Major General Daniel Edgar Sickles

Daniel Edgar Sickles

Daniel Edgar Sickles

John W. Griffiths III

John W. Griffiths III

Daniel Edgar Sickles- American soldier, politician, and diplomat. Born in 1819 New York City, he was the only child of George and Susan Sickles. Following in his father’s footsteps, Sickles became a lawyer and soon became a prominent Tammany Hall politician for the Democratic Party in New York. Before the war Sickles represented New York City for a term as a U.S. Congressman.

Known as “Sickles the Incredible”, this remarkable man served in the Civil War with distinction as he rose through the ranks to become the commander of the renowned 3rd Corps in the Army of the Potomac.  Beginning the war as the colonel of the N.Y. Excelsior Brigade, which he raised and equipped, he eventually became the highest ranking Volunteer officer in the Army of the Potomac, achieving the rank of Major General.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Gettysburg, where his right leg was amputated after it was struck by a cannonball.  Although he made a full recovery after the amputation, Sickles was denied further active service in the Army and his beloved 3rd Corps was itself disbanded in the Spring of 1864.

Sickles Autograph

Sickles Autograph

After the War of the Rebellion, General Sickles served with distinction as the U.S. Minister to Spain, Sheriff of New York County and again as a U.S. Congressman.  As a congressman, he proposed the legislation that created the Gettysburg National Military Park. Of the principal senior Union generals who fought at Gettysburg, virtually all, with the conspicuous exception of Sickles, have been memorialized with statues. When asked why there was no memorial to him, Sickles supposedly said, “The entire battlefield is a memorial to Dan Sickles.” The monument to the New York Excelsior Brigade at Gettysburg was originally commissioned to include a bust of Sickles, but instead the memorial ended up with a figure of an eagle.  D.E. Sickles died on May 3, 1914 at the age of 94.  At his death he was the last surviving General Officer who had fought at Gettysburg.  He is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

John W. Griffiths III

D.E. Sickles is portrayed by John W. Griffiths III.  John received a bachelor’s degree in U.S. History from Norwich University, the Military College of Vermont.  While at Norwich, John served in the Norwich Independent Battery as a gunner for one of the school’s Civil War era James’ Rifles.  John also received a master’s degree in military history and colonial American history from the University of South Carolina.  John is a retired US Army infantry officer who strongly believes in keeping the memory of the Civil War alive in the 21st Century and he gives Civil War living history presentations to local schools and at regional Civil War Living History events.  John lives in Palmer Township, Pennsylvania but visits Gettysburg frequently with his father and children throughout the year.

If you cannot find him at Gettysburg, John can be contacted through this web site at john.griffiths@uniongenerals.org

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