A Civil War Biography

Henry Cornelius Burnett

Burnett was born 5 October 1825 in Essex County, Virginia. He moved with his family to Kentucky at an early age. He studied the law and was admitted to the bar in 1847 then set up a practice in Cadiz, Kentucky. He was clerk of the Trigg County, Kentucky circuit court from 1851 until 1853.

He was elected from the 1st district to the US House of Representatives in 1854 and took his seat on 4 March 1855. He was reelected three times. He was president of the Kentucky Southern Conference in Russellville held 29 October 1861.

Burnett was appointed colonel of the 8th Kentucky Infantry on 10 November 1861. He presided over the sovereignty convention in Russellville on 18 November 1861 which passed an ordinance of secession and organized a state government sending Burnett to the Provisional Confederate Congress. He was expelled from the US House on 3 December 1861 for supporting secession.

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