The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in May 1864 during the American Civil War was a bitterly fought conflict. Over 12 days of intense fighting, Union troops suffered 18,000 casualties while the confederates counted 11,000 dead or wounded. But the fate of one senior Union officer in particular is well remembered, principally because of what Major General John Sedgwick said just before his death.
John Sedgwick was born in 1813 in Connecticut’s Cornwall Hollow, a town set amid the outstanding natural beauty of the Litchfield Hills. His parents were Benjamin and Olive but Sedgwick was named after his grandfather, a general who fought with George Washington during the American Revolutionary War.
Sedgwick studied at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut in the years 1830 and 1831 and went on to spend two years working as a teacher. Following that, he enrolled at the United States Military Academy, known as West Point. He graduated from the academy in 1837 and joined the Field Artillery Branch of the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant.