(1822 - 1880)
Home State: Delaware
Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1842;Class Rank: 39th
Command Billet: Commanding Division
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 2nd Division, V Corps
see his Battle Report
A West Pointer, Sykes was a veteran of Regular Army infantry service in the Seminole and Mexican wars. He had been commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 1 July 1842, 1st Lieutenant 21 September 1846, and Captain on 30 September 1855 in the 3rd US Infantry. At the beginning of the War he was appointed Major (14 May 1861) in the 14th US Infantry. In September of that year he was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers.
On the Campaign
He was in command of the Second Division in the Federal Fifth (V) Corps, held largely in reserve behind the Middle Bridge on the Antietam on the morning of 17 September. He pushed part of his command accross the river and up the pike towards Sharpsburg in the afternoon.
The rest of the War
He was promoted to Major General, Volunters in November 1862, and commanded the 5th Corps, Army of the Potomac after the battle of Chancellorsville, perhaps most notably at Gettysburg in July 1863. On 20 April 1864 he was replaced in combat command, and served in Kansas for the rest of the War.
After the War
He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, 5th US Infantry (Regular Army) 16 October 1863, and reverted to that rank when he mustered out of the volunteers on 15 January 1866. He was appointed Colonel, 20th US Infantry 12 January 1868. When he died of cancer in Texas in 1880 he was still in command of his regiment.
References & notes
Sources: Heitman, Francis Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1903; and
Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889.
More on the Web
See also a brief biography and more about his men from Sykes' U.S. Regular Infantry Division website.
10/9/1822; Dover, DE
2/8/1880; Ft. Brown, TX; burial in USMA Cemetery, West Point, NY