Some less impressive generals during the Civil War are remembered simply for being as equally terrible as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were great.
Union General Ambrose Burnside is one example of incompetence and ineptitude that was nothing more than a burden to his subordinates and his men.
General Ambrose Burnside
Burnside’s Blunder at Antietam
One of General Burnside’s most famous blunders was during the battle of Antietam at a bridge which forever bears his name called Burnside bridge.
He ordered his men to cross the bridge so that Union forces could cross Antietam creek and continue their attack against the Confederates. The bridge was defended by a small group of Confederate soldiers who held the high ground on the other side.
The defenders had easy targets as the Union troops tried to cross the narrow bridge.
Hundreds of General Burnside’s men were needlessly sacrificed trying to cross this bridge. Meanwhile General Burnside could have had his soldiers cross the creek a few hundred feet downstream where it was not defended and it was shallow enough for his men to have easily and safely walked across the Antietam creek.
Burnside himself even admitted publicly that he would make a very poor general, apparently nobody was listening and he was put in command anyway.