September 12 meeting – James Hessler

At the September 12 meeting, James Hessler will join us to discuss Union General Dan Sickles, one of the more colorful and contradictory characters who played a part in the Civil War.

Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., September 12, 2017

Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia

Topic: Sickles Gets Away with Murder!

Many Civil War enthusiasts know Union General Dan Sickles as the man who nearly lost the Battle of Gettysburg for the Northern army. But in 1859, then-Congressman Sickles was best known for murdering U.S. District Attorney Philip Barton Key in what led to the “trial of the century.” Key was having an affair with Sickles’s wife, and Sickles shot Key dead in front of multiple eyewitnesses, yet was somehow acquitted of the crime. Learn how and why Sickles managed to evade justice. Is “temporary insanity” a myth? View “Then and Now” images of key crime sites. How did this lead Sickles to Gettysburg? Join us for a session of adultery, murder, and scandal courtesy of Dan Sickles.

James A. Hessler is the author of Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg. He has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park since 2003. His book Sickles at Gettysburg 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 Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, the first battlefield guide to the legendary final attack at Gettysburg, with Licensed Battlefield Guide Wayne Motts and Civil War Trust cartographer Steve Stanley. Hessler has written a number of articles for such publications as 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 app.

He 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 the Little Bighorn Associates and the Custer Battlefield Memorial Association.

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