Was born in Homer, N. Y., December sixteenth, 1837. His father's name was Marvin Burnham, and his mother's maiden name was Caroline Webster. His great grandfather, John Burnham, was wounded in the revolutionary war, and his two great grandfathers on his mother's side, Selah Bacon and Samuel Webster, were both in the revolutionary war. The latter, disguised as an Indian, assisted in making tea of an English ship-load in Boston Harbor, and was with General Gates at Burgoyne's surrender, at Saratoga.
At the time of his enlistment, Lieutenant Burnham was engaged in farming. He was educated in the common school, with academical training at Cortland Academy. He had also taught district school. He spent nearly three years west, engaged in teaching.
He enlisted as a private in Company D, October fourth, 1861, and on the organization of the Regiment, was made First Sergeant. He held this position until February, 1863, when he received a commission as First Lieutenant, and was soon after appointed Acting Regimental Quartermaster, by Colonel Wainwright.
Up to this time he had been on every march and in every battle with the Regiment, and fortunately escaped unhurt. Of about seventy muskets left in the Regiment after the battle of Antietam, he carried one. In January, 1864, he was appointed A. C. M. of the Brigade, and occupied the position until March following, when the Regiment was transferred to the Second Brigade. He was then, for a short time, Acting Assistant Quartermaster of the Second Brigade. On the first of December, 1864, he was discharged on expiration of enlistment. With the exception of two leaves of absence of ten days each, Lieutenant Burnham was never absent from duty but two days during the three years, and his attention to business was proverbial. His post-office address is Homer, Cortland Co., N. Y.
- From the Regimental History of the 76th New York, A. P. Smith, 1867
One of the most remarkable members of the 76th Regiment was Uberto A. Burnham of Cortland, who enlisted in the unit at the age of 23 on October 4, 1861. He was mustered in as First Sergeant of Company D on October 5, 1861; as First Lieutenant on October 7, 1862; and Quartermaster on May 19, 1863. It was said that he was never off duty (except for two short leaves) until he was discharged on December 11, 1864, near Petersburg, Va. Uberto Burnham was the last surviving member of the 76th NY, and died on July 3, 1930. He is buried in Duluth, Minnesota.
Fortunately, Burnham was a prolific writer, and many of his letters and diaries are preserved in the New York State Archives at Albany. The collection consists of 222 items, 114 of which are letters written to his family and friends between 1857 and 1864.
Burnham was born on December 16, 1837, in Homer, the son of Marvin and Caroline Webster Burnham, descendents of Revolutionary War soldiers. Prior to enlisting, Uberto was a school teacher, his first assignment a one-room schoolhouse at Black Creek near Binghamton. His salary was $5 per week, with every other Saturday and holidays off. In a letter, he wrote "Everybody who teaches school ought to have the sympathies of the world. If anybody merits pity and sympathy, it is the teacher." In 1859 he was in Illinois, where he had a chance to see Abraham Lincoln - noting that he was "ugly".
Returning from the war, he said that one of saddest days of his life was when he went to Dryden, leading home the riderless horse of his friend, Adjutant Hubert Carpenter, who died from injuries received in the Battle of the Wilderness on May 8, 1864.
Letter on the execution of Pvt. Winslow Allen
Burnham's Account of Brawner's Farm and Second Bull Run
"Uberto Burnham Remembers South Mountain", article from The National Tribune, 1928.
Burnham's letter about the condition of the 76th after Gettysburg.
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- Last Updated February 21, 1999