About Sidney Burbank
Sidney Burbank (1807 – December 7, 1882) served as an officer in the regular army before and during the American Civil War. For a time he led a brigade in the Army of the Potomac.
Burbank was born in Lexington, Massachusetts in 1807, the son of Col. Sullivan Burbank, an officer in the U. S. Army since the War of 1812. Sidney Burbank attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating 17th in a class of 46 in 1829. Burbank was assigned to the infantry, serving in Indian wars, including the Seminole War. As a captain he established Fort Duncan near Eagle Pass, Texas in 1849. For most of his career, he served in the 1st U.S. Infantry. Burbank was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel on May 14, 1861 and colonel on September 16, 1862. He served on recruiting duty and organized the 13th U.S. Infantry at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri. Burbank succeeded to command of the 2nd U.S. Infantry following the death of Dixon Miles.
Service with the Army of the Potomac
Colonel Burbank joined the Army of the Potomac in 1863. He served as a brigade commander in the second division of V Corps under Maj. Gen. George Sykes at the Battle of Chancellorsville. His brigade was composed of regiments of regular infantry. Burbank led the same brigade under Brig. Gen. Romeyn B. Ayres at the Battle of Gettysburg. Burbank's brigade lost heavily when it was attacked on the flank while deploying in the Wheatfield on July 2, 1863. The attack was executed by the brigade of Brig. Gen. William T. Wofford, and it cost Burbank's brigade 447 casualties. Afterwards, his regular brigade was combined with that of Col. Hannibal Day, serving under Burbank in the Bristoe Campaign and the Mine Run Campaign. He was nominated by Meade for Brigadier general but not promoted.
Service in Kentucky
Burbank's health was poor, and in the winter of 1863-1864 his eyesight was failing. Burbank left the Army of the Potomac for less demanding assignments. (The regulars were made part of a brigade under Ayers in General Charles Griffin's first division V Corps.) Thereafter Burbank commanded a draft rendezvous in Columbus, Ohio and the headquarters of the 2nd U.S. Infantry in Kentucky until the end of the war, as well as the Newport Barracks in the Department of Kentucky.
A brevet grade of brigadier general was awarded to Burbank for his service during the Battle of Gettysburg. He rebuilt his regiment, as well as serving on boards and commissions, until he retired in 1870. Burbank lived in Newport, Kentucky until he died on December 7, 1882, of an intestinal blockage.
Burbank's son, Capt. Sullivan Burbank, was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness.