BIOGRAPHY

of

GEN. PHILIP KEARNY

  Philip Kearny, soldier, born in New York City, 2 June, 1815; died near Chantilly, Va., 1 Sept. , 1862, was graduated at Columbia in 1833, and then studied law under Peter A. Jay, but in 1837 accepted a commission in the 1st dragoons, and was stationed at Jefferson barracks, Mo., serving on the staff of Gen. Henry Atkinson.

He was sent to Europe by the war department in 1839 to examine the tactics of the French cavalry service, and for the thorough accomplishment of this purpose entered the cavalry-school in Saumur. After six months of this experience he went to Algiers as a volunteer with the 1st chasseurs d'Afrique, and served with Col. Le Pays de Bourjolli.

He made the passage of the Atlas mountains, and participated in the engagements at the plains of Metidjah and of the Chelif, at the siege of Milianah, and passage of the Mousaia. His daring exploits during these campaigns attracted the attention of the French army.

In the autumn of 1840 he returned to the United States, and was almost immediately 'appointed aide-de-camp to Gen. Alexander Macomb, holding this appointment until the .death of the commander-in-chief. For some months he was then stationed at the cavalry barracks in Carlisle, Pa., but he was soon recalled to Washington to serve on the staff of Gen. Winfield Scott.

In 1845 he accompanied his uncle, Gen. Kearny, on the march to the South Pass, which was the first expedition that penetrated so far from settlements into the Indian country.

During the Mexican war, at the head of a magnificently equipped company of cavalry, he operated at first along the Rio Grande, but later joined Gen. Scott on his march to Mexico. His command served as the body-guard of the general-in-chief, and Kearny was promoted captain in December, 1846.

He took part in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, and at the close of the latter, as the Mexicans were retreating into the capital, Kearny, at the head of his dragoons, charged the enemy and followed them into the city of Mexico itself; but as he fell back he was shot in the left arm, which necessitated amputation. When Gen. Oliver 0. Howard lost his right arm at the battle of Fair Oaks, Kearny happened to be present when the amputation was performed, and Howard, looking up, said: "We'll buy our gloves together hereafter."

A month later Gen. Scott with his army entered the city of Mexico, but the first man who had entered, sword in hand, the gate of the captured capital was Capt. Kearny, who was rewarded with the brevet of major.

On his recovery he was stationed in New York on recruiting service, and was presented with a sword by the members of the Union club.

EarIy in 1851 he went to California, and was engaged in the campaign against the Rogue river Indians, but resigned from the army in October, 1851.

He then went around the world by way of China and Ceylon, and, after spending some time in Paris, settled at Belle Grove, opposite Newark, N.J.

In 1859 he returned to France, and, joining his old comrades of the chasseurs d'Afrique, participated in the war in ltaly. At Solferino he was in the charge of the cavalry under Gen. Louis M Morris, which penetrated the Austrian centre, capturing the key-point of the situation. He is described on this occasion as charging "holding his bridle in his teeth, with his characteristic impetuosity." He received the cross of the Legion of honor, being the first American that had ever been thus honored for military service.

In 1861, soon after the beginning of the civil war, he returned to the United States, and tendered his services to the National government. After their rejection by these authorities and those of New York state, his claims were pressed by New Jersey, and he was made brigadier-general on 17 May, 1861, and assigned to the command of the 1st New Jersey brigade in Gen. William B. Franklin's division of the Army of the Potomac.

Gen. Kearny was present at the battle of Williamsburg, where his timely arrival changed the repulse into a victory, and served through the engagements in the penisula, then with the Army of Virginia from the Rapidan to Warrenton.

In May, 1862, he was given command of the 3d division, and his commission as major-general bears date 7 July, 1862, but was never received by him. At the second battle of Bull Run he was on the right, and forced Gen. Thomas J. Jackson's corps back against Gen. Longstreet's men. A few days later. at Chantilly, while reconnoitering, after placing his division, he penetrated into the Confederate lines, and was shot. His remains were sent by Lee under a flag of truce to Gen. Hooker, and found their last resting-place in Trinity churchyard, New York city.

Gen. Scott referred to Gen. Kearny as " the bravest man I ever knew, and the most perfect soldier."

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