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    WOODEN CAMPAIGN TRUNK OF UNION MAJOR GENERAL DANIEL E. SICKLES Few Civil War generals had a more colorful background. Sickles was born in New York City and studied law in the office of Benjamin Butler. He was admitted to the bar in 1846. In 1852, when he was 33, he married Teresa Bagioli who was 15 although quite sophisticated, speaking 5 languages. Sickles became secretary of the U. S. Legation in London in James Buchanan's administration but returned to American in 1855. He was a member of the New York State Senate in 1856 - 56 and New York Representative in the U.S. Congress from 1857 to 1861. He was censured by the New York Assembly for escorting a known prostitute into it's chambers. In 1859, in New York's Lafayette, he gunned down Philip Barton Key, Francis Scott Key's son, who was conducting a blatant love affair with his young wife. His subsequent trial for murder, and acquittal on a defense of temporary insanity, the first such case in American juris history, was one of the great scandals of the era. Ironically, his defense counsel was none other than Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln's future Secretary of War. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Sickles oversaw the recruitment of four New York volunteer regiments and was commissioned a brigadier general in September 1861, a commission the U. S. Senate refused to confirm in 1862. Through his political connections he was able to regain his rank on May 24, 1862 and joined the Union Army for the Peninsula Campaign. Sickles ably handled his troops at Chancellorsville, but it was at Gettysburg that he would achieve his greatest fame and notoriety. Against order's, on July 2, Sickles moved his 3d Corps far in advance of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge for a nearly indefensible salient. Before the maneuver could be righted, he was struck by James Longstreet's Corps, resulting in some of the most vicious fighting of the three bloody days at Gettysburg. His flamboyant on the battlefield was the stuff of legends and, after being struck in the leg by a Confederate 12 lb. ball, he was carried from the field puffing on a cigar and joking with his men. The leg was amputated and Sickles insisted on it being transported to Washington where it can be seen today, along with the artillery round that shattered it.
    Despite his leg being amputated Sickles remained on active duty to the end of the war, complaining bitterly that he was not allowed to return to a combat command. He was active in political and military affairs after the war and was instrumental in sponsoring legislation to form the Gettysburg National Military Park. When asked why he was the only senior general in the battle not commemorated with a monument Sickles stated "The entire battlefield is a monument to Dan Sickles". Sickles lived the remainder of his life in New York City, died in 1914 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The trunk is 16 ¾" X 33 ½" X 22" high, the base and lid both slightly larger. Dovetailed construction of pine, very sturdy. The front of the trunk carries the inscription, probably originally in black paint, "Maj. Gen. D E. Sickles/9/U. S. A." The 9 doubtless identifies this as one of nine pieces of baggage carried through the war by Sickles. The trunk was painted over with an old coat of grained buttermilk paint, probably C. 1880. The original is still very distinct. Ironically, it is the application of this old coat of buttermilk paint that establishes, beyond question, the authenticity of the Sickles attribution. The trunk has iron handles on the sides, above which, on both sides are the black painted 1 ½" high block letters "D. E. S.". The trunk shows some wear, most notably on the top with lots of character. A graphically striking artifact, obviously used by Sickles in the field. Historically important and a wonderful addition to a Gettysburg collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,481

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