Colonel Ambrose Burnside, and the
Officers of the First Rhode Island Regiment
In the West Point class of 1847, Ambrose Burnside (1824 - 1881) studied with future generals George B. McClellan, Winfield Scott Hancock, and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. He left the army in 1852, settled in Rhode Island, and began to manufacture rifles based on his own design. When war was declared in April 1861, the governor of Rhode Island called on him to command the state's first militia regiment. Burnside's troops were among the first to reach Washington; they fought in the Battle of Bull Run and then disbanded. In August, Burnside assumed command of a new group of three-year regiments being assembled in Washington, leading a successful campaign on the North Carolina coast in the first half of 1862. But Burnside knew that he could not lead a large army. He twice refused command of the Army of the Potomac, and when forced to accept the post, his troops suffered heavy losses. After the war, Burnside became a successful politician, serving Rhode Island as both governor and senator. Brady made this group portrait between May and July 1861, when Burnside held the rank of colonel, in command of the First Rhode Island Regiment.

See Joseph Hooker

Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print, 1861
27.9 x 35.6 cm (11 x 14 inches) board, 22 x 8 inches matted
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.