John Sedgwick’s Last Words

The Union VI Corps commander was with his men when he made this remark about the accuracy of the confederate sharpshooters…

“What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? “

He continued on saying

“I’m ashamed of you, dodging that way. They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.””

As soon as he finished saying that, he fell forward with a bullet hole in his left eye.

John Sedgewick was the highest ranking union casualty of the war. Although General James McPherson was in command of an army at the time of his death Sedgwick had a higher seniority.

Sedgwick’s reputation was that of a solid, dependable, but relatively unaggressive general. He was well liked by his soldiers, who referred to him affectionately as “Uncle John”. His death was met by universal sorrow; even Robert E. Lee expressed his sadness over the fate of an old friend. George G. Meade wept at the news. Ulysses S. Grant characterized Sedgwick as one who “was never at fault when serious work was to be done” and he told his staff that the loss for him was worse than that of an entire division.


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