They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance: USA Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick

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Battleline
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They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance: USA Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick

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Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick (b. 1813, d. 1864) “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” Anyone who has studied Federal Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick knows the irony of his infamous last words. While setting up his line at Spotsylvania May 9, 1864, Sedgwick was struck dead by a bullet fired by a Confederate sharpshooter, who wasn’t aiming for elephants. Sedgwick, struck under the left eye, was instantly killed. It was a bitter ending for a U.S. Military graduate who was a veteran of the Mexican War, commanded both artillery and cavalry prior to the Civil War and survived both wounds and leadership turnover in the Army of the Potomac prior to his final battle. Sedgwick was born Sept. 13, 1813, in Cornwall Hollow, Connecticut. Early education included local schools, self instruction and time at the Sharon Academy. He graduated with the U.S. Military Class of 1837 (24th), specializing in artillery, and saw quick service in combat against the Seminoles in Florida. He helped with the relocation of the Cherokee tribe to Oklahoma and helped in the Aroostook War, a border dispute between Maine and New Brunswick Providence, Canada. During the Mexican War, he served with both major U.S. armies and received brevets to captain and major. In 1855, Sedgwick was made major of the 1st Cavalry, where he saw action in Bleeding Kansas, in the Mormon Expedition and against Indians. Sedgwick advanced to colonel as Southern officers left the army. On Aug. 31, 1861, Sedgwick was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. During the Peninsular Campaign, Sedgwick led a division in Maj. Gen. Edwin Sumner’s II Corps. Sedgwick was knocked out of action when he was wounded at Frayser’s Farm, part of the Seven Days Campaign, June 30, 1862. Sedgwick was promoted to major general of volunteers July 25, 1862, to rank from July 4. At Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862) Sedgwick again was wounded after his troops were placed in line of Confederate artillery fire. He was hit three times and carried unconscious from the field. Within 90 days, Sedgwick was back with the army, first in charge of the IX Corps and then with the VI Corps. At Chancellorsville (May 3-4, 1863), Sedgwick force took Marye’s Heights near Fredericksburg and was able to rejoin the army in good order. At Gettysburg (July 1-3), Sedgwick’s VI Corps was used as a reserve. At Rappahannock Bridge, Oct. 22, 1863, Sedgwick led the V and VI Corps in a daring successful night assault which yielded 1,700 prisoners, four artillery pieces and eight battle flags. During the Overland Campaign of 1864, Sedgwick was solid at the Wilderness May 5-7, 1864. However, in the next battle at Spotsylvania Court House, his aides cautioned him about exposing himself to enemy fire. After making one statement, Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter. He was buried in Cornwall Hollow, Connecticut.
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Gil R.
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RE: They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance: USA Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick

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Copied, thanks.
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