Ambrose E. Burnside was ain the Union army during the (1861–1865). Instantly recognizable for his bushy sideburns (the term itself is derived from reversing his last name), Burnside was one of four men to command the in Virginia. Offered the job twice previously—following ‘s failed in 1862 and following the later that summer—he turned it down, citing his own lack of experience and encouraging his peers and, subsequently, historians to question his self-confidence. When he did take command of the army, he led it into disaster at the (1862), perhaps the Union’s most lopsided defeat of the war. After his corps was badly defeated at the (1864) he went home on a leave of absence from which he was never called back to duty. Burnside’s dismal reputation is probably unfair, however. He was an innovative engineer but an unlucky general who was often made a scapegoat for larger failures.