No Shave November – George Sykes


No Shave November

Each Saturday in November, an Old Guard veteran will be featured that sports impressive facial hair.

George Sykes was born in Dover, DE in 1822. Sykes graduated from West Point in the Class of 1842 and was assigned to the 3d Infantry Regiment. Sykes served with the Regiment from 1842-1861. During that time, Sykes fought in the Regiment during the Second Seminole War, the Mexican War, and the Indian War campaigns of the West, rising to the rank of Captain.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Sykes was promoted to major and joined the 14th Infantry Regiment. Fighting at the Battle of First Bull Run, Sykes was recognized and promoted to the war-time rank of brigadier general and commanded a division that became known as “Sykes Regulars” as they were one of the few units predominantly filled with Regular Army soldiers, rather than unit fielded by states that were mustered into Federal service. Sykes moved up to major general and commanded the V Corps, but was relieved from commanded following a poor showing during the Mine Run Campaign.
After the Civil War, he reverted back to the peace-time rank of lieutenant colonel, joining up the 5th Infantry Regiment and then commanding the 20th Infantry Regiment, which still carries his name today (Sykes Regulars). Colonel Sykes died in 1880, at the age of 57, while still serving in the Army. He is interred in the West Point Cemetery.

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