Across from Kennedy Plaza in Burnside Park there is a statue honoring a man on a horse in a military uniform. This man is General Ambrose Everett Burnside. He was the fourth of nine children, and was born to Edghill and Pamela Burnside of Liberty, Indiana on May 23, 1824. As a young boy, Burnside attended the Liberty Seminary until his mother’s death in 1841. Cutting short his education, Burnside’s father apprenticed him to a local tailor. After learning the trade, Burnside elected to utilize his father’s political connections to obtain an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point in 1843.
Graduating in 1847, he then served in the Mexican War. In 1849, Burnside was wounded in the neck during a fight with the Apaches in New Mexico. Twice Burnside was offered command of the Army at the Potomac and twice he refused. Burnside knew he was best at a Corps command level. He proved himself a successful commander at the battle of South Mountain, giving General McClellan a chance to destroy Lee’s army at Antietam. But McClellan attacked piecemeal. General Burnside made a good fight at a stone bridge but he had received orders late in the day. He was slow in taking the bridge, giving General Lee time to build his lines.
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