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Major General John Sedgwick Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: September 13, 1813
Died: May 09, 1864
Biography | show moreshow less
West Point graduate John Sedgwick (1813-1864) would become the highest ranking Union officer killed in the Civil War. Brevetted to captain and then to major during Scott's advance on Mexico City (1846), he became a brigadier general at the beginning of the Civil War, rising swiftly to command of a brigade, a division, and finally a corps. He was promoted to major general on July 4, 1862. Severely wounded in combat with Stonewall Jackson's Confederates at Antietam, he recovered in time to see action at Chancellorsville and again at Gettysburg. Sedgwick was considered a highly reliable officer, popular with both his troops and his commanders. When U. S. Grant came east to face Robert E. Lee in 1864, he placed Sedgwick in command of VI Corps. He was slain on May 9, 1864, at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House while exhorting his troops to advance despite Confederate snipers. His last words were, "They couldn't hit an elephant from this range." West Point tradition says that a cadet in full dress uniform, under arms, who spins the spurs on Sedgwick's equestrian statue at midnight will do well on the final exams.

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