“Show the world how I got away with murder”

One thing I love about exploring Gettysburg is discovering unexpected bits of history, many of them not even directly related to the battle.
GettysburgWitnessTree08120801For instance, I’ve been in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery maybe a half dozen times and have certainly seen the section of fence that passes behind the “witness tree” in the photo to the right, but I had no idea that…
 
…this section of fence is called “Sickles’ Fence,” after General Dan Sickles, a Union commander…
 
…the fence was brought to Gettysburg from its original location in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C….
 
GettysburgWitnessTree08120813…at that original D.C. location in DC, it marked the spot where Sickles shot and killed his wife’s alleged lover in 1859. Sickles was later acquitted by reason of temporary insanity, one of the first such acquittals in US legal history…
 
…the section of fence was removed from Lafayette Square and “donated to the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association by a joint resolution of Congress on October 12, 1888 through the efforts of (then) Congressman Sickles… (who) urged Congress to pass the resolution”… and…
 

… “legend states that Sickles wanted the fence on display at Gettysburg so that he could ‘show the world how I got away with murder.’”

I’ll never walk by a nondescript section of antique fence again without thinking twice.

Here’s a link to an article about why this section of fencing is getting attention recently:

http://www.gettysburgdaily.com/gettysburg-witness-tree-damage-update-sickles-witness-fence-damaged/

And here’s an article about the Sickles murder trial:

http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/law-magazines/daniel-sickles-trial-1859

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