John Sedgwick 1813–1864
Born Cornwall Hollow, Connecticut
Known affectionately as “Uncle John” by his troops, John Sedgwick was a favorite of General George McClellan, who appointed him to a divisional command with the Army of the Potomac in February 1862. Sedgwick took part in the Peninsula Campaign and was first wounded at Glendale during the Seven Days battles in late June. Promoted to major general of volunteers, he again saw action at Antietam, where his division suffered heavy casualties and he sustained multiple wounds. In General Joseph Hooker’s Chancellorsville campaign of 1863, Sedgwick’s men won a small victory at Fredericksburg, but when they were later forced back across the Rappahannock River, Hooker blamed their commander for the campaign’s failure. In May 1864, Sedgwick lost his life at the Wilderness while directing the placement of artillery. Cautioned that he might draw enemy fire, Sedgwick replied, “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance” and was felled immediately by a Confederate sharpshooter.