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Ambrose Burnside

A graduate of the West Point class of 1847, General Ambrose Burnside commanded the Union Army of the Potomac during the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. During the course of the Civil War, Burnside twice refused command of the army but finally accepted, although he considered himself ill equipped for such a high level of responsibility. Burnside was a likable individual, and his distinctive facial hair resulted in the word “sideburns” entering American lexicon. Burnside commanded Union troops at Antietam, during campaigns in East Tennessee, at the Battle of the Crater during the siege of Petersburg, and elsewhere. After the war, Burnside was elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Rhode Island. He died in 1881 at the age of 57.

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