Saturday, May 9, 2009

Couldn't Hit An Elephant

General John Sedgwick was killed on May 9th 1864 during the Battle of Spotsylvania by a Confederate sharpshooter.

Major General John Sedgwick had been in the service of the Union since the beginning of the war. He was well like and respected by his men who often called him “Uncle John”. As the Army of the Potomac arrived near the town of Spotsylvania Court House, General Sedgwick’s 6th Corp was ordered to General Warren’s 5th Corp’s support. Seeking shelter from the Minnie Balls which whizzed by them, some of Sedgwick’s men laid down on the ground. He chided his men for their concern under fire, but his men asked him to show more caution as the enemy was watching them from just across the field. General Sedgwick responded by saying, “They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." It was than that Sedgwick was hit by a bullet, blood coming from just below his left eye, the General collapsed to the ground. He died quickly, supposedly with a smile still on his face. He was shot by a Confederate sharpshooter at a distance of about 500 yards; the man was using a .451 caliber Whitworth rifle. It is believe that the shooter was a man known as “Kansas Tom” Johnson, who was himself killed latter in the battle.

His soldiers would deeply mourn his loss, as did men; old friends, on the Confederate side. Sedgwick’s body was sent to his home in Connecticut for burial. He was the highest ranking Union officer to be killed on the battle field during the Overland Campaign.

For more information check these out
The Death of General John Sedgwick

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