One cool part of my experience in Fredericksburg last week that I didn’t yet get to mention: Ambrose Burnside’s sword is on display in the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center.
A Pennsylvania collector, Alan Genetti, has loaned the sword to the National Park Service for a total of 77 days—the same length of time Burnside commanded the Army of the Potomac.
For those who might not be able to read the text in the display, it says:
Ambrose Burnside received the sword in a lavish ceremony in Newport, Rhode Island, just weeks after the First Battle of Bull Run. It came not from the government, but as a token of esteem from the people of Newport and men in Company F of the 1st Rhode Island Infantry. This connection with community likely helped make this sword his favorite. It appears in several wartime images of the general.
The sketch below, made during the Battle of Fredericksburg, depicts Burnside giving the order to withdrawn—and he wears his sword at his side.