Burnside, a Hoosier by birth, graduated from West Point in 1847 and served in Mexico before resigning his commission and moving to Rhode Island in 1853 where he attempted to engage in the manufacture of a breech-loading rifle. Burnside was appointed a major general and compiled an extensive if unspectacular war record including a stint as Army of the Potomac commander. Burnside's failure to exploit the "Mine Explosion" at Petersburg ultimately led to his resignation at the very end of the war. The resilient general held a series of successful business and political positions including that of senior senator from his native Rhode Island at the time of his death in 1881. Early in the war as a Rhode Island militia officer he designed the distinctive pleated "Burnside blouse" shown here.A rare, and almost certainly unpublished image in ambrotype format.
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