A Civil War Biography
William Wallace Burns
Burns was born 3 September 1825 in Coshocton, Ohio. He was appointed
to West Point in 1843 and graduated 28th in the class of 1847. He
was assigned as a 2nd lieutenant to the 3rd US Infantry and served
during the war with Mexico on recruiting duty. He spent the next
several years on the frontier in the West and Southwest until 1858
when he accepted a staff commission as captain in the commissary
department in which he was assigned as Commissary of Subsistence.
When the war began his first assignment was as George B McClellan's
commissary chief during the West Virginia campaign. Burns was
appointed brigadier general of volunteers on 28 September 1861. He
commanded the 2nd brigade of John Sedgwick's 2nd division in the II
Corps during the peninsula campaign. He was wounded in the face at
Savage Station and would not return to active duty for many months.
He returned to command the 1st division of the IX Corps which was
part of William B Franklin's Left Grand Division at Fredericksburg.
Following the Mud March, Burns, preferring administration to field
command, resigned his commission in the volunteers on 20 March 1863
and returned to staff duty with the rank of major. He was assigned
as chief commissary for the Department of the Northwest and remained
in that assignment until the end of the war. He was brevetted
brigadier general in the regular army on 13 March 1865.
Burns remained in the army following the war and was assigned as
chief commissary for various Southern departments until he retired
on 3 September 1889 with the rank of colonel and assistant
commissary general. He had been promoted to lieutenant colonel in
1874 then full colonel in 1884. He died 19 April 1892 in Beaufort,
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