Born in 1813, Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick (right) graduated from West Point in 1837 and saw extensive service on the frontier and in the Mexican-American War. Serving in the cavalry when the Civil War began, he was promoted to brigadier general in August 1861. The following spring, Sedgwick led a division during the Peninsula Campaign and was wounded at Glendale. Remaining with his men, he sustained three wounds during an ill-conceived attack during the Battle of Antietam on September 17. Returning to the army in late December, Sedgwick received command of VI Corps in early 1863. In this role, the played a key role at Chancellorsville but saw little action two months later at Gettysburg. With the beginning of the Overland Campaign in May 1864, Sedgwick performed well at the Battle of the Wilderness before moving his men south to Spotsylvania Court House. On May 9, while overseeing the placement of an artillery battery, he chastised his men for flinching due to fire from sharpshooters. Moments after famously stating that "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance," Sedgwick was shot in the head and killed. Beloved by his men and known as "Uncle John", he was the highest-ranking Union casualty of the war.
Army of the Potomac - Generals:
- Major General Winfield Scott Hancock
- Major General Daniel Sickles
- Major General John Reynolds
- Major General Abner Doubleday
- Major General John Buford
Photograph Courtesy of the Library of Congress