MPL Talks: Ambrose Burnside – Innovator in Facial Hair & Firearms

Major General Ambrose Burnside is best known for two things: his failures as a Civil War general and that facial hair.

But Burnside led a remarkable life both before and after the Civil War.

Matt Jones of the James A. Garfield National Historic Site put Burnside beneath the microscope during the March lecture of our Leaders & Legacies of the Civil War series. He discussed how:

  • Burnside created a rifle so impressive that it was the third most popular carbine during the Civil War
  • Burnside’s innovations in firearms nearly ruined him
  • Burnside befriended Otto von Bismarck during the Franco-Prussian war
  • his ex-girlfriend became a Confederate spy

Our Civil War series continues at noon on Wednesday, April 11, at our Main Branch. The topic will be the Mexican-American War where many Union and Confederate generals, including Burnside, began their military careers. The talk is free and open to all.

If you’re interested in Civil War history, some other previous talks in our Civil War series can be viewed online in their entirety:

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