Major General John Sedgwick Statue
Dedicated June 19th, 1913
(Located approx. 500 feet north of the intersection of Wheatfield Road and Sedgwick Ave on east side)
Also See the Sculptor/Statue Related Page for additional info on this monument.
Dedicated on June 19th, 1913 the equestrian bronze statue of Major General John Sedgwick is, in my opinion, one of the finest sculptures on the Gettysburg Battlefield. The bronze, cast by Bureau Brothers of Philadelphia, stands nearly 15 feet tall mounted on a 6 foot high pedestal. The monument, in all its grandeur, is only a snapshot of the life of John Sedgwick.
Brief Bio. of General Sedgwick:
Sedgwick was born in Cornwall Connecticut . He attended the United States Military Academy graduating in 1837 ranked 24th of 50. Commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Army's artillery he would fight in the Seminole War and would receive two brevet promotions during the Mexican War to captain for Contreras and Churubusco, and to major for Chapultepec. After returning from Mexico he would be transferred to the cavalry and served in Kansas, in the Utah War, and also in the Indian Wars.
In the summer and fall of 1860 Sedgwick commanded an expedition to establish a new fort on the Platte River in what is now Colorado.
At the start of the Civil War, Sedgwick served as a colonel and Assistant Inspector General of the Military Department of Washington. He missed the First Battle of Bull Run, as he was recovering from cholera. Promoted to brigadier general on August 31, 1861, he commanded the 2nd brigade of Maj. Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman's division in the Army of the Potomac, then his own division, which was designated the 2nd division of the II Corps for the Peninsula Campaign. In Virginia, he fought at Yorktown and Seven Pines and was wounded in the arm and leg at the Battle of Glendale. He was promoted to major general on July 4, 1862.
In the Battle of Antietam, II Corps commander Maj. Gen. Edwin Sumner impulsively sent Sedgwick's division in an assault without proper reconnaissance. His division was engaged by Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson from three sides, resulting in 2,200 casualties. Sedgwick himself was hit by three bullets, in the wrist, leg, and shoulder, and was out of action until after the Battle of Fredericksburg.
From December 26, 1862, he briefly led the II Corps and the IX Corps, and then finally the VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac, which he commanded until his death in 1864. During the Battle of Chancellorsville, his corps faced Fredericksburg in an initial holding action while Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s other four corps maneuvered against Robert E. Lee’s left flank. He was slow to take action, but eventually crossed the Rappahannock River and assaulted Maj. Gen. Jubal Early’s small force on Marye's Heights. Moving west slowly to join forces with Hooker and trap Lee between the halves of the army, he was stopped by elements of Lee's Second Corps (under Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, following the death of Jackson) at the Battle of Salem Church, forcing his eventual retreat back over the Rappahannock.
At the Battle of Gettysburg, his corps arrived late on July 2 and as a result only few units were able to take part in the final Union counterattacks in the Wheatfield. In the 1864 Overland Campaign, the VI Corps was on the Union right at the Battle of the Wilderness and defended against assaults by Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps.
Sedgwick would fall at Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, on May 9, 1864. Confederate sharpshooters were about 1,000 yards away and their shots caused members of his staff and artillerymen to duck for cover. Sedgwick strode around in the open and was quoted as saying, "What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." Although ashamed, his men continued to flinch and he repeated, "I'm ashamed of you, dodging that way. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." Just seconds later he fell forward with a bullet hole below his left eye.
The remains of General Sedgwick, clad in full uniform with his features "presenting an almost life like appearance", were laid to rest on May 15th, 1864 in Cornwall. His coffin was adorned with the "dear old flag" and his sword along with a wreath sent by Mrs. Lincoln.
Photos and information provided here is from:
Dedication of the Equestrian Statue of
Major-General John Sedgwick
Erected on the Battlefield of Gettysburg
by the State of Connecticut June, 19th 1913
Hartford, Published by the State 1913
The horse "Handsome Joe" given to General Sedgwick by the men of the II Corps. The officers and men raised nearly $1700.00 to purchase the horse and equipment.
The Sculptor used the likeness of "Handsome Joe" in the monument.
The tablets and inscriptions on the monument read the following:
Right. Bronze Tablet inscribed:
Major General John Sedgwick
Born at Cornwall, Conn. Sept. 13, 1813
Killed at Spottsylvania, Va May 9th 1864
In Command of
The Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac
at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg,
Wilderness and Spottsylvania.
Left Bronze Tablet inscribed:
Erected by the State of Connecticut in
grateful memory of the service given
to the NAtions by her honored son
loyal citizen, illustrious soldier
Front. Bronze Tablet
The Seal of Connecticut. The name
"Sedgwick" cut in granite base.
Rear. Bronze Tablet
The Sixth Army Corps Badge
(click picture to enlarge)
Dedication Day June 19th, 1913.
It was reported nearly 500 people attended the original dedication of the "Sedgwick".
Several weeks later during the 50th reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg the monument would be re-dedicated by the:
"Sixth Corps" Society Army of the Potomac
on July, 1st 1913.
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