A mbrose Everett Burnside was graduated from the U. S. Military Academy in 1847. He resigned his commission in 1853 and in 1855 organized the Bristol Fire Arms Co., of Bristol, R. I. In 1856 he patented a breech-loading rifle with a movable chamber loaded from the front with a cone-shaped cartridge with a metallic case. The rear of the case had a small hole covered by a thin material through which the powder was ignited by flame from a percussion cap.
In 1860 the Bristol Fire Arms Co. failed and was reorganized as the Burn-side Arms Co. with factory at Providence, R. I. During the Civil War this company sold 55,000 Burnside carbines and 22 million Burnside cartridges to the Government. These arms were carried by some cavalry units as late as the middle 1870's. The company also made Spencer rifles and carbines.
When only 37 years of age Burnside organized the Rhode Island Volunteers for service in the Civil War. During the war Burnside rose to the rank of Major General of the U. S. Volunteers. His campaign along the Carolina coast with subsequent victories at Roanoke Island, New Bern, and Ft. Macon was one of the first military amphibious bperations undertaken by the U. S. Army.
Later in the war Burnside was distinguished as an officer who was uncommonly devoted to the cause, and to the men in his command. He was known by his fellow officers as an amiable personality and a brave man.
When President Lincoln bestowed upon Burnside the generalship of the Army of the Potomac he thrust upon the young general a command that was beyond his experience and organizational ability. This coupled with the fact that Burnside replaced Gen. McCIellan, who was extremely popular with his troops, led to the unsuccessful attempt to storm the heights of Fredericksburg in 1862.
Later Burnside was instrumental in turning Morgan's Ohio raid and successfully withstood the Confederate Gen. Longstreet's siege of Knoxville.
In 1871 Burnside helped organize and served as the first President of the National Rifle Association of America.
Burnside was Governor of Rhode Island from 1866 to 1869, and was a Rhode Island Republican in the U. S. Congress from 1875 until his death in 1881.—Graham Burnside.
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