Stephen Gano Burbridge was born August 19th 1831 in Georgetown, Kentucky. He attended Georgetown College and the Kentucky Military Institute. After graduating Burbridge became a lawyer.
When the Civil War started Burbridge joined the Union army, forming a regiment; the 26th Kentucky, which he was the Colonel of. He was promoted to Brigadier General on June 9th 1862. He saw action at several battles including Shiloh, and the Vicksburg Campaign. In June of 1864 he succeeded Union General Jeremiah T Boyle in command of the District of Kentucky which had a problem with Confederate guerrilla fighting. He was given a brevet to Major General after repulsing Confederate General John Hunt Morgan’s raid on Kentucky on July 4th 1864. One July 16th 1864 Burbridge issued Order Number 59, which said, "Whenever an unarmed Union citizen is murdered, four guerrillas will be selected from the prison and publicly shot to death at the most convenient place near the scene of the outrages." Do to the outrage of the population and civil authorities of Kentucky, Burbridge was relieved of his command in January 1865.
After the war Burbridge moved to Brooklyn, New York where he died December 2nd 1894. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
For more information about Burbridge’s Order # 59, I recommend Four Confederate Soldiers Martyred at Pleasureville