Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BURNETT, Ward Benjamin, soldier, born in Pennsylvania in 1811 ; died in Washington, District of Columbia, 24 June, 1884. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1832, served in the Black Hawk war of that year, in garrison at Fort Jackson, Louisiana, was an instructor at the military academy in 1833-'4, and on topographical and ordinance duty until 1836, when he resigned and became a civil engineer. At the beginning of the Mexican war he was made colonel of the 2d New York volunteers, and was sent to join the army under General Scott. He was engaged with his regiment at the siege of Vera Cruz, and in the battles of Cerro Gordo, Contreras, and Churubusco, in the last of which he was severely wounded. [['he regiment was disbanded 1 August, 1848. Col. Burnett received the thanks of the state legislature and a silver medal from the City of New York, and was brevetted brigadier-general. The surviving members of his regiment gave him a gold medal, 20 August, 1853, and further recognized his services, 18 August, 1859, by presenting to him the gold snuff-box in which the freedom of the City of New York had been officially given to Andrew Jackson forty years before. As a civil engineer he was engaged on dry-dock construction from 1849 till 1855 in the United States navy-yards at Brooklyn and Philadelphia, and on the water-works of Brooklyn and Norfolk, Virginia, in 1855 and 1856. From 1858 till 1860 he was United States surveyor-general of Kansas and Nebraska. During the latter years of his life he was an invalid, and gave up all active work. He was buried at West Point. He mar= tied a daughter of General Aaron Ward, of Westchester County, and his son, a lieutenant in the navy, adopted his grandfather's name.
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