Online Encyclopedia

DANIEL EDGAR SICKLES (1825– )

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 36 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DANIEL EDGAR SICKLES (1825– ), American soldier and diplomatist, was born in New York City on the 20th of October 1825. He learned the printer's trade, studied in the university of the City of New York (now New York University), was admitted to the bar in 1846, and was a member of the state Assembly in 1847. In 1853 he became corporation counsel of New York City, but resigned soon afterward to become secretary of the U.S. legation in London, under James Buchanan. He returned to America in 1855, was a member of the state Senate in 1856–1857, and from 1857 to 1861 was a Democratic representative in Congress. In 1859 he was tried on a charge of murder, having shot Philip Barton Key, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, whom Sickles had discovered to have a liaison with his wife; but was acquitted after a dramatic trial lasting twenty days. At the outbreak of the Civil War Sickles was active in raising United States volunteers in New York, and was appointed colonel of a regiment. He became a brigadier-general of volunteers in September 186,1, led a brigade of the Army of the Potomac with credit up to the battle of Antietam, and then succeeded to a divisional command. He took part with distinction in the battle of Fredericksburg, and in 1863 as a major-general commanded the III. army corps. His energy and ability were conspicuous in the disastrous battle of Chancellorsville (q.v.); and at Gettysburg (q.v.) the part played by the III. corps in the desperate fighting around the Peach Orchard was one of the most noteworthy incidents in the battle. Sickles himself lost a leg and his active military career came to an end. He was, however, employed to the end of the war, and in 1867 received the breve.ts of brigadier-general U.S.A. and major-general U.S.A. for his services at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg respectively. General Sickles was one of the few successful volunteer generals who served on either side. Soon after the close of the Civil War he was sent on a confidential mission to Colombia to secure its compliance with a treaty agreement (of 1846) permitting the United States to convey troops across the Isthmus of Panama. In 1866–1867 he commanded the department of the Carolinas. In 1866 he was appointed colonel of the 42nd infantry (Veteran Reserve Corps), and in 1869 he was retired with the rank of major-general. He was minister to Spain from 1869 to 1873, and took part in the negotiations growing out of the " Virginius Affair " (see SANTIAGO, CUBA). General Sickles was president of the New York State Board of Civil Service Commissioners in 1888–1889, was sheriff of New York in 1890, and was again a representative in Congress in 1893–1895.
End of Article: DANIEL EDGAR SICKLES (1825– )
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