‘Gallant Burnside’: at the height of his career photographed eight months after the events of Scollard's poem; while with his staff-officers at Warrenton, Virginia, November 14, 1862 General Burnside entered the war in May, 1861, as colonel of the First Rhode Island Volunteers. At Bull Run, July 21, 1861, he at first commanded the brigade in which the regiment was serving, but was soon called upon to take charge of the Second (Hunter's) division in the presence of the opposing Confederates. Under his command, Kady Brownell showed herself ‘so undaunted’; the two Rhode Island regiments in the battle were in his brigade, the colonel of the Second losing his life early in the section. On August 6, 1861, Burnside was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers, and from January to July, 1862, commanded the Department of North Carolina. He captured Roanoke Island, occupied New Berne in the manner alluded to in Scollard's poem, and forced the evacuation of Fort Macon, at Beaufort. In July, as major-general of volunteers, he was asked to take chief command of the Army of the Potomac, but he refused. In September the offer was renewed, and again refused. Finally, on November 9th, he accepted. His disastrous repulse a month later at Fredericksburg was followed by his resignation as chief, though he served no less faithfully, both as department and corps commander, to the end of the war.
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