Total War: March to September 1864

Lee on the Defensive

Was there a loss of equal importance to the other side?

Yes. Major-General John Sedgwick (1813–1864) had been, for almost three years, the steadiest leader of the Army of the Potomac. Never considered for the top command, and never seeking it, “Father John” had been a godsend to his men; his constant concern for their well-being had been seen and was rewarded with great loyalty. Not unlike James Longstreet, Sedgwick was often contemptuous of enemy fire; at the Wilderness he told his aides not to be concerned, that the enemy could not hit a standing barn. Just seconds later he was hit, and he died soon afterward.

The loss of Major-General Sedgwick paralleled that of James Longstreet. In both cases, this was a loss that could not be replaced. But the Northern men, sensing that they were getting somewhere, dedicated themselves with a ferocity that was not matched by the Confederates.


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