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Born in Delaware, Maj. Gen. George Sykes (right) graduated from West Point in 1842.  After service in the Second Seminole War, he saw action during many of the major campaigns of the Mexican-American War.  With the beginning of the Civil War, Sykes rapidly advanced in rank and led a brigade, then division of US Regulars during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign.  Serving in the Army of the Potomac's V Corps, his men were present at Second Manassas, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.  In May 1863, Sykes' division took part in the opening phases of the Battle of Chancellorsville.  The following month, he ascended to command V Corps when its previous leader, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, was appointed to lead the army.  Heavily engaged at the Battle of Gettysburg, Sykes' played a key role in improvising the defense of the Union left on July 2.  His performance that fall during the Bristoe and Mine Run Campaigns failed to show the same skill and his nickname of "Tardy George" - received as West Point for his methodical and thoughtful manner - returned.  In March 1864, Sykes was relieved and replaced by Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren.  Sent to Kansas, he played only minor role in the rest of the conflict.  Remaining in the US Army after the war, Sykes died at Fort Brown, TX in 1880 while serving as commander of the District of the Rio Grande.

Army of the Potomac - Corps Commanders:

Photograph Courtesy of the Library of Congress


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