' for the future.    "Rhode Island's Own", is a series of biographies about Ocean Staters who stepped forward to answer the call to defend the Nation, under its National Flag of Columbia and their State's banner and motto, Hope, during The War of the Rebellion (The Civil War) 1861 to 1866.    Each biography of the Rhode Island's Own series is drawn from the memoirs, books and quotes conveyed by those who experienced the tragedies and triumphs of the period.    This Internet version of Rhode Island's Own: Part I, is a snapshot or vignette about a unique individual, Ambrose E. Burnside, including the impressions and insights of those who knew him very well.    The Rebellion put the United States through a period of great trauma, to the likes and times of which the American People have never endured before or since.    The war took the lives of at least 624,000 American soldiers, untold numbers of Americans were injoured and the conflict caused millions of dollars in damage to the country, at a time when the American population totalled only about 30 million people.    One out of every three Americans were affected in some way.    In their typically unselfish character as parents and veterans, most of the men and women of Burnside's generation, North and South, who lived beyond the period, to their final days, simply called it, "The Late Unpleasantness".

If Rhode Island's Nathanael Greene is the Greatest Forgotten Patriot in American History,
Then Let It Be Said Rhode Island's Ambrose E. Burnside is Probably the Most Misunderstood and Often Maligned Patriot in American History

A Man of Destiny

Liberty Indiana Burnside the Businessman Burnside Tailor Shop
Images Left to Right:
View of Liberty Indiana, ca 1840
Ambrose E. Burnside, President of the Bristol Rifle Works, ca. 1856.
Burnside's Tailor Shop in Liberty Indiana, ca. 1842.  The small building in the middle.
Unfortunately the artist forgot to draw the horse hitching rail in front....

Young Amby Burnside: The Early Years
The Start of a Colorful, at Times Controversial,
but always Honorable Career

      Ambrose Everett (Everts) Burnside, (Amby) the 4th child of Edghill and his first wife Pamelia (Brown) Burnside, was born in a 'Hoosier State' log cabin on May 23,1824, and grew up in Franklin County, Liberty, Indiana.    His father, Edghill Burnside, was born in 1790, in Laurens County South Carolina.    Amby's father made his career as a well respected attorney and a probate judge of Indiana's Franklin County region and for a time served in the Indiana State Legislature.    Edghill fathered 14 children with two wives.    He had 9 children with Pamelia Brown who died at the age of 45 of unknown frailties.    Then after remarying his second wife Jane Dill, Edghill fathered 5 more children.    The children of Edghill and Pamelia Burnside in the first family were: 1. Cynthia Ann Burnside, born June 4, 1815, (who married Benjamin Gould November 20, 1832 and died July 10, 1879); 2. Henrietta Burnside, born May 21, 1817, (who married Norman Ross, November 26, 1840 and died March 7, 1847); 3. Henry M. Burnside, born September 15, 1819, (who married Camilla Cornell November 18, 1845, and died on August 9, 1874); 4. Ambrose Everts (Everett) Burnside, born May 23, 1824, (who married Mary R. Bishop); 5. Benjamin F. Burnside, born May 30, 1826, who married Lydia Ann Zoudst and died November 16, 1831; 6. Ellen W. Burnside, born October 30, 1829; 7. Thomas Brown Burnside, born July 11, 1832 and died Aplril 9, 1833; 8. Harrison E. Burnside, born May 28, 1828 and died April 13, 1835; and 9. William Brown Burnside, born May 24, 1838 and died September 7, 1838.    The parents of Amby's mother (Edghill's first wife), Pamelia Brown, were John Brown of Belfast, Ireland, and Sarah Weeks a native of Maryland.    Pamelia and her parents also lived in Laurens District (or County) South Carolina.    Amby's parents (Edghill and Pamelia) were married on July 14, 1814.    Edghill and Amby came from a long line of distinguished men of the military.    Amby's great grand father Robert Burnside, of Scotland (1757) and his great grand father's brother Joseph Burnside were involved in the great uprising in Scotland (the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie).    Colonel Robert Burnside, patriarch of the Burnsides, was a supporter of England and the British Crown.    He faught on the side of the British but fled Scotland to America to avoid disgrace and persecution among his neighbors after the Scottish Rebellion.

      By 1776, although Great Grandfather Colonel Robert Burnside was a Tory who still supported the British and the King during the American Revolutionary War, Amby's grandfather James Burnside (son of Col. Robert Burnside of Scotland) was an officer who fought in the "Light Horse Cavalry" with Col. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee and Francis Marion under General Nathanael Greene (of Rhode Island, the highest ranking General under George Washington) in the southern campaigns of the American Revolutionary War.    This caused a split in the Burnside family.    After the Revolutionary War, Amby's father, Edghill (son of James), indulged himself in what he called the, "Peculiar practice of a Quaker"---a "Free Quaker".    Although not a member of the "Society of Friends", Edghill, a southerner by birth, was not at all supportive of the unrestricted practice of slavery or any form of servitude (voluntary or involuntary).    In a radical Pro-Slavery State like South Carolina prior to the Civil War, given his political, social and moral views about the southern institution of slavery, Edghill knew he had to re-settle in a land free from such things.    Ambrose acquired his values and convictions on the matter from his father.    Edghill , a large framed, tenaciously stubbern man, was enticed by the exploits of his older brother James, who surveyed the unsettled Post War of 1812 frontier territory of Indiana; so he migrated his family to the Ohio Valley around 1823, and eventually settled in Liberty around 1829.    As with Amby's grandfather's experiences with Nathanael Greene, fate would evenyually bring another Burnside (Ambrose) to historically connect with Rhode Island again in the future.

      Amby recieved his first and "true" middle name "Everts" from Dr. Sylvanus Everts, who delivered Amby.    The doctor's wife was Amby's mother's dearest friend.    Doctor and Mrs. Everts lost their first child, named Ambrose Everts, a few months before Amby Burnside was born.    They cared and looked upon Amby as their own when he was an infant.    As a young boy growing up in the frontier town of Liberty, Amby was like an adopted son or God Child to doctor and Mrs. Everts.    To date there is no record or mention of Dr. and Mrs. Everts found in Amby's teenage years.    Perhaps they died or moved away.

      When Amby was old enough to begin his education at first he attended a local one-room country schoolhouse typical of where the Burnsides lived.    Since Amby was forth among eight other siblings with a burgeoning personality similar to his mother, Pamelia Burnside tended to favor Amby somewhat, probably due to the meaning of his name and to keep him from feeling as though he was a bit lost in the shuffle amidst so large a family.    Amby seemed to her to be the brightest of her children.    Pamelia entertained the notion that Amby should some day attend The Miami University (of Ohio), back then according to Benjamin Poore.    Miami of Ohio seemed by most to be the region's favored school of higher learning except Pamelia concluded, "the teachers at the college could claim no superiority over those in Liberty".    She therefore pulled Amby out of regular school after only about two years of attendance and sent him to a local seminary school headed by Dr. Houghton, who like the Burnsides, was a Quaker, a preacher of their faith and an outstanding former Professor at Miami University.    In Dr. Houghton's words Amby came "To be an obedient scholar and a faithful student".    For the short amount of years Amby spent at the seminary he in effect gained a private higher quality education, which by far out-paced the level of education acquired by most boys his age, well exceeding the knowledge necessary for Amby's future matriculation to any top school of higher learning.    However, his interests seemed to steer him toward the military and the adventure of the far west, so Pamelia wanted as much of this as possible for her son.

      On May 19, 1841, Pamelia Burnside suddenly died of unknown causes, which devastated both Amby and her husband Edghill.    Pamilia had a deep and profound effect on her young son.    Amby took after her in personality and demeanor.    Due to his mother's love and encouragement to follow his dreams, and his family history, Ambrose Burnside as a young boy became determined to develop his interests further in the military sciences.    He sought to make the military a career like his grandfather and great grandfather at a very early age, but family circumstances at first made his dream appear very unlikely.

      After the loss of Pamilia, compounded by the stress of raising a large family and furthering a career, his father must have sunk to a low point of depression and dispair due to Pamilia's untimely death.    By all accounts it appears at first Edghill Burnside must have had a difficult time for the proper care of all his children.    Given his father's strong views on slavery and servitude, ironically Amby for a short time was sent to work as an indentured servant for John E. Dunham, a small clothing mill owner and merchant-tailor, to learn a trade.    This experience had a positive effect on Amby's personality and molded his sence of engenuity and service to others in later life.

      While working for Dunham, Amby learned to use his hands and he acquired the basic mechanical skills for repairing loombs and other machinery.    By his early teens he became a very practicle, likable, inventive and jovial young man, but one who valued highly the benefits of hard work.    When full-grown Amby stood about six feet in height, being somewhat stocky in build, taking after his father.    His hair was brown and he was fair of complexion with hazel colored eyes like his mother.    Ambrose also had a very personable and a gentleman's quality that came to him naturally.    Those who knew him well in Indiana said he was quite often fun to be around.    His friends were absolutely amazed at how hard Amby drove himself.    Everyone marvelled that Amby was still 'sharp as a tack' even with only 3 or 4 hours of sleep each night, which was normal for Amby.    Dunham liked Amby so much he helped him, at age 17, set up his own tailor's shop after Amby's obligated time of servitude was completed.    Amby Burnside gave his work his all, but longed for the adventures, risks and excitment of military service on the Un-tamed American Western Frontier.    His father thought Amby was a bit too affable (like his mother) for such things, but was supportive of his son's goals in life, what ever they may be.

      It took allot to get Amby's dander up, a trait Edghill thought incompatible with the rigors of military discipline.    He changed his mind about his son when one day he caught wind of a drunken customer that came in to Amby's tailor shop looking for trouble.    The man was a nasty kind of a drunk, extremely abusive to Amby as well as everyone in his shop.    At one point in the affair, Amby finally having enough, grabbed the man by the collar of his shirt and the seat of his pants and litterally picked him up and threw him through the front door.    To everyone's surprise, and applause, Amby threw the man out the door so hard the man went flying head first past the wooden walkway in front of the shop, completely over the horse hitching rail, and out in to the middle of the muddy street laced in many spots with horse dung, making a humorous and justifiable sliding splat.

      As fate would have it, on another day while working in his tailor shop, Amby just so happened to be demonstrating a lesson in standard military tactics to a friend, using buttons like soldiers neatly arranged on the counter-top of his tailor's shop to show the correct military manouver to move men from echelon in to line.    Just then Indiana Congressman Caleb B. Smith walked in and recognized right away what Amby was doing.    Smith, amused by Amby's way of showing tactics remarked, "Son you should be in the military, not here".    Questioning Amby further, the Congressman realized Amby could also quote the U.S. Army manual, "Cooper's Military Tactics", chapter and verse.    At that point the Congressman became serious and said, "You should be a cadet at West Point".    Years later Burnside said, "Those remarks changed my life".    Fortunately for Amby, that same year his father, Judge Edghill Burnside, was elected to the Indiana State Legislature.    At last his father had the means to do something good for his son and wrote to President John Tyler's Secretary of War, William Wilkins, to recommend Amby for an appointment to West Point.    To get in to West Point Amby needed Congressional recommendations.    Unfortunately for Amby, Smith had quarrelled with President Tyler in Congress, so his recommendation would serve no useful purpose for Amby's chances of exceptance at West Point.    But Smith's "unsuccessful" Congressional apponent, Judge C. H. Test, a friend of Edghill as well as the President, backed Amby's appointment request.    Eventually the request was also backed by everyone in both houses of the Indiana State Legislature, so Amby (age 19) closed his little shop for good and went off to study four years at West Point.

West Point Cadet Burnside
Class of 1847

Old West Point Cadet Chapel
Cadet Ambrose Burnside
View of the Hudson
Images Left to Right:
The Long Gray Line Old Cadet Chapel at West Point
Rare photo of Ambrose Everts "Everett" Burnside as a West Point Cadet, ca. 1846.
The image was taken when he was Captain of Cadets.
A view of the Hudson River from West Point, N.Y.

      So in 1843, Amby was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.    When admitted his middle name was recorded on the freshman roster in error.    Ambrose "Everts" Burnside became Ambrose 'Everett' Burnside.   It seems that Amby, just like fellow Cadet 'Hiram Ulysess Grant' (also mistakenly recorded as Ulysess S. or U.S. Grant), likewise decided the error was unimportant; so, like Grant, Amby kept his new name change for the rest of his life.   Both men were actually amuzed that such mistakes could happen at America's greatest military academy.

West Point Comrades

Ulysses S Grant Harry Heth George McClellan Jonesy Mitch Withers
Images Left to Right:
Burnside's West Point friend Hiram Ulysses Grant of Illinios, who due to a mistake
on the Cadet Roster became Ulysses Simpson Grant.
Burnside's baracks-dormitory room mate at The Point, Henry "Harry" Heth.
Burnside's West Point friend George Brinton McClellan, who took full advantage of Burnside's good nature.
Jonesy Mitch Withers, of Alabama, who was a prankster cadet like Amby.
All were veterans of the War with Mexico.
Burnside tried to convince Heth and Withers, his close Southern Comrades at "The Point",
that Secession would ruin the South, they all loved.

      At 'The Point' Burnside lived in North Baracks No. 8.    His room mate was Harry Heth, who twenty years later commanded a Division under A.P. Hill and launched the first Rebel attack on day one at Gettysburg against Buford's Union Cavalry deployed on McPhereson's Ridge.    Among Burnside's close friends and fellow cadets in his class and the classes of 44, 45, 46 and 48 were cadets George McClellan, Winfield (Winnie) Hancock, Romey Ayers, Sam Grant, Darie Couch, Johnny Parke, Al Pleasanton, Fitz Porter, Johnny Hatch, Gordy Granger, Davie Russell, Johnny Foster, Jesse Reno, George Stoneman, Al Gibbs, Speed Frye, Johnny Gibbon (an artillery wizzard), Charlie Griffin, Bert Viele, Gus De Russy, Jimmy Duane, Freddie Dent, Johnny Tidball, Quince Gilmore, Billy Barksdale, Sal Baird, Tom (later Stonewall) Jackson, Simon Bullie Buckner, Bernie Bee, Tom Rhett, Orie Willcox, Sam Maxey, Georgie Pickett, Amby (A. P.) Hill, Harry Heth, and Jonesy Mitch Withers.    Burnside thrived on his experiences at West Point.    In his fouth year at The Point, Burnside was appointed Captain of Cadets due to outstanding merit and knowledge of military discipline.    He and his comrades developed what they all assumed at the time to be a bond of close friendship as Brothers in Arms for life under America's "Flag of Columbia", the true name of the stars and stripes or U.S. National Flag first approved by George Washington, and which represents the Federal Government of the United States of America in Washington D.C.    As Captain of Cadets, Burnside enjoyed commanding the morning cadet color guard for the daily flag raising ritual at dawn or 5 a.m.    After dismissing his detail he would often stand alone for a time in deep thought just staring at the flag waving in the breeze.

      A. E. Burnside graduated "18th" in his class, a class of 38 extremely talented men, in 1847.    Sylvanus Thayer, the most famous Commandant-Superintendent in the history of the academy, recognized Burnside as one of the remarkably brightest cadets in his class, even though academic life at The Piont was hard at times for him.    In the following disciplines Burnside placed 24th in his class in Engineering, 26th in Ethics, 18th in Artillery Tactics, 8th in Infantry Tactics, 29th in Geology and 18th in General Merit, or the top 1/3 of his class.    His good friend George Pickett finished dead last in their class in all disciplines including General Merit.    Burnside might have done a bit better in school, but he was the prankster of the group and considered most inventive.    Burnside and Heth played their fair share of practical jokes on new cadets, and they both recieved their fair share of demerits for that, but everyone well understood the serious side of Burnside as a talented furture soldier.    Of all the cadets living in North Baracks No. 8, Tom Jackson appeared to be the strangest.    He was considered an "eccentric hypochondriac", constantly worrying about an imagined affliction of paralysis in his right arm, which could only be remedied by moving his arm up and down like a "pump handle" for relief if he accidently ate anything seasoned with pepper.    Needless to say Tom's fellow cadets took full advantage of his unusual oddities.    Captain of Cadets Burnside was abliged to keep the constant teasing of poor Tom down to a dull roar.    By some accounts Tom must have appreciated that, because Jackson and Burnside respected each other and were good friends at West Point.    Both were religious men, although Jackson more so.    Since Burnside was in the top 1/3 of his class, as was (is) tradition, he was given a choice of the branch of service he wanted to serve in the U.S. Army for his first tour of duty--engineers or artillery.    Burnside chose artillery and was sent (upon his graduation) to join General Winfield Scott's expeditionary forces at Vera Cruz and thereby participate in the War with Mexico.

War In Mexico
The Apache Wars

U.S. General of the Army Winfield Scott
Apache Chief Mangas Coloradas Superintendent Sylvanus Thayer
Photos left to right:
U.S. General of the Army, Major General Winfield Scott;

The Great Mimbreno Apache War Chief, Mangas Coloradas;

and the Dean of all West Point Superintendents, Sylvanus Thayer.

      Burnside was Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Army Regulars, and attached to Captain Braxton Bragg's 3rd U.S. Artillery on July 1, 1847.    President James Knox Polk had formed an army of about 100,000 men to invade Mexico from two points, Texas and the Gulf Coast of Mexico at Vera Cruz.    General Zachary Taylor led the Expeditionary Forces launched from Texas, and General Winfield Scott with the largest force led a combined U.S. Naval and Army amphibious assault at Vera Cruz, aimed at Mexico's capitol city by way of the Gulf of Mexico, from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Off to War with Santa Ana:
The Dictator of Mexico's Andalusian Class

Braxton Bragg
Santa Ana
Ambrose Burnside
Images Left to Right:
Captain Braxton Bragg, Commander of Company C, 3rd U.S. Artillery.
Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, Dictator of Mexico, ca. 1847.
Lieutenant Ambrose E. Burnside, ca. 1848.
NOTE: The 3rd U.S. Artillery was originally deployed under General Zachary Taylor in northern Mexico,
then transferred to General Winfield Scott's army in central Mexico,
where Burnside reported for duty.

      Burnside's route to the combat theater in Mexico was a long and arduous trip, which itself was packed with adventure and some danger.    His means of travel were by Rail, then by Stagecoach, then by Riverboat down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, from West Point to New Orleans.    Along the way Burnside and a West Point friend as gentlemen officers took it upon themselves to stand guard to protect three nuns and two jewelry dealers from river ruffians and robbers led by the feared and notorious gangster, a river-rat named 'Bloody Burt' Mackey.    Burnside actually met up with Mackey face to face aboard a riverboat on the Ohio River and made his intentions clear that he would protect his fellow travelers from Mackey and his robbers.    Mackey just smiled at Burnside but instantly pegged him to be an easy mark, so he turned two of his secret card sharks loose on Burnside in a 'friendly game' of euchre aboard the steamboat.    In Benjamin Perley Poore's Biography on Burnside, he noted Burnside made the trip to Mexico from West Point at his own expense.    Mackey's men faked losing hands then suckered the young Lieutenant in to a higher stakes game and cleaned Burnside out of all his money, which he needed to complete his trip to Mexico.    A kinder patriotic stranger assisted Burnside when they arrived in Louisville, giving him the funds he needed to finish his trip to the battlefront.    In 1862, during the Union Expedition in North Carolina, (then) General Burnside received a letter from the man's wife stating her son (a little boy when Burnside last saw) was a private and prone to sickness, serving in the 9th Corps.    Burnside wrote the mother saying he found her son, took him under his wing by promoting the boy to Lieutenant and assigned him to safe duty.

      When he arrived in New Orleans, he was reimbursed a specified sum for his mileage by the U.S. Army Paymaster.    However, by the time he reached New Orleans he heard the news that General Winfield Scott had taken Mexico City, after several hard fought victories.    Still, Burnside and other officers and enlisted men with him, caught a fast wind-sloop to report for duty at Vera Cruz, an ocean port on the Central Gulf Mexican Coast.    Burnside traveled from West Point to Pittsburgh, to Louisville, to New Orleans, to Vera Cruz, to Mexico City.    At Vera Cruz, he reported to Captain Bragg, commander of the 3rd U.S. Artillery, which was converted to cavalry.    Although most of Burnside's war service was involved with supply, he received several commendations for his brave actions guarding the trains against superior numbers of Mexican gorilla bands trying to chip away at General Scott's badly stretched supply lines, which carried critically needed material to keep the American Army sustained after Santa Ana surrendered his forces in Mexico City.    The American Occupation of Mexico prior to a formal U.S. and Mexico signed peace treaty was by far equally as dangerous as Scottís original campaign.    The occupation was unpleasant for everyone.    American troops wanted to go home.

      Young officers like Burnside and his friend Ulysses Grant began to see the war as a less than honorable affair, and a slick means, encouraged by President Polk, to extend Southern-American slavery from Texas west to the Pacific Ocean.    Although victory was sweet, moral was sinking.    Plus, General Scott often quarreled with his subordinate Generals, a situation noticed by all lower ranking officers.    But during this time, Scott took a keen notice at young junior officers like Burnside, removed from Army politics, who were risking their lives maintaining military communications from Mexico City with Vera Cruz and Washington D.C., and keeping his army of temporary occupation supplied.    Finally orders were received to return State-side.    Bragg and Burnsideís unit was converted back to artillery, ending Burnsideís experiences in the War with Mexico.    Once back State-side, Burnside and his good friend George B. McClellan, both war veterans, stopped in Chicago and shared an apartment together for a brief period before reporting for new duty.    In Chicago the two became the fascination of young ladies of 'Windy City' high society.    Having his fill of social intrigue, after McClellan stole the fancy of a few attractive females Burnside had been seeing, he rejoined his unit when it was sent to Fort Adams near Newport, Rhode Island.

The Troubled Times

      The Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo ended Americaís War with General Santa Ana in Mexico.    The U.S. Government quickly organized the Mexican Boundary Commission.    The U.S. Army built Fort Defiance to protect the Butterfield or Oxbow Mail and Stagecoach line, which ran through the heart of Navajo and Apache Country (southern Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico).    By the end of 1849, the Hon. John Russell Bartlett of Rhode Island replaced John C. Fremont as commissioner in charge of surveying the new boundary between Mexico and the United States.    Men like Winfield Scott, John Bartlett and Kit Carson admired young Lieutenant Burnside for his tuff perseverance and his keen and creative military skills, as well as his wit and friendly demeanor, so he was sent to the frontier, a fulfillment of all of Amby's dreams as a boy.

      After the War with Mexico all Southwestern Indian Tribes were forced to sign new treaties with the U.S. Government, which did not recognize their former treaties with Santa Ana and Mexico.    The U.S. Boundary Commission established its headquarters at Santa Rita del Cobre where copper mines were formerly located, until the miners were driven away by Apaches under the Great Mimbreno Gila Apache War Chief Mangas Coloradas.    Chief Coloradas had treated honestly with U.S. officials in the 1846 agreement that settled Apache Lands, but the 1848-49 California Gold Rush changed everything.    Americans had encroached on all Apache, Ute, Southern Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa and Navajo Indian Lands.    Miners and settlers invaded their territories in great numbers.    In 1849, miners attacked the Apache village of Chief Coloradas near the Pinos Altos mining camp.    The brutal miners captured Chief Coloradas and tied him to a pole, then beat him severely, leaving him for dead.    Afterwards he was recovered by his followers and Coloradas began a series of parlays with the Navajo Indian Tribe, the Mescalero Apaches, the Jicarilla Apaches, the Bands of the Capote and the Muache Ute Indians, events known thereafter as the 'Troubled Times'.    The result was a formidable force that blocked all travel and communication between the Eastern United States and California by route of the southwestern trails.    Although the Indian Tribes were justified in their anger, the situation could not be tolerated by the U.S. Government in Washington D.C.

      On December 10, 1849, General of the Army, Winfield Scott ordered Burnside to duty in the Nevada Territory to command a detachment of Captain Braxton Bragg's 3rd U.S. Light Artillery, converted to cavalry guarding the western mail routes to California through Nevada.    Lieutenant Burnside won a promotion when he led his men, out numbered almost 3 to one, against a fierce band of Apaches trying to stop passage to the west.    Rather than retreat he attacked the hostiles killing and capturing about a third of the warriors against him and took away all their provisions and ponies; effectively neutralizing their threat to western communications.    He was then ordered to the small settlement at Las Vegas commanded by Captain Judd, where Burnside led his unit on several long distance scouting parties, guarding mail riders and stage lines that were routed along the trails from Nevada to New Mexico.    On a few occasions Burnside and his troopers delivered messages from Las Vegas to San Antonio.    Time after time his troopers rescued several parties attacked by hostile Indians and buried those who could not be saved.    On one such occasion Burnside wrote a chilling detailed report about an attack that his troop found while on patrol.    He and his scouts identified all Indian Bands involved by the markings of the large amount of arrows strewed on the ground.    Then on August 16, 1850, a party of about 60 Apaches appeared at the settlement at Las Vegas trying to trade furs for gunpowder, muskets and ammunition.    Captain Judd refused to trade with them and sent Burnside in pursuit to arrest the Chiefs and break up their band.    Judd hated them because he thought they were a part of a party of Apaches that had falsely treated for peace earlier at Taos, New Mexico, then raided the country side.    Lieutenant Burnside and his troopers shadowed the band to their camp, then attacked and arrested all the Apache Chiefs and returned them to Captain Judd, who promptly executed them without any credible evidence of their guilt; an act that deeply disturbed Burnside.    In the end it touched off in earnest the first of the Great Apaches Indian Wars that lasted on and off for 34 years, ending five years after Burnside's death on September 5, 1886, with the surrender of Geranimo to General Nelson A. Miles commanding the famous 5th U.S. Regiment.

      During the hostilities of 1849-52, Lieutenant Burnside led his mounted troopers on several expeditions in the lands between the Sierra Nevada and Santa Rita Mountains, against the Apache, Navajo and Ute Indians.    He became an expert on how the Indians fought and grew to understand and appreciate their cultures.    For example Burnside wrote about the Apache method of long distance communication at Apache Pass; their smoke signals---a communication process that reminded Burnside of 'Rhode Island Clam Bakes'---digging a hole in the ground---lighting a fire in the hole---gently smothering the fire by covering it with leaves---then venting it in such a way to allow puffs of smoke in different forms to rise high in the air.    Burnside's actions in the Southwest gained him a reputation in the military that would become valuable 10 years later.    On March 16, 1852, Lieutenant Burnside was ordered by General Winfield Scott to return to duty at Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island, ending his military career as an Indian Fighter.

The Move To Rhode Island

Mary Bishop
Burnside's Home in Providence Edghill Burnside
Photos left to right:
Miss Mary Bishop, of Bristol Rhode Island, who became the Generalís Wife;

Home of Ambrose and Mary Burnside 312 Benefit St., Providence, RI;

and Judge, Edghill Burnside, of Liberty Indiana, the Generalís Father.

      After the War with Mexico Burnside was sent briefly to Fort Adams, a bastion in Newport, Rhode Island.    He met Miss Mary Bishop one evening at a Militia Ball held at the Old Armory in Providence, hosted by a local State unit, called the Providence Marine Corps of Artillery (PMCA), of the Rhode Island State Militia, during his first visit to Rhode Island.    However before anything could come of their acquaintance, he was again called to return to the far western frontier to serve again in the Apache Wars.    Upon his return to duty at Fort Adams after hostilities ended out west, Burnside courted and married Miss Mary Richmond Bishop, duaghter of R.I. Militia Major Nathaniel Bishop and Fanny Windsor of Bristol, Rhode Island, on April 27, 1852.    Miss Bishop was a somewhat religious, rather tall, and a stately young woman who conveyed a courtly and respectful presence about her.    Although Mary dearly loved children and favored two neices of the Burnside family, Ambrose and Mary never had children of their own.

      In 1853, Burnside resigned his commission in the army to take up permanent residence in Rhode Island and open a small arms factory, "The Bristol Rifle Works".    Burnside had wanted to go into the arms business since on paper he had invented an unusual design breech loading carbine rifle during the War with Mexico, which greatly impressed his military colleagues and all his superior officers--the famous Light Cavalry and Infantry Support weapon, "The Burnside Carbine".

The Famous Burnside Carbine
Fort Adams, Newport
Photos: The Famous Burnside Carbine (one of the best weapons of the Civil War),
and Fort Adams, Newport Rhode Island

      In the years leading up to the Civil War, Burnside perfected the designs of his .54 caliber carbine for the army, but after great financial risk in manufacturing the weapon, the U.S. Government decided not to purchase it (a $100,000.00 contract) for the Federal inventory.    The Federal Government signed on to the project, then Secretary of War John B. Floyd under the President Buchanan Administration cancelled the order, leaving Burnside stuck with a no win investment holding the bag.    After the Federal Government reversed its decision and turned down its contract to purchase the weapon from Burnside's small factory, to make matters worse, the Bristol Rifle Works caught fire and was completely destroyed.    Plus, during this same time, Burnside tried an unsuccessful run for Congress, making further shambles of his finances.    Later during the Civil War, the government needing weapons, changed its mind again, but by then the Bristol Rifle Works was out of business.    Eventually to ease his indebtedness Burnside was forced to turn over all his patents to his creditors in 1860.    However limited quatities of the weapon were purchsed and issued by the Rhode Island State Militia prior to the factory's burning.    The company holding Burnside's patents reaped the reward for his invention and produced about 2,000 Burnside Carbines per month during the Civil War.    The weapon became one of the best breech loaders of the war; used extensively by U.S. Regular and Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry Sharpshooter, Light Cavalry and Light Artillery units.

      NOTE: John B. Floyd was Secretary of War during the President James Buchanan Administration.    He was indicted for conspiracy and fraud in 1860, and fired by the President for sending massive amounts of arms and ordnance to southern armories 1857 to 1859.    He was also named as the man who refused to honor Burnside's Carbine U.S. Government contract in a trail that was suspended due to his testimony before the U.S. Congress.    Burnside blamed Floyd for his loss.    He felt Floyd declined production of the carbine because massive amounts of the weapon could not be made and shipped south in time for Southern Secession.    Later during the Civil War Floyd was appointed Brigadier General by Jefferson Davis in the Rebel Army.    Floyd served under Robert E. Lee in the Kanawha Valley, Western Virginia Campaign 1861.    Afterwards he was transferred to command Forts Henry and Donaldson in West Tennessee.    He gave up Fort Henry to Grant to make a stand at Fort Donaldson.    After a failed attempt to break out of the Rebel positions at Fort Donaldson, fearing his arrest for treason, Floyd escaped by steamboat with two Virginia regiments after turning command over to General Gideon Pillow, who also escaped by row boat about the same time that Bedford Forrest escaped with his cavalrymen.    After Pillow turned over command to General Simon B. Buckner, he was the only senior Rebel officer left to surrender the fort to General Ulysses Grant in February 1862.    Floyd died in Virginia in 1863, two months after Lee's defeat at Gettysburg.

      In the spring of 1855, Burnside was appointed Commander and Adjutant General of the Rhode Island State Militia by Governor William W. Hoppin (RI Governor 1854-1857, Whig Party), when several local State Militia Units unanimously voted their approval and recommended his appointment.    The Governor and the Militia selected Burnside, because he was the most experienced army officer in the State.   They also admired Burnside's courteous and kindly disposition.     His demeanor plus his military knowledge made Burnside a perfect choice; making him extremely well respected and an obvious favorite among all the Militia units in the State.    Burnside was so admired by State officials that Governor Elisha Dyer, Sr. re-appointed Burnside Adjutant General of the State Militia when he succeeded Governor Hoppin (Dyer, Sr. RI Governor 1857-1859, Republican Party).    In fact Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, "respected as the father of West Point", referred to Burnside as being one of the Nation's few men suitably fit and ready for military duty; ideally qualified for an important command.    U.S. Army General-in-Chief, Winfield Scott said of Burnside, that he was one of the Nation's top 10 officers to lead an army if ever war should come with the Southern States or a foreign power.

      Burying himself in his duties, Burnside at once began to recruit and institute a professional military training program for the entire Rhode Island State Militia.    For a short time Burnside affiliated with the Providence Marine Corps of Artillery (PMCA) so he could use the "Old Arsenal on Benefit Street" in Providence as a central location in the State to train and recruit new men.    As he stepped up his training program the PMCA began to quarrel with Burnside and challenge his authority; beginning with their refusel to march with the rest of the State Militia in the annual 4th of July parade in Providence.    At the time many Militia-men in other State Units viewed the PMCA with some measure of irritation, because they felt it considered itself aloof, above and separate from all the other units in the Militia.    Burnside disagreed with the PMCA first due to the issue of the parade, but mainly because they disobeyed an order from a superior officer.    His relationship with the Providence Marine Corps Artillery militia unit ended when he ordered the court martial of their politically influential commander for refusing to participate in an important training exercise.    The PMCA commander refused to order their participation in the exercise, because they had just received new uniforms and since it was raining that day, the PMCA commander didn't want the uniforms of his men soiled or possibly ruined.    Burnside was furious.    After a brief and nasty political battle, that reached all the way in to the R.I. State Legislature over the scheduled court martial of the Militia Commander, Burnside ended up having no choice but to resign his post as commander of the State Militia.   His friend, Governor Elisha Dyer, Sr. had no choice but to accept his resignation to avoid further political problems in the State Legislature.   To add insult to injury, the PMCA Commander ended up being Burnside's replacement.   Always the true gentleman, Burnside bowed out without further incident, but according to Rev. Agustus P. Woodbury (who became one of Rhode Island's greatest chronicler of its involvement in the Civil War), this incident revealed an aspect of Burnside's character and personal code of honor that would come back to haunt him.

      After the Presidential Election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, Burnside received a request from the new R.I. Governor, William Sprague, to get all Rhode Island Militia organizations ready for additional problems in the country.    At this time Ambrose and Mary Burnside had temporarily relocated in New York.    The newly elected Governor Sprague predicted the Southern States would make good their threat to secede from the Union well before most considered it a realistic possibility and he believed the Northern States and Abraham Lincoln would do everything necessary to try to stop them.    On this matter Burnside and Sprague completely concurred and Burnside said so to several of his southern friends who openly talked secession.    So Sprague, Rhode Island's young "Boy Governor" imediately authorized formation of the "Rhode Island Brigade" and appointed Burnside its commander.    Sprague knew Burnside's PMCA replacement as commander of the Volunteer State Militia lacked the experience needed to complete the formation and expert training of the Rhode Island Brigade.    When his prediction that hostilities would come turned out correct, he summoned Burnside to return from New York to get Rhode Island ready for war.    Due to the Burnside-PMCA affair the State lost valuable time needed to get prepared for the Civil War.   By the time the Rhode Island Brigade was needed for immediate muster, after the firing on Fort Sumter, only one artillery battery and one infantry unit was ready for deployment; two 90 day units, the First R.I. Volunteer Infantry, RIDM, and the 1st R.I. Light Artillery Battery (Tompkins Battery-mostly made up of men of the PMCA).

War Clouds:
The Start of America's Late Unpleasantness; 1861 ~ 1865

Burnside's Staff RIM Rhode Islanders Leaving Providence
Photos from left to right:
Col. Burnside and the Rhode Island Militia Brigade Staff
at Camp Sprague, Washington, D.C.;
and The Rhode Island Brigade Leaving Providence for War; both images circa 1861.

Boy Governor & Brigadier Gen. Sprague Rhode Island 1st Infantry Medal Col A.E. Burnside RIM
Photos from left to right:
Lincoln's Number One, 'The Boy' War Governor, Rhode Island Brigadier General and Governor William Sprague;

The Rhode Island First Light Infantry-RI Militia, or
1st Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry RIDM Medal

and "Colonel" Ambrose E. Burnside, RIM; both images circa 1861.

Camp Sprague: Washington D.C.
The 1st Rhode Islanders Wearing The Burnside Blouse
Photos on the left:
Extremely rare group photo of men of the Rhode Island Brigade
the 1st and 2nd Rhode Islnd Volunteer Infantry,
Tompkins 1st RI Battery and Reynold's 2nd RI Battery (later Battery A, 1st RILA)
at Burnside's Head Quarters, Camp Sprague, Washington D.C.

Photo on the right:
The 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry, Company D,
Enlisted men in camp, Fred Arnold (center-close friend of E.H. Rhodes) at Camp Sprague
all dressed in the famous 'Burnside Fatigue Blouse';
Both Photos pre 1st Bull Run, circa July 1861.

      NOTE: Due to the failure of The Bristol Rifle Works, Burnside's financial situation was in peril.    He went to work a short time for the main office of the Illinois Central Railroad in New York just prior to the out-break of the Civil War to help make ends meet.    In New York an old friend from his West Point days, George B. McClellan came to his aid to help relieve his indebtedness.    This probably was the main reason why Burnside remained loyal to McClellan durning the Civil War, even when it became clear to everyone around Burnside that McClellan might not be the good friend Burnside envisioned.

      When South Carolina seceded from the Union, Governor Sprague once again called upon Burnside to re-form the R.I. Militia into a mobilized State Guard of at least one infantry regiment, one artillery company, and if possible a cavalry regiment.    Due to the emergency in South Carolina, all local Rhode Island politics was set aside.    The chips were down, the pressure was on, and the State needed Burnside now more than ever, so the State Legislature concurred with Sprague's choice.    Also, since George Sears Greene (the only other Rhode Islander with great military experience, also living in New York) had excepted a colonel's position to command a New York regiment, Sprague re-appointed Burnside as Colonel in command of the Rhode Island Brigade, still the State's best choice for the job.

The First Battle of Bull Run
Burnside and his Rhode Islanders
fire the first shots to open the first great battle of the war
1st RI US Colors RI GAR Quohog National Encampment Badge 2nd RI US Colors
Col Burnside at 1st Bull Run
2nd RI Battery Guide-on RI State Regimental Colors 2nd RI Vol. Inf. Guide-on
Top images from left to right:
The U.S. Colors of the 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry.
The famous Rhode Island symbol of the Quohog (or clam) worn by Veternas of the RI GAR
at the 1886 National Encampment in Wisconsin.
The U.S. Colors of the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry.

Middle Image:
Alfred Waud Drawing of Col. Burnside launching
the opening assault at the 1st Battle of Bull Run
(E.H. Rhodes and Tom Parker bearing Col. Slocum's body to the rear)
(Burnside's Battery A 1st Regiment R.I. Light Artillery fired the first shot
and the 1st and 2nd R.I. Volunteer Infatry began the first Union assault on the Confederates)

Bottom images left to right:
The Battery A 1st Regiment R.I. Light Artillery guidon;
the Rhode Island Regimental State Colors;
and the 2nd R.I. Volunteer Infantry Co.D guidon (Elisha Rhodes' Company)

Note: The Battery A Guide-on was researched and painted by Gregg A. Mierka
The Rhode Island State Colors and 2nd RI Guide-on were researched and painted by Gregory H. Payne.

      After the fall of Fort Sumter, other southern states followed South Carolina out of the Union, and Col. Burnside ordered the 90 day 1st R.I. Volunteer Infantry and newly formed 3 year unit the 2nd R.I. Volunteer Infantry to relieve the nation's beleaguered Capitol, along with the 90 day 1st R.I. Light Artillery Battery (Tompkins PMCA Battery) and the newly formed 3 year units the 2nd RI Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and the 2nd R.I. Light Artillery Battery (Reynolds Battery, later renamed Battery A, of the 1st Regiment RILA).    Once in Washington in response to President Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion, Burnside bivouaced his Rhode Islanders in the northern outskirts of Washington D.C. at Camp Sprague, named after RI Governor William Sprague.    Burnside's Rhode Island Brigade was attached to Major General David Hunter's Division by order of Lieutenant General Winfield Scott, Commander-in-Chief of all U.S. Army Forces.    Burnside knew the aged Scott well, from their days in the War with Mexico and the Apache Indian War.    Major General Irvin McDowell was selected Field Commander of Uncle Abe's new but still green army of about 45,000 men.

      NOTE:  On July 21, 1861, Burnside led his brigade valiantly but in a losing cause at the First Battle of Bull Run.    Burnside and his units actually fired the first shots to open the historic battle and were among the last off the field in good order when it ended.   Unfortunately during the heat of the battle Burnside argued with Governor Sprague, who was also on the field not only as Governor, but as a politically appointed Brigadier General by President Lincoln.    Believing that Sprague, untrained in the military, was in the way, Burnside objected to Sprague's interference, causing confusion and resulting in higher casualties than necessary.    This drove a split in their friendship that never was repaired.

      But on that hot and steamy July day of 61, Burnside and his Rhode Islanders were a part of President Abraham Lincoln's first major move against the Confederacy.   At the First Battle of Bull Run, Burnside proved himself to be a highly dependable fighter.   Major General McDowell's strategy was to attack the Rebel forces under General P.G.T. Beauregard near Manassas Junction in northern Virginia before additional rebel forces under General Joseph Johnston could arrive from Harper's Ferry and the northern Shenandoah Valley to reinforce Beauregard.   Therefore McDowell after reaching locations near Bull Run on the Warrenton Pike, ordered two of his divisions to march a flanking maneuver against the Rebels north on the eastern side of Bull Run, then cross the run, or creek, at a shallow and fordable place called Sudley Springs.

      At about 4 a.m. both Union Divisions broke camp and took the road to Sudley, commanded by Brigadier General David Hunter (a well known abolitionist and hated by the south), and Brigadier General Samuel Heintzelman.   Hunter's Division consisted of two brigades under Colonels Ambrose E. Burnside and Burnside's old friend Fitz John Porter.   Burnside's Brigade was the vanguard of the entire column on the road to Sudley, with the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry out front, followed by the 2nd Rhode Island Light Artillery Battery (later re-named Battery A, of the 3 year enlisted 1st RI Light Artillery Regiment, later made famous at Gettysburg).

      Burnside's Brigade consisted of four infantry regiments and one light artillery battery.   The other three regiments of the brigade were the 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry (like the 2nd RIVI, formed in Providence, R.I., commanded by Colonel Joseph P. Balch), the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry (organized in Portsmouth, N.H., commanded by Colonel Gilman Marston), and the 71st New York Volunteer Infantry (organized at Staten Island, NYC, commanded by Colonel George B. Hall).

      McDowell's strategy was to get Hunter and Heintzelman across Bull Run on the exposed unguarded Rebel left flank before they could react.   Once they were in place Brigadier General Daniel Tyler and his division was to cross Bull Run at the Stone Bridge in the Rebel center and fire three shots from his 30 pound field gun as a signal to start the battle.   The march of Hunter and Heintzelman started off badly.   The Union troops had no up to date maps.   Hunter, riding at the head of the column with Burnside ordered several wrong turns.   Worse yet, Tyler's signal gun got bogged down.   By the time Burnside's Brigade was in the field on the west side of Bull Run, Rebel lookouts spotted them.   Rebel Colonel Nathan 'Shanks' Evans formed most of his troops in seclusion (including the 'Louisiana Tigers') on a wooded knoll called Matthew's Hill.   Burnside informed Hunter they were detected by the Rebels, so Hunter ordered him to take Matthew's Hill and wait for the remainder of the Union forces to come up.   Burnside formed his brigade and ordered the 2nd Rhode Island Light Artillery Battery to open fire, starting the First Battle of Bull Run.

      Hours earlier Colonel William T. Sherman, commanding a brigade of Tyler's Division, (on Burnside's far left) had crossed Bull Run at the Stone Bridge, moved down the Warrenton Turn Pike, then deployed in front of the Rebel center.   Sherman was ordered to wait for the '3' shots from Tyler's signal gun to start the battle in his sector, but he already could hear the guns of Burnside.   Frustrated with Tyler, Sherman marched to the sound of the guns, followed by the brigade of Erastmus D Keys.

      At 9:30 a.m. Burnside began his advance south from Sudley with little more resistance than return shots from the Rebel artillery hidden in the woods.   One fateful cannon shot killed Major Sullivan Ballou of the 2nd Rhode Island.   Sadly, Ballou had envisioned his death in the coming battle and wrote about it in his last letter home to his wife Sarah.   As the rebel artillery fire intensified, Burnside continued to press forward.   As soon as Burnside's troops came out in an open area of cleared farm fields below Matthew's Hill, the Rebels under Evens revealed themselves and opened up on Burnside's men with a murderous musket volley.   The Rebels knew they were up against Rhode Island units from a distance, because the blue troops coming towards them had the distinctive Rhode Island Red Bedrolls slung over the shoulders.   The 2nd New Hampshire, 1st Rhode Island, 2nd Rhode Island, and 71st New York went into battle line smartly.   The first volley had marginal effect.   Then Evans gave his Rebels the order a second time to rise up and shoot, as Burnside's Brigade got closer, reaching the middle of the open rolling field.   This time their fire killed Captains Levi Tower and S. James Smith of the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers and Lieutenant Henry Prescott of the 1st RIVI.   Colonel Gilman Marston of the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteers was also severely wounded.   Colonel John S. Slocum of the 2nd Rhode Island tried to rally his men by standing on a snake rail farm fence that ran across the middle of the field, shouting, "Forward", but he was shot down, mortally wounded by three musket balls to the chest.   Burnside's gallant gray horse was shot out from under him, throwing Burnside to the ground, and Brigadier General David Hunter was hit in the cheek and neck.   As Hunter lay on the ground, Colonel Burnside went to his aid.   Hunter looked up and turned the Division over to Burnside saying, "I leave the matter in your hands".   Casualties were mounting rapidly.   Burnside immediately ordered Lieutenant Colonel Frank Wheaton to take command of the 2nd Rhode Island and temporarily put Colonel Joseph Balch in command of the brigade.   Burnside now found himself in command of Hunter's entire division.   The well seasoned Frank Wheaton spearheaded the resumed attack on Matthew's Hill with the 2nd RIVI, brandishing his sword, shouting, "Forward and fight you Quohoggers !"

      Complete shock was on the faces of the young unbattle-tested Rhode Islanders, at the sight and the deaths of friends and comrades.   The reality of war initially stunned them, as they faltered in their advance, while leading the entire line of Union troops in the push on Matthew's Hill.   Then tears turned to rage.   Against a blanketing hail of musket balls, Burnside's men rushed forward and took the hill.   When they reached the summit they gave several ferocious musket volleys of their own on Evens' Rebels as they retreated down the reverse slope, which littered that field with Rebel casualties.   However, by this time Burnside's Division was exhausted.   Burnside's old West Point comrade Fitz Porter recommended a pause, since Hientzelman's Division was up and the brigades of Colonels Sherman and Keys were joining the fight as well.   Burnside's Division was ordered to stay put on Matthew's Hill, as reserves, while Heintzelman and Tyler's Brigades massed and attacked the next hill, Henry House Hill, defended by Rebel General Thomas J. Jackson, thereafter known as 'Stonewall Jackson', for the heroic stand he made there, out numbered two to one.

      At Bull Run, after his horse was killed, Burnside viewed his new mount named 'Major' as his lucky horse, because both he and his trusty animal made it through the fight for Matthew's Hill and the rest of the battle unscathed.   Unfortunately, the pause from battle was short lived.   Burnside's Division was soon back in the thick of things.   The advance on Henry House Hill stalled.   Burnside was ordered by McDowell to move back, the way he came, north across Bull Run at Sudley Springs to cover a retreat from the field.   Burnside was furious.   He wanted to keep the initiative and pressure on Henry House Hill, but McDowell's offensive had turned to a retreat.   The Rebels were pressing a counter attack in force due east along the Warrenton Turnpike.

Other Rhode Islanders Immortalized
At First Bull Run
      Colonel John S Slocum

of the
2nd Rhode Island
Goes To

LT Colonel Frank Wheaton
Captain Levi Tower Lieutenant Henry Prescott Major Sullivan Ballou
Photos left to Right-Top to Bottom:
Colonel John S. Slocum, Commander, 2nd RIVI Killed; and Lieutenant Colonel Frank Wheaton, 2nd RIVI;
Captain Levi Tower, 2nd RIVI Killed; Lieutenant Henry Prescott, 1st RIVI Killed: and Major Sullivan Ballou, 2nd RIVI Killed.

      As the Union Army retreated, Civilian spectators from Washington D.C. wanting to see their army thrash the Rebs, clogged the roads.   Carriages and buggies slowed the retreat back across Young's Branch and Bull Run down to a snail's pace.   Burnside and Heintzelman had to hurry their forces back across Bull Run at Sudley to the north, then catch up with the rest of McDowell's army east of Bull Run on the Pike to Cub Run.   Burnside retired from the field in good order, however things were breaking down with the troops under McDowell.   The Rebel 'Black Horse Cavalry' under Colonel Wade Hampton flicked the haunches of McDowell's wounded army all the way to the bridge over Cub Run, the next body of water.

      Burnside deployed to fight a delaying action while the rest of the army crossed Cub Run.   However, a Rebel artillery shell exploded on the bridge over Cub Run overturning a civilian carriage, causing a traffic jam.   Several of Burnside's units found themselves in a bad way, because they were fighting unsupported and alone.   Out gunned and out numbered, they held their ground as long as they could, then Burnside and his officers gave the order to save what they could and get across Cub Run as best they could.   Burnside and his men were the first in action that day and among the last off the field.   The disaster at First Bull Run ended in a rout.   The War Department and the President knew Burnside did all he could in the First Battle of Bull Run.   When the Union Army limped back to Washington, Burnside was one of the officers Lincoln depended on to re-form the army to defend the Capitol.   For that Burnside was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.

      ALSO NOTE:

      After the war, the tension between Governor Ambrose E. Burnside and RI U.S. Senator William Sprague grew even worse in 1867.    Sprague still fumed that Burnside ordered him off the battlefield at First Bull Run.    The second encounter between the two came to a boil over the contest to become the first 'elected' commander of the Rhode Island Department Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), which was the Rhode Island chapter of the Nation's first modern version of a Veterans Fraternal Association.    The GAR in America was created to represent the interests and welfare of Union Civil War Servicemen and their families, as well as the widdows and orphans of enlisted men and officers.    The GAR was the most politically powerful veterans organization in American History, until the Post World War I formation of the American Legion.    To make matters worse, earlier, Sprague led the formation of the GAR in the Ocean State and was appointed Provisional State Commander of the Order by the National GAR until enough GAR Posts were organized.    When the R.I. Grand Army of the Republic held its first State Encampment (convention), Burnside was nominated and won the election to become the State's first Chartered or official Department Commander.    Sprague was furious and asked for a recall vote on a technicality, but ended up losing additional votes on the recall.

President Abraham Lincoln General David Hunter General Ivin McDowell
Photos left to Right:
President Abraham Lincoln,
Major General David Hunter
and Major General Irvin McDowell.

      Burnside and Sprague tangled once more in 1874.    At that point in time, Burnside was Commander-n-Chief of the National GAR and Sprague was serving the State as one of its U.S. Senators.    Sprague, furious at Burnside for supporting the Browns of R.I. on a local political matter back home, took the floor of the U.S. Senate extremely intoxicated and meanly denounced Burnside's military service record, including the service of all R.I. Civil War Veterans, as being dishonorable.    His statements disrupted and stunned everyone in the Senate and the president pro-temp ordered Sprague forcibly quieted.    Sprague's behavior ended up costing his re-election to the Senate later that year.    The State's Civil War Veterans, who constituted overwhelmingly the largest registered voting population in Rhode Island, were outraged and as result R.I. voters chose Burnside to replace Sprague as their U.S. Senator in the succeeding election.    Burnside was deeply hurt by Sprague's attack.

      After the war, as Burnside's reputation grew, even Grant, (running for President in 1868) visited then Governor Burnside on the campaign trail and made amends with Burnside for the misunderstandings that occurred at the siege of Petersburg (The Battle of the Crater) between the two men during the war.    Grant rightly agreed that Burnside, who gave so much of himself to the Union Cause, should have been present at Appomattox for the Surrender of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.    But after the 1874 encounters between Burnside and Sprague, their disdain for each other lasted for the rest of their lives.

A Winning Ticket ~ Rhode Island's Finest

The 1866 Burnside For RI Governor Campaign Poster General Burnside The Burnside Victory March Misic Book
By 1866, all candidates were war heroes or among the most popular men in the State.
They all had the full faith and confidence of the veterans.
Civil War Veterans were by far the largest voting constituents in the State.

The "Burnside Victory March", written in Burnside's honor,
very polular with the soldiers of the 9th Corps and Rhode Island Civil War Veterans.

"Up With The Star"
"For Lincoln and Liberty Too"

Brigadier General Burnside Brigadier General Burnside Brigadier General Burnside
Brigadier General Burnside assisted Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton
and Major General George B. McClellan with forming and training the new Grand Army of the Potomac
"200,000 Strong".

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