He attended the National School in Leighlinbridge where he was enrolled under the spelling 'Miles Kehoe'.
By 1860, a twenty year old Myles Keogh had volunteered, along with over one thousand of his countrymen, to rally to the defense of Pope Piux IX following a call to arms by the Catholic clergy in Ireland. Keogh was appointed second lieutenant of his unit in the Battalion of St. Patrick, Papal Army. He was posted at Ancona, Italy. The Papal forces were defeated in September, and Ancona was surrounded. The soldiers were forced to surrender and Keogh was imprisoned at Genoa. After his quick release by exchange, Keogh went to Rome.
John Hughes, Archbishop of New York, travelled to Italy to recruit veterans of the Papal War, and met with Keogh and his comrades. In March 1862, Keogh resigned his commission in the Company of Saint Patrick, returned briefly to Ireland, then boarded the steamer "Kangaroo" bound from Liverpool to New York, where the vessel arrived April 2, 1862.
|John Buford (seated) and staff - Keogh is on the far left|
In the winter of 1863, Buford would succumb to typhoid. Keogh would stay by his side and care for him, while they rested in Washington at the home of an old friend General George Stoneman. Buford was buried West Point Cemetery.
Major Keogh was appointed as aide de camp to General Stoneman. In July 1864, Stoneman raided to the south and southeast, destroying railroads and industrial works. Their risky raids behind Confederate lines were also designed to free federal prisoners held at Macon, Georgia, and liberate the nearly 30,000 captives at Andersonville prison. On July 31, 1864, Keogh and Stoneman’s commands were surrounded during the Battle of Sunshine Church, Georgia. They were captured after both their horses were shot out from under them. Keogh was held for 2½ months as a prisoner of war before being released through Union general William Sherman's efforts. Keogh would later receive a promotion to lieutenant colonel for his gallantry at the Battle of Dallas.
"Major Keogh is one of the most superior young officers in the army and is a universal favourite with all who know him"— General George Stoneman, Chief of Cavalry, Army of the Potomac
|General George Stoneman|
At the war’s end, although he had the brevet rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the union army, he accepted a commission as a Second Lieutenant on May 4, 1866. He was promoted to Captain, 7th Cavalry, on July 28, 1866 and assigned to Fort Riley in Kansas to become the Captain of Company I under the command of George Armstrong Custer.
|Officers of the 7th Cavalry – Myles W. Keogh, seated front|
Keogh was also fond of the ladies, though he never married: "My great weakness is the love I have for the fair sex, and pretty much all my trouble comes from or can be traced to that charming source. . . I never propose to form any ties. I might often have married for money but I never gave it a moment's serious thought & never propose to."
In the summer of 1874, Keogh visited his homeland of Ireland on a seven-month leave of absence, while Custer was leading a controversial expedition through the Black Hills. During this visit home he deeded his inherited Clifden estate in Kilkenny to his sister Margaret. He enjoyed his stay in his homeland, feeling the necessity to support his sisters after the death of both parents.
"We leave Monday on an Indian expedition & if I ever return I will go on and see you all. I have requested to be packed up and shipped to Auburn in case I am killed, and I desire to be buried there. God bless you all, remember if I should die—you may believe that I loved you and every member of your family—it was a second home to me.”
|Keogh Battlefield Marker in 1879|