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THE HIGHEST-RANKING NORTHERN OFFICER
TO DIE ON A CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELD.











  I have received several emails suggesting that John Sedgwick was not the highest ranking officer to be killed on a battle field in the Civil War. The following, lists the officers that have been suggested and the information that I obtained concerning them.



Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson
    Per Mr. John Hennessy, N.P.S. Chief Historian.

    "John Sedgwick's commission as Major General dated to July 4, 1862; McPherson's commission dated to October 8, 1862. Because ranks were determined by date of commission, Sedgwick therefore outranked McPherson.

    "The confusion arises because at the time of his death, McPherson was in command of an army; Sedgwick commanded only a corps. McPherson was the only Union army commander to die in battle during the war. Still, Sedgwick outranked him."

Maj. Gen. Philip Kearney
    Per the Military History Online Forum, Chaplin Chuck.

    "Philip Kearney was killed 1 September 1862 while actually a Brigadier General, and posthumously promoted to Major General effective 4 July 1862. John Sedgwick was also promoted to Major General effective 4 July 1862, but was not killed until 9 May 1864. Thus, on the day he was killed, Kearney actually only wore one star.

    "Moreover, even if you give Philip Kearney the posthumous honor (well deserved, but nevertheless awarded after his death), he would technically on the date of his death be a Major General with less than 2 months time in grade. Sedgwick would have had the same rank but have some 22 months in grade.

    "Thus, either way, it can rightly be said that Sedgwick was indeed "the highest-ranking Northern officer to die on a Civil War battlefield."
 




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