Ninth Corps – Ambrose Burnside

Ambrose E. Burnside

Ambrose Burnside Quotes

Last Updated January 16, 2010

With quotations by Burnside first followed by others in alphabetical order of the person making the quote

“I don’t know what you fellows call this talk, but I call it flat Treason by God!”

Burnside, Ambrose

Burnside Testimony to Joint Committee

Sears, Stephen.  George B McClellan – The Young Napoleon. New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1988 pg 241

“he had doubts of his ability to handle operations of magnitude.”

Carmen, Ezra

Carmen, Ezra.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862. Ed. Joseph Pierro.  New York: Routledge, 2008 pg 78

“His large, fine eyes, winning smile and cordial manners, bespoke a frank, sincere, and honorable character, and these indications were never belied by more intimate acquaintance”

Cox, Jacob D.

Sep 1862

Cox’s first impression upon meeting Burnside in Washington DC early in Sep 1862.  From Cox’s Reminiscences, 1:110

Marvel, William.  Burnside. Chapel Hill:  UNC Press, 1991. Pg 112

You would think he had a great deal more intelligence than he possessed”

Dana, Charles A.

unk

“a man of remarkable enthusiasm with which he was but too apt to be carried away”

Gibbon, John

Gibbon, Personal Recollections, 252

Robertson, James I.  General A. P. Hill. New York:  Random 1987. Pg 157

“Ought to, He owes me eight thousand dollars”

Hill, AP

Sep 17 1862

When asked after the battle if he knew Burnside, Hill’s response

Robertson, James I.  General A. P. Hill. New York:  Random 1987. Pg 148

“…neither genius nor blockhead, who blundered in ways no different from some of the great heroes of his age-whom he occasionally outsmarted-and whose downfall may have been his own honest, humble, and trusting manner.”

Marvel, William

Author William Marvel summarizing Burnside in the preface to his biography Burnside.

Marvel, William.  Burnside. Chapel Hill:  UNC Press, 1991. Pg xii

Why that honest, true, brave old Burnside is worth a legion of those paltry butterflies that flutter around ballrooms…If ever a man went to heaven he will sure go there

McClellan, George

Jan 1860

GBM in letter to Mary Ellen Marcy

Sears, Stephen.  George B McClellan – The Young Napoleon. New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1988 pg 58

“Another drawback was a very general opinion among officers and men, brought about by his own assertions that the command was too much for him.  This greatly weakened his position”

Meade, George

Jan 26 1863

Meade to wife

Sears, Stephen.  Chancellorsville. Boston:  Houghton Mifflin, 1996 pg 5

“I feel sorry for Burnside, because I really believe the man half the time don’t know what he is about, and is hardly responsible for his acts.”

Meade, George

Aug 10 1864

Meade to his wife, Aug 10 1864

Rafuse, Ethan S. George Gordon Meade and the War in the East. Abilene:  McWhiney Foundation Press. 2003 pg 143

“I never felt so disappointed and sorry for any one in my life as I did for Burnside.  He seems to have the elements against him.”

Meade, George

Jan 23 1863

Meade to his wife, Jan 23 1863

Rafuse, Ethan S. George Gordon Meade and the War in the East. Abilene:  McWhiney Foundation Press. 2003 pg 57

“I can’t help feeling sorry for old Burnside, proud, plucky, hard-headed old dog.  I always liked him”

Pickett, George

After Fredericksburg

Pickett talking about Burnside’s misfortunes after Fredericksburg

Harry and Burn by Gerard A. Patterson, America’s Civil War Sept 2006

“such men as you, and Cump Sherman and Burnside are required to counterbalance the influence of Davis, Bragg, & Beauregard”

Porter, Fitz John

April 15 1861

Fitz John Porter to McClellan

Marvel, William.  Burnside. Chapel Hill:  UNC Press, 1991. Pg 16

“and then, with that transparent sincerity of his nature which made everyone believe what he said, he added that he knew he was not fit for so big a command, but he would do his best.”

Schurtz, Carl

Nov 1862

A gathering of generals who are congratulating Burnside on his promotion

Sandburg, Carl. Abraham Lincoln The Prairie Years and the War Years One Volume Edition pg 327

“He had naturally a swaggering way which caused all such affectations to set gracefully upon him.  He was, besides, a handsome fellow with a personality that attracted attention upon all occasions; an his rollicking, off-hand effrontery carried him through with applause where one of less assurance would have been a mere figurehead.  His manly proportions and devil-may-care irishness were attractive to women, and aroused in them that admiration for masculine qualities so natural to the female sex.  Always jolly and willing, he was an ideal companion among men.  His rollicking songs and jovial stories awakened the dullest to rapture.  Free and easy in manner and with but little regard for the nicer conventionalities of society he floated along, light hearted and gay, upon the flood tide of enjoyment, seemingly regardless of what the ebb might have in store for him.  The very abandon with which he threw himself into whatever was going on exercised a captivating influence and caused him to be sought as one who could always be relied on to give animation to any occasion.  There was no one like Burnside.”

Tidball, John C.

After the Mexican War, Tidball describing duty with Ambrose Burnside

Tidball, Eugene C.  No Disgrace to My Country. Kent:  Kent State University Press.  2002 pg 70

“History-for he rose to a high historical level-will be at a loss where to place him, whether among heroes or Charlatans”

Tidball, John C.

From First Experiences 67-70b

Tidball, Eugene C.  No Disgrace to My Country. Kent:  Kent State University Press.  2002 pg 502

“he could borrow, and to borrowing he was accustomed”

Tidball, John C.

Quote from John Tidball

Tidball, Eugene C.  No Disgrace to My Country. Kent:  Kent State University Press.  2002 pg 71

“This trick of self-abnegation seemed not only to help him along but to cover over shortcomings, as it did when dismal failure followed many of his enterprises”

Tidball, John C.

From First Experiences 67-70b

Tidball, Eugene C.  No Disgrace to My Country. Kent:  Kent State University Press.  2002 pg 70

“A good fellow certainly, manly, honest and comely but of only moderate mind and attainments who made our cause suffer more in battle than any other Genl”

Warren, Gouverneur

Apr 15 1863

Letter to fiancé

Sears, Stephen.  Chancellorsville. Boston:  Houghton Mifflin, 1996 pg 5

“Burnside is liked of course, who could not help liking Burnside but they [the soldiers] feel as though McClellan was their man.

Withington, COL William H.

Dec 23 1862

Withington to sister

Sears, Stephen.  Chancellorsville. Boston:  Houghton Mifflin, 1996 pg 9

“Well and favorable known for his energy; and his skill in affairs, his geniality in social intercourse, his high sense of humor, and his honest simplicity.”

Woodbury, Augustus

Woodbury’s Major General Ambrose E. Burnside and the Ninth Army Corps (Providence RI: Sidney Rider & Brothers, 1867) 10

Carmen, Ezra.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862. Ed. Joseph Pierro.  New York: Routledge, 2008 pg 77

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