Military Anecdote Day

by Daniel Russ on October 9, 2009

Union General Ambrose Burnside

Union General Ambrose Burnside

No numerical or tactical advantage was so great that “Burn” (as General Burnside was affectionately known) could not clinch defeat from the jaws of victory.

During the Battle of Antietam in 1862, he ordered his Union forces to cross the Potomac

River in order to engage the Confederate forces in battle. They correspondingly marched across the bridge two abreast, making an ideal target for Confederate gunners flanking the bridge. Not surprisingly the slaughter was appalling.

Alas, Burnside had failed to notice that the river was only waist deep, and could easily have been crossed almost anywhere else in perfect safety.



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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Louis August 24, 2017 at 3:11 am

Hum, I was under the impression that “Burn” was trying to cross Antietam Creek.

Michael B Saint-Just December 1, 2017 at 4:52 am

I believe the famous crossing that Burnside bungled badly was across the Rappahannock River in at the Battle of Fredericksburg. His micromanaging of the crossing caused numerous delays, confusion and 12,000 dead, wounded and missing. Although the Union forces sacked Fredericksburg like the ancient vandals did to Rome, the battle is considered a Union defeat.

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