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Isaac O. Best, History of the 121st New York State Infantry, Introduction (search)
, the ability and efficiency of the leaders, all combine to produce an esprit de corps which is capable of indefinite variety. In this respect the 121st was especially fortunate. Its original members were young men of fine personal character, the companies were recruited from neighboring townships, it was officered by the men who had conducted the recruiting, and was assigned to a brigade, division, and corps that had no superiors in the army. The Sixth Corps was commanded by Major General John Sedgwick, the First Division by Brigadier General H. W. Slocum, and the Second Brigade by Brigadier General J. J. Bartlett. Under these officers the brigade had acquired an efficiency and reputation that immediately affected favorably the newly assigned regiment. They were all officers of marked military ability, who thought little of mere display, and much of soldierly efficiency, whose effort was not to make themselves conspicuous, but to make the troops under them capable of the best
Isaac O. Best, History of the 121st New York State Infantry, Chapter 5: the battle of Fredericksburg (search)
The Grand Division organization was abandoned and from that time the names of Generals Franklin and Sumner, no longer appear in connection with the Army of the Potomac. General Burnside quietly and patriotically resumed command of his old corps, and continued to do splendid service to the end of the war. The old corps formation was restored, and General Hooker did excellent work in restoring the efficiency and morale of the army. General Smith was transferred to the Ninth Corps, and General Sedgwick promoted to the command of the Sixth Corps. The letter by which President Lincoln transferred the command from Burnside is one of his remarkable literary productions. It is easy to read between the lines his deep anxiety, his anxious solicitude, his fatherly sentiments toward the officers of the army, and his keen appreciation of the abilities and weaknesses of the different commanders to whom he had to entrust the military affairs of the nation. The following is a copy of that let
Isaac O. Best, History of the 121st New York State Infantry, Chapter 6: the Chancellorsville campaign (search)
ral George G. Meade; the Sixth, commanded by General John Sedgwick; the Eleventh, commanded by Franz Siegel; anrg. The three corps were under the command of General Sedgwick. Before daylight on the 29th of April the Firal Hooker received at 11 A. M., on May 2, ordering Sedgwick to at once march on the Chancellorville road, and Gibbons' division of the Second Corps, still under Sedgwick's command, was brought across the river and placeions to a defensive position. This virtually left Sedgwick with the Sixth Corps to fight the enemy alone. Topy the Fredericksburg Heights, which compelled General Sedgwick to throw his corps into the form of a square,mself ascribed its failure to the tardiness of General Sedgwick in obeying his order, and the Congressional Coittee on the conduct of the war so reported (after Sedgwick's death). Hooker's friends ascribed it to the effenflict on the second day shows that the part which Sedgwick and the Sixth Corps took is the only really admira
Isaac O. Best, History of the 121st New York State Infantry, Chapter 7: the Gettysburg campaign (search)
observed. But on the 5th the Sixth Corps began the pursuit, the First Division having the lead, marching by the Fairfield road. The rear guard of the enemy was soon encountered and brisk skirmishing ensued, but no general attack was made. General Sedgwick decided to attempt to cut off the crossing of the Potomac by the enemy, by a flank movement over South Mountain and led the Corps by a steep and rugged pass farther to the south. The march up the pass was very difficult and was rendered motle on the repulse of Pickett on the ground that the Sixth Corps had come up and had not been engaged in the battle, and so might have been used to Lee's utter defeat. To any Sixth Corps man it is sufficient answer to their criticism that General Sedgwick advised against such an attack, on the ground of the absolute exhaustion of his men by the previous forced marches to bring them onto the field at all. The delay in attacking the Confederates at Williamsport was necessary in order to bring
Isaac O. Best, History of the 121st New York State Infantry, Chapter 8: Meade and Lee's game of strategy (search)
ion of several documents that seemed especially interesting. The part taken by the 121st in this battle was this: General Sedgwick, determined to storm this position, had selected the First Division for the duty. The column of attack consisted ofally mentioning the brilliant and successful charge made by the First Division. It is couched in these words: To Major-General Sedgwick and the officers and men of the Sixth Corps participating in the attack, particularly to the storming party underccupied its allotted position in front of the Confederate entrenchments. A council of officers was called, at which General Sedgwick expressed his confidence that he could successfully assault the works in his front. But in the morning when the att the Second Brigade, leading the Division and moving up to the position designated, was waiting for further orders. General Sedgwick with his staff rode up a little distance from the regiment and dismounted for a few moments' rest, reclining on the
Isaac O. Best, History of the 121st New York State Infantry, Chapter 9: under Grant in the Wilderness (search)
nsated by the character and efficiency of the non-commissioned officers, who in the coming campaign were destined and proved capable of upholding the honor and reputation of the regiment. The 6th Corps as reorganized, under the command of General Sedgwick consisted of three divisions. But in the breaking up of the 3d Corps, the regiments received from it were made the 3d Division of the corps, and the brigades of the old 3d Division were transferred to the 1st and 2d Divisions. The brigade esman in a threatening attitude. This action resulted in the surrender of three of the Rebs who were taken to the rear by Frank Piper and another comrade. The others retreated. Before the attack was checked, however, the headquarters of General Sedgwick had been nearly reached. It is related that an officer rode excitedly to General Grant and told him that the 6th Corps had been cut to pieces and routed. His reply was a quiet, I don't believe it ; but afterwards when he first saw General
Isaac O. Best, History of the 121st New York State Infantry, Chapter 10: the tenth of May (search)
out adequate results. In but a week's time, since leaving our pleasant camp on Hazel River, pitiless war had destroyed our bravest and best men. The loss of General Sedgwick had been keenly felt. He had ever been a source of pride to us and his calm courage and masterly military skill was an anchor of hope, and an abiding confidence in our ability to whip the foe! (Here it may be well to tell what the writer knows of the death of General Sedgwick. His brother was on the skirmish line and within a few feet of the general when he was shot, and heard his last words. The sharpshooters of the enemy were firing at the battery, when General Sedgwick came up aGeneral Sedgwick came up as he passed the battery he said: Don't dodge, men. They couldn't hit an ox at this distance. He stepped forward a few paces, raised his glasses to look and immediately received the fatal shot that ended his brilliant military career, to the loss and sorrow of the men who had served under him.) Colonel Beckwith continues his narr
Isaac O. Best, History of the 121st New York State Infantry, Chapter 20: Appomattox and after (search)
y at that time. The trunk of one of these trees is now in the Patent Office at Washington. The trees in the vicinity are dead, killed by the poison of the lead. I will not describe the appearance of the field as our men found it when they entered the works. I do not wish to recall the sights, they are too shocking. The 5th Maine and the 121st charged at that point; they fought bravely, but lost heavily, as they did also on the 10th, a mile farther to the right, near the spot where General Sedgwick was killed. From the 2d of June when we reached Hall's Hill till the 27th the time was spent in making out the muster out papers of the men and the transfer of the men whose term of service had not expired to the 65th New York Veteran Volunteers. The total number of men discharged at Hall's Hill was 320, of whom 275 were original members of the regiment and 45 recruits and transferred men. The review of the corps took place on Thursday, the 8th of June, in the following order: 1s