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Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg Hardcover – June 29, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie (June 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932714642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932714647
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,901,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

James Hessler has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park since 2003.

His book "Sickles at Gettysburg" (Savas Beatie, 2009) was awarded the prestigious Bachelder Coddington Award and the Gettysburg Civil War Round Table's Distinguished Book Award as the most outstanding work on the Gettysburg Campaign.

He co-authored with Licensed Battlefield Guide Wayne Motts, and maps by Civil War Trust cartographer Steve Stanley, "Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg" (Savas Beatie, 2015), the first battlefield guide to the legendary final attack at Gettysburg.

Jim has written a number of articles for publication, including "Gettysburg Magazine" and "America's Civil War." He was one of the primary content designers for, and appeared in, the Civil War Trust's mobile Gettysburg application.

He is a popular speaker at Civil War Round Tables and has appeared on NPR, Travel Channel (Monumental Mysteries, 2015), PCN-TV, Breitbart News (Pickett's Charge 150th Anniversary), and Civil War Radio. He was featured in the July 2013 issue of "Civil War Monitor" magazine and the book, "Searching for George Gordon Meade" (2013).

Jim is an adjunct professor at Harrisburg Area Community College (Gettysburg campus). In addition to being a member of Gettysburg's Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides he is also a member of Little Bighorn Associates and Custer Battlefield Memorial Association.

He lives in Gettysburg with his wife and children.

Visit his websites to purchase signed copies of his books: and

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John D. Hoptak on September 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I picked up James Hessler's Sickles at Gettysburg last week and have had a hard time since putting it down. Even when I finished this excellent book, I was somewhat disappointed: I wanted to read more. I have met Mr. Hessler on several occasions (he lives right down the road from me), and when I see him again I will be sure to congratulate him on a job well done. Although this is his first book-length study, Hessler writes with all the skill and clarity of a seasoned professional in bringing the remarkable story of General Sickles to life. Easily one of the most colorful and controversial figures of the Civil War, Dan Sickles continues to capture our interest, earning the veneration of some, the vehemence of most others. He was (is) one of those polarizing figures: most works have either portrayed him as the villainous scoundrel or, less commonly, as the man who saved the Union at Gettysburg but who suffered the discrimination of the army's West Pointers and professional soldiers. At last, Dan Sickles and his advancement of the Third Corps at Gettysburg receive fair historical treatment in Hessler's work; the author does not set out to prove that Sickles was either wholly this or wholly that, a villain or a hero. Focusing on Sickles's still controversial move on the afternoon of July 2, Hessler instead presents both sides of the story, and leaves much of the final determination up to the reader. There is much to admire about Sickles: his resiliency, his bravery, his patriotism and love for his troops, and his efforts at helping establish Gettysburg and other important sites as National Parks.Read more ›
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Joseph A. Truglio on July 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Finally, a fair and balanced presentation of a controversial commander of the Civil War. This is a wonderful presentation of a most despicable character. It is an easy read filled with information and facts concerning this man. The veil of deceit is uncovered and the author leaves the final judgement up to you. Although, Mr. Hessler has opinions, he does not let them interfere with the ultimate decision. More Civil War authors ought to use this approach. It gives us an insight into the events and not their slant. Get a copy, devour it and further your schooling on Civil War History. I did and enjoyed every sentence.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John A. Zervas on July 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Taking a subject so complex and controversial, Hessler's Sickles at Gettysburg examines and separates the facts, the record, the controversies, the spin and the memory. What emerges is a masterful work that not only educates the reader about the man and the events of July 2, 1863 but also opens a window to the politics of memory and the history of remembrance. Combined with a superb study of the battle for the Peach Orchard, this book is a gem. This work is a must for serious students of the Gettysburg and the Civil War. Hessler has emerged as a serious Civil War scholar.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. T. Lawrence on June 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The battle of Gettysburg has been one of my grand obsessions. I have read most every book about the battle that I could get my hands on, from Coddington to Pfanz. Even though I'm from California, I have walked the battlefield on several occasions. I stood where Buford's cavalry delayed the Rebel assault on the first day of battle, and I have walked the path of Pickett's Charge on the third day of battle, by myself on a hot July day. Consequently I did not need additional maps in order to understand the battlefield, which was fortunate as the Sickles' book does not contain many maps, but the details of the battle and Sickles' involvement is gripping, detailed, and well told. Major General Daniel Sickles has perpetually been a controversial figure in my mind as well as in the minds of Civil War historians. I have stood out in the Peach Orchard, along the Emmitsburg Road, and it had seemed to me that the gentle rise in topography was not a bad place to give battle, even though it was susceptible to being flanked. Even as I was standing in the Peach Orchard and looking back toward Weikert's Woods, I could see that the woods did not provide good visibility or provide adequate fields of fire. Yes, Little Round Top needed to be anchored, but the fighting in the Wheatfield and the Peach Orchard, in my mind, appeared to prevent the Rebels from rolling up the Union left flank and overrunning Cemetery Ridge. I have always felt that Sickles was certainly not afraid of a fight. James A. Hessler, the author of Sickles at Gettysburg fills in all the blanks and enables the reader to comprehensively understand Sickles the man and Sickles the fighting general at Gettysburg. This is a must read for those who have an abiding interest in the Battle of Gettysburg.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Trinque VINE VOICE on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Colorful" is scarcely an adequate adjective to describe the tumultuous life of Daniel Sickles - soldier, politician, diplomat, lawyer and, according to his enemies, a lying, thieving, womanizing scoundrel. At best he exhibited a casual carelessness towards other people's monies that several time resulted in charges of misappropriation of funds. George Templeton Strong, the acid-tongued Brahmin diarist and fellow lawyer characterized Sickles as belonging "to the filthy sediment of the profession, and lying somewhere in its lower strata, Perhaps better to say that he's one of the bigger bubbles of the scum of the profession, swollen and windy, and puffed out with fetid gas." Although a notorious skirt-chaser himself, Congressman Sickles in 1859 shot and killed his wife's lover and then after a spectacular trial was acquitted through the novel defense of "temporary insanity". In later years Sickles, by then a diplomat in Europe, reportedly romanced the deposed Queen of Spain and gained a nickname as being the "Yankee King of Spain". Even in his old age, confined to a wheelchair, rumors still had Sickles avidly chasing women, but he was the kind of character that magnetically drew colorful and scandalous stories.

After the outbreak of the American Civil War Sickles, based on his prewar militia experience and especially his strong Tammany Hall political connections and his recent acquittal on homicide charges notwithstanding, won appointment as a general of volunteers. Within less than two years, Sickles was named as the commander of the Third Corps of the Army of the Potomac. It was in that role on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg that he achieved his greatest fame, or infamy.
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