General John Sedgwick Relics, Including Corps Badge With Hair

Lot of 5.

One of the most highly regarded, unfailingly competent, and truly beloved commanders of the Federal army during the Civil War, Major General John Sedgwick may best be remembered for the bitter irony of the last words that ever left his lips: They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance! This fine lot includes a lock of Major General Sedgwick's hair intricately woven and placed within a golden Greek cross, a symbol of Sedgwick's 6th Army Corps, .625 in. square; an English gold coin found in Sedgwick's uniform pocket upon his death, .75 in diameter; a small pocket knife, .75 in. closed; and a letter written by Sedgwick's niece, Emily Sedgwick Tracy, that describes the final relics of the Major General.

John Sedgwick (1813-1864) was an old soldier with two decades of military experience fighting Indians and Mexicans before the Civil War. Upon hostilities, Sedgwick inherited the Colonelcy of the 1st US Cavalry and was quickly appointed Brigadier General in August 1861. He took command of a division and was wounded at Frayser's Farm in June 1862, but was still promoted to Major General in July. At Antietam, Sedgwick was wounded three times. Shortly before Chancellorsville he took over the 6th Corps and commanded the same at Gettysburg where it was not as heavily engaged as other units of the army. In the Overland Campaign of 1864, the 6th Corps defended against assaults by Gen. Ewell's 2nd Corps at the Battle of the Wilderness. While supervising the deployment of his troops at Spotsylvania on May 9, 1864, Sedgwick's front attracted Confederate fire when some of the infantry shifted. During this incident, Sedgwick was instantly killed by a rebel sharpshooter when a bullet struck him below the left eye, only moments after he had uttered his famous quote in response to observing several soldiers frantically dodging enemy fire. Subsequently, General Sedgwick's body was accompanied home by members of his staff and was interred in the family plot in Cornwall Hollow, CT.

Emily Sedgwick Tracy (1842-1933) was the daughter of John Sedgwick's brother, Philo Collins Sedgwick. Upon her death in 1933, Emily was laid to rest right behind her uncle in the family plot. In the letter penned by Emily and included in this archive, she documents the General's relics: The Enclosed English gold piece was found in Gen Sedgwick's purse when he was shot and taken from his pocket- / The Greek Cross the badge of the 6th Corps - with his hair in the centre - / The little knife brought me from Sheffield Eng. By Mrs. Stuart Wolcott / Emily S. Tracy. Mrs. Stuart Wolcott was Emily's cousin. She was the stepdaughter of General Sedgwick's sister, Emily Sedgwick Welch, who published A Biographical Sketch: Major General John Sedgwick in 1899, and whose letters from the General form a large part of his published correspondence.

A remarkable group of relics with great provenance.

Condition:Expected folds in letter.

Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000


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