May 9



Major-General Daniel Sickles (1819-1914) was born in New York, New York. He became a lawyer and a force in the Democratic Party. He became a state senator, and a United States Congressman. He murdered his wife’s lover, Philip Barton Key, the son of “Star Spangled Banner” author Francis Scott Key, across the street from the White House in 1859, but was acquitted. His influence with Northern Democrats helped his advancement in the United States Army, and by November 19, 1862 he was promoted to Major-General. He commanded the Third Corps at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May, 1863. This picture is courtesy of the National Archives.



Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Jim Hessler, our host for the Sickles series, is standing on Cemetery Ridge near the area where Sickles’ Third Army Corps camped the night of July 1, 1863. The Pennsylvania State Memorial is the large domed monument in the background. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.

One of the most interesting individuals at the Battle of Gettysburg was United States Major-General Daniel Sickles. His movement to a position forward of the Army of the Potomac’s battle line on July 2, 1863, depending on your point of view, either saved the Union Army, or almost led to its destruction. Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Jim Hessler has been guiding at Gettysburg since 2003. He is employed full-time with Bill Me Later/ PayPal and has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide since 2003. His book, Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg, will be published in June. He is a long-time Gettysburg and Little Bighorn enthusiast and also a speaker at Civil War Round Tables. He lives in Gettysburg with his wife and two children.

In our first post on Sickles at Gettysburg we saw Sickles’ Corps’ position at Bridgeport, Maryland, Emmitsburg Maryland, and his arrival at the Gettysburg Battlefield. In today’s post, we look at Sickles’ Gettysburg position near Cemetery Ridge before he made his move west to the Emmitsburg Road.



This map shows the location of where our Sickles videos were produced. Videos #1-#5 were shown in our first Sickles video post. Videos #6-7# were taken on Cemetery Ridge near the New York Auxiliary Monument. This map was created facing north at approximately 9:00 PM on Wednesday, April 22, 2009.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

In Video #6 (Videos #1-5 were shown in the first Sickles’ post), Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Jim Hessler is standing on Cemetery Ridge in the woods near the New York Auxiliary Monument. He shows us the area where he believes that Sickles’ first headquarters were early in the morning of July 2, 1863. Of course he realizes that Sickles commanded the Third Corps, not the First Corps as mentioned in this video. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.



We are still in the same location as we were for video #6. The New York Auxiliary Monument is on the right. Just to the left of it in the background is Little Round Top. This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.



We have now moved to the other (west) side of Hancock Avenue on Cemetery Ridge. Jim’s newly designated “Sickles’ Woods” are in the background. This view was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

In Video #7 Jim Hessler is standing on the west side of Hancock Avenue. We have now moved to the other (west) side of Hancock Avenue on Cemetery Ridge. Jim explains how Sickles was concerned about Confederate Artillery occupying the high ground near the Emmitsburg Road and controlling this portion of Cemetery Ridge. This view was taken facing east to southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.



Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Jim Hessler is standing west of the George Weikert Farm near the area occupied by David Birney’s division of Sickles’ Third Corps. This view was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.



We are still west of the George Weikert Farm. The fields behind (south of) Jim is low ground occupied by some of David Birney’s division of Sickles’ Corps. Munshower Hill is the cleared area above the fields. Little Round Top is the area of trees above Munshower Hill. This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.



The woods behind (west of) Jim concerned some of Sickles’ officers as they blocked the view to the Emmitsburg Road. The George Weikert Farm is behind the cameraman. This view was taken facing west at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

In Video #8, Jim Hessler explains the position of Sickles’ division in “Sickles’ Hole” on the western slopes of Cemetery Ridge. This view was taken facing east to west at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.



This map shows in gray, the line Major-General Meade expected Sickles’ Third Corps to occupy, and the line near the Emmitsburg Road that Sickles desired and eventually moved to. Sickles’ Corps is represented by his two divisions commanded by Birney and Humphrey. This map was created by Brad Gottfried for Jim’s new book on Sickles, Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg.



When Sickles became concerned about his position, he rode to Major-General George Meade’s headquarters at the Lydia Leister House. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.



Jim Hessler is standing on the porch of the Leister House where a meeting takes place that will have repercussions for not only 50 years after the battle, but to this day. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

In Video #9, Jim Hessler explains how Meade and Sickles briefly met in the Leister House around 11:00 AM on July 2, 1863. He also explains a meeting between Sickles and Meade’s Chief of Staff Major-General Daniel Butterfield. This view was taken facing southeast to north at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2009.



Here is the cover of Jim’s new book on Daniel Sickles. It is published by Savas Beattie LLC, and will be available in June, 2009. Click here for a link to an interview with Jim on their site. This cover was uploaded at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, April 21, 2009.

To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, click here.


About Us  •  Support  •  Archives  •  Subscribe  •  Creative Commons License