Featured Book Reviewer
- Feb 23, 2013
- East Texas
… Burnside: He had shown promise at 1st Bull Run, in the Carolinas, and at Antietam. Thus, I'd have him removed from command and transfered to a different department (this was historical, but eventually he regained command of IX Corps and took and held Knoxville, for which many thought he redeemed himself)
Actually, Burnside was probably typical of his later reputation throughout his career. At Bull Run after finally driving away Nathan "Shanks" Evans pitiful handful (reinforced by Barnard Bee) in the opening action on Matthews' Hill, he took his brigade completely out of the battle, supposedly looking for ammunition resupply, and never returned! It is generally thought that his success in North Carolina was likely due to his subordinate John Foster. He possibly made Antietam only a drawn battle instead of the success it should have been through petulantly dragging his feet instead of attacking vigorously as ordered by McClellan, the subject of several recent threads here. Of course Fredericksburg was a major disaster for both the army and the nation, as was the Mud March a minor but important one. In 1864 following his return to the East his performances were still lacking at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. But the final straw, his mismanagement of another bright but typically lost opportunity came at The Crater, which finally put an end to Burnside's incompetency. His greatest contributions to the cause seem to have been in his heavy-handed draconian handling of the civilian populations of occupied areas and the controversial arrest of Copperhead leader Clement Vallandigham.