Babies named for Ambrose Burnside

Soldier and politician Ambrose Burnside (1824-1881).
Ambrose Burnside

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…

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.”


2 thoughts on “Babies named for Ambrose Burnside

  1. I’m curious about any boys named Ambrose with the last name Everett. I can see sliding into Ambrose so easily if your last name is already Burnside but did it also trigger folks with that Everett in place, too? OO! OO! A.B. Everetts??

    wanders off chuckling…

  2. That’s a good idea, actually. :)

    I can’t find anyone named “Ambrose Burnside Everett,” and most of those named “Ambrose Everett” were born during other time periods.

    But I did find one Ambrose Everett who was born in the 1860s in Pennsylvania…right time, right place…so it’s very possible that he was named with Burnside in mind. (He pops up on three U.S. Censuses, including the 1870 one.)

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