Skip to main content

Ambrose Everett Burnside

Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Chicago Albumen Works
Ambrose Everett Burnside, 23 May 1824 - 13 Sep 1881
1862 (printed 1982)
Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative
Image: 9.1 × 6.1 cm (3 9/16 × 2 3/8")
Sheet: 14.2 × 11.4 cm (5 9/16 × 4 1/2")
Mat: 35.6 × 28.1 cm (14 × 11 1/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Liberty, Indiana
Doubtful of his fitness to lead a large army, Ambrose Burnside twice declined the command of the Army of the Potomac. He felt duty-bound to assume the post, however, when it was offered yet a third time, after General George McClellan’s removal in the wake of Antietam (September 1862). Burnside’s first and only engagement as commander was the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg in December of the same year, in which a series of frontal assaults against well-fortified Confederate positions resulted in nearly 13,000 Union casualties. Relieved of his command by President Lincoln, Burnside was transferred to the Department of the Ohio, where he later redeemed himself in the defense of Knoxville, Tennessee, earning the thanks of Congress for his efforts. Burnside ended his Civil War service on an unfortunate note. Deemed responsible for the staggering Union losses in the Battle of the Crater (July 1864) at Petersburg, Virginia, Burnside was placed on leave and not recalled to duty.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection