The history of Major General Dan. Sickles, the commander of the Excelsior Brigade, will be the subject of a free talk on June 15 at the NY State Military Museum.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (05/21/2019) (readMedia)-- The role of a Civil War infantry regiment recruited from New York City, and Newark, New Jersey as well as villages across Western New York will be the subject of a free talk on Saturday, June 15, at 1 p.m. at the New York State Military Museum.
Rick Barram, the author of the book "The 72nd New York Infantry in the Civil War, A History and Roster" will talk about the history of the unit which in every key battle waged in the War's Eastern Theater from 1861 to 1865.
The 72nd was part of the Excelsior Brigade, a unit of five regiments recruited by Brig. General Daniel Sickles from across New York.
Sickles, a New York City Democratic Congressman, was infamous for shooting and killing the son of Francis Scott Key, who was having an affair with his wife, and then claiming temporary insanity. He was found not guilty during the trial and then went on to lead Union troops.
During the Battle of Gettysburg, Sickles ordered his crops forward into an untenable position where they were destroyed. He never led troops in battle again, although he did command troops in the occupied South after the war.
The 72nd New York Volunteer Infantry was considered one of the 300 hardest fighting union regiments of the Civil War.
In three separate engagements, Williamsburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, the 72nd would take losses equivalent to one-fourth or more. Few regiments in all of New York would surpass the 72nd's record of sacrifice.
Rick's talk will look at the founding and history of the brigade, Sickles' enthusiastic but flawed leadership and the difficulty 'Sickles the politician' would experience in becoming 'Sickles the General.' This talk will use the 72nd's role within the brigade as a focal point while examining some of the hardest fighting of the Eastern Theater until the brigade's dissolution in the summer of 1864.
Barram lives and works in northern California where he teaches social studies and theater arts in the Gateway Unified School District.He is a Civil War reenactor and serves on the boards of two Civil War-related non-profits.
The New York State Military Museum is located at 61 Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs.