AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO OF GENERAL SICKLES

$495.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 1054-665

A very nicely presented signed photograph of General Sickles, autographed at lower right, “D. Sickles / Maj. General U.S / New York July 24’ ’96.” Sickles is shown in contemporary civilian clothes in a vignette bust view, somewhat heroically gazing off to the viewer’s left, and sporting a dashing handlebar mustache. From the date of the inscription, the photo was taken soon after his return from Congress, where he served as a NY Representative from 1893-95. His rank refers to the grade conferred upon him at his retirement from the army in 1869.

Sickles was a lawyer, politician, and major in the New York militia before the war who liked to wear the uniform when opportunity offered. At the war’s beginning he helped raise volunteer regiments in New York City, gaining commissions as colonel, brigadier general, and major general. At Gettysburg he commanded the Third Army Corps, which he famously moved forward on July 2 into an exposed position that happened to be where Lee had thought it was. He lost a leg in the fighting, and continued a battle for decades justifying his actions. We pass over minor events, like snubbing Queen Victoria, escorting a prostitute into the NY State Assembly, and shooting his wife’s lover. One of the last surviving Gettysburg generals, he had fought hard to preserve the field and establish the park. When asked why it lacked a memorial to him, he replied to the effect that, “the whole d**ned battlefield was his monument.” In the immediate post-war years, aside from burnishing his own reputation and disparaging Meade’s, he retired from the army in 1869 with the rank of major general, served as minister to Spain 1869-1874, during which he was rumored to have an affair with the deposed Queen and, after the death of his wife, married the daughter of a Spanish Councilor of State, and served in Congress from 1893-1895 as representative from New York. He died in NY City in 1914.

The photo is professionally matted and framed. The framed is circular and measures 11.5 inches in diameter. The image is matted at 7 inches. He was quite a personality and intimately entwined, so to speak, with the Battle of Gettysburg, how historians understand it, and how visitors experience it.  [sr]

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