Daniel Sickles 1819–1914
Born New York City
A career politician with no prior military experience, Daniel Sickles took the lead in organizing New York’s “Excelsior Brigade” during the initial months of the war. Placed in command of that unit with the rank of brigadier general of volunteers, Sickles performed capably during the Army of the Potomac’s Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days battles in 1862. He was promoted to major general in November 1862 and later led the Third Corps at the Battle of Chancellorsville, where his troops attacked the rear guard of General “Stonewall” Jackson’s army and then sustained substantial casualties during a retreat ordered by General Joseph Hooker. At Gettysburg, Sickles disregarded General George G. Meade’s orders and deployed his men in such a way that they were decimated by General James Longstreet’s Confederates. Wounded by enemy cannon fire, Sickles lost his right leg to amputation and never returned to the field.