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Biography On Civil War General Ambrose Burnsides, And Why He Was So Ineffective.

1000 words - 4 pages

The "Luckless Soldier"The army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage are at the core of every Army leader. Although not defined as such values in the mid nineteenth century, Army leaders were held to these characteristics just as leaders of today's modern Army are. One more famous leader of the War Between the States is Ambrose Burnsides. Known more for his daring fashion sense than his tactics and stratagem, Burnside has gone down in history as the "luckless soldier." Although beginning and ending his military career with success, his downfalls and failures on the battlefield far outweigh his victories. Not only was Ambrose plagued with lucklessness, he was also indecisive and reckless.Ambrose Everett Burnside was born in Liberty, Indiana in 1824. He became a tailor's apprentice in his home town until he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from West Point in 1847, low in his class and showed more promise singing and cooking than using tactics and strategy. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Artillery where he accompanied Braxton Bragg's Battery throughout the Mexican-American War all the way to Mexico City. At the close of the war the then Lieutenant was sent to the New Mexico Territory to fight against the Apaches. In 1849 he was shot through the neck by an arrow and by 1852 appointed to the command Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island. While stationed there he married Mary Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1853 he resigned from the Army, yet retaining a position in the state militia. While in Rhode Island he worked on his firearm, the Burnside Breechloading Carbine. The Secretary of War at the time John B. Floyd, decided to arm the army with his carbine, and had Burnside establish many factories for this contract. The works were no sooner completed than another gunmaker bribed Secretary Floyd to accept his contract and reject Burnsides. Burnside was bankrupt, so he went west in and soon found himself working for George B. McClellan, his future commanding officer.At the outbreak of the Civil War, Burnside was appointed as Colonel of the 1st Rhode Island volunteer infantry. His initial success in North Carolina brought him much acclaim and got him to the rank of major. A year later Burnside took command of the Army of the Potomac. His first action, at Fredericksburg, showed his distinction as a failure to command and lead. Burnsides plan led to a humiliating and costly defeat at Fredericksburg. Burnsides advance upon Fredericksburg was rapid, but later delays, due to poor planning and communication in getting pontoon bridges for crossing the Rappahannock River, allowed the Confederates to concentrate their forces along Marye's Heights and easily repulse the Union attacks. Assaults to the south of town, which were supposed to be the main avenue of attack, were also mismanaged and the initial waves went unsupported. A...

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