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  • CDV of General Sedwick's Memorial

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    CDV of General Sedgwick's Memorial - Inventory Number: CDV 329

    This memorial to Major General John Sedgwick from the members of his last command, the 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, was dedicated in 1868.  Sedgwick was an 1837 USMA graduate who fought in many of the major battles of the Mexican War.  During the Battle of the Wilderness, he rallied his soldiers to victory.  Sedgwick was later killed at the Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864.  His statue reportedly was cast from the Confederate cannon captured by his 6th Corps.  Outstanding contrast on image!  

    Major John Sedgwick:

     Born: 09/13/1813 in Cornwal Hollow, CT

     Died: 05/09/1864 in Spotsylvania, VA

     USMA: 1837, class rank: 24/50

     Sedgwick was a teacher, a career military officer, and a Union Army general in the American Civil War. He was wounded three times at the Battle of Antietam while leading his division in an unsuccessful assault, causing him to miss the Battle of Fredericksburg. Under his command, the VI Corps played an important role in the Chancellorsville Campaign by engaging Confederate troops at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of Salem Church. His corps was the last to arrive at the Battle of Gettysburg, and thus did not see much action. Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House on May 9, 1864, making him and Major General John F. Reynolds (July 1st, 1863, Gettysburg) the highest-ranking United States soldiers to be killed in the war. He is well remembered for his ironic last words: "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."


    Sedgwick, John, major-general, was born in Connecticut about 1815.  He was graduated at West Point in 1837, twenty-fourth in a class of fifty members, among whom were Gens. Benham, Hooker, Arnold, French, and others of the Federal service, and the Confederate Gens. Bragg, Early, and Pemberton.  He entered the Mexican war as first lieutenant of artillery, and was successively brevetted captain and major for gallant conduct at Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec.  He also distinguished himself at the head of his command in the attack on the San Cosmo gate of the city of Mexico.  At the outbreak of the Civil war he held the position of lieutenant-colonel of the 2nd U. S. cavalry.  On April 25, 1861, he was promoted to the colonelcy of the 4th cavalry, and on Aug. 31 was commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers and placed in command of a brigade of the Army of the Potomac, which in the subsequent organization of the army was assigned to the 2nd corps, under Gen. Sumner, Gen. Sedgwick assuming command of the 3d division of the corps.  In this capacity he took part in the siege of Yorktown and the subsequent pursuit of the enemy up the Peninsula, and greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Fair Oaks, where the timely arrival of Sumner's troops saved the day.  In all the seven days' fighting, and particularly at Savage Station and Glendale, he bore an honorable part, and at the battle of Antietam he exhibited the most conspicuous gallantry, exposing his person with a recklessness which greatly imperiled his life.  On this occasion he was twice wounded, but refused for two hours to be taken from the field.  On Dec. 23, 1862, he was nominated by the president a major-general of volunteers, having previously been made a brevet brigadier-general of the regular army, and in the succeeding February he assumed command of the 6th army corps.  At the head of these troops he carried Marye's heights in the rear of Fredericksburg during the Chancellorsville campaign in May 1863, and after the retreat of Gen. Hooker across the Rappahannock, succeeded only by very hard fighting in withdrawing his command in the face of a superior force, against which he had contended for a whole day, to the left bank of the river.  He commanded the left wing of the Army of the Potomac during the advance from the Rappahannock into Maryland in June, and also at the succeeding battle of Gettysburg, where he arrived on the second day of the fighting, after one of the most extraordinary forced marches on record, and where his steady courage inspired confidence among his tried troops.  During the passage of the Rapidan on Nov. 7 he succeeded by a well-executed maneuver in capturing a whole Confederate division with a number of guns and colors, for which he was thanked by Gen. Meade in a general order.  In command of his corps he took part in the spring campaign of the Wilderness, under Gen. Grant and on May 5 and 6 had position on the Federal right wing, where the hardest fighting of those sanguinary engagements took place.  On May 9, 1864, while directing the placing of some pieces of artillery in position in the intrenchments in front of Spotsylvania Court sharpshooter and instantly killed.

    Inventory Number: CDV 329