Cornelius Burdette competed in three individual events at the 1912 Olympics, with a best finish in those of eighth. In the team military event, however, the West Virginia National Guardsman led the American shooters with the top individual score in that match. Burdette was a career Army and Marine officer, who retired in 1937 as a major, serving in the ordnance department. He served in the Philippines and the Far East, and was a member of the Cuban Expeditionary Force. In 1953 Burdette received the Distinguished Service Medal from the governor of West Virginia.