Ambrose Everett Burnside was general in the Union Army throughout the American Civil War.
After the war, he served as the governor of Rhode Island for three single-year terms (1866-1869) and as a U.S. Senator from 1875 until his death in 1881.
Several hundred baby boys — most born during the war — were named in Burnside’s honor. Some examples…
- Ambrose B. Taylor (b. 1866, Rhode Island)
- A. E. B. Leathers (b. 1866, Pennsylvania)
- Ambrose B. Pillsbury (b. 1865, New Hampshire)
- Ambrose B. Pence (b. 1864, Ohio)
- Ambrose E. B. Miller (b. 1863, Indiana)
- A. Burnside Harris (b. 1863, Ohio)
- Ambrose B. Furman (b. 1863, Pennsylvania)
- Ambrose Everett Burnside Stephens (b. 1862, Ohio)
- Ambrose B. Barnard (b. 1862, Indiana)
- Ambrose Burnside Bowen (b. 1862, Ohio)
- Ambrose E. B. Peatfield (b. 1861, Massachusetts)
A handful of boys conveniently born into Burnside families were simply named “Ambrose” or “Ambrose E.” (like Ambrose Everett Burnside, b. 1860).
Here’s how one newspaper summed up Ambrose Burnside’s life a few days after he died:
He was not remarkably brilliant as a statesman, but he was eminently successful as a leader of fashion, and the style of whiskers to which his name has been given will probably exist among the dandies long after his breech-loading rifle [the Burnside carbine] and record as a Senator are forgotten.
His distinctive facial hair — bushy side-whiskers with a clean-shaven chin — was initially known as “burnsides.” At some point, the syllables switched places and the term morphed into “sideburns.”