Monday, September 2, 2013

Philip Kearny, died September 1, 1862

In late 1851, Philip Kearny (pronounced CAR-nee), the New York millionaire, after resigning from the Union Army, embarked on a trip around the world, including visits to China and Ceylon. His left arm had been amputated at the shoulder during his service in the Mexican-American War. He had separated from his wife, Diana Bullitt Kearny, in 1849 after eight years of marriage. After the birth of their fifth child, Diana left him and took the children to  her childhood home in Louisville, Kentucky.

At the age of thirty-six he found himself without a profession or family ties. He had everything in life except a purpose.  "Had I been as assiduously devoted to wife and children as I was to the Army , I would not today be rootless . . . sans spouse, sans offspring " he wrote to his cousin, John Watts De Peyster, in a depressed frame of mind. 

 John Watts De Peyster
Kearny's spirits were somewhat raised by the offer of a trip around the world aboard the    U. S. S. Vincennes as the guest of her skipper, Captain W. L. Hudson, who had been ordered to "show the flag" in the remote Pacific and the Far East.

Visiting Paris in May 1853, Kearny fell in love with 20-year-old Agnes Maxwell, daughter of the customs collector in New York City.  Kearny had been invited to a reception given at the Tuileries for English and American residents in Paris by Emperor Louis Napoleon III. Kearny attended the affair in his dragoon dress uniform, and a guest described him as "the most magnificent man present."  He was presented to the Emperor by William Rives, the United States Ambassador. Louis Napoleon greeted him warmly and thanked him for his service to France during the Algerian War. 

Agnes Maxwell
That day at the Tuileries, Philip met Agnes, an auburn-haired girl visiting in Paris with her parents.  According to Kearny, Agnes was "an exquisite creature ... so lovely that my eyes misted at her beauty."

Kearny wrote his cousin De Peyster in June 1853:
How incredible that this child should hold such allure for me, a man old enough to be her father . . . This is a love of autumn and spring ... I am nearing my fortieth year . . . she is barely twenty ... I am married, have sired children, and she is affianced to a young man in New York . . . but I am mesmerized by her loveliness, gentleness and charm ... I swear to you . . . nothing matters . . . neither gossiping tongues, the variance in our ages nor the obligations we have to others . . . for she feels about me as I do about her. " 
Agnes was engaged to a man in New York.  Kearny was unable to marry her because his wife would not grant him a divorce.  Their affair became a scandal in both Paris and New York. Kearny showered gifts on Agnes: perfumes, bon bons, jewelry, rare books, objets d'art. Every day he sent flowers. They dined at restaurants, took long drives into the country, picnicked in the Bois de Boulogne, attended the races, and went boating on the Seine. Overriding her parents' objections, Agnes continued to see Philip and broke her engagement to her New York fiance.

In February, 1854, he returned to the United States and visited Diana in Kentucky to persuade her to divorce him, but divorce was unthinkable to Diana. Kearny returned to New York.  He believed that Agnes was still in Paris, but the Maxwells had returned to New York. 

"Perhaps she will think me a cad and forget that I even exist," Kearny told a friend. "I must purge her from my heart . . . else I shall lose my mind with longing for her."  He refused "to subject my little girl of the Tuileries to the besmirchment which must needs follow any intimate relationship we might have. "

Kearny resumed his daily horseback rides. As he rode across a bridge, the old structure collapsed, hurtling horse and rider into the twenty-foot-deep gorge below. Villagers carried the badly injured Kearny to Van Buren's Hotel in Gouverneur and sent for Dr. Robert Watts who was visiting his cousin. For a time Kearny seemed near death, but eventually began to recover. By September, Dr. Watts pronounced him fit enough to travel, and Kearny returned to New York City in a specially rigged ambulance. Dr. Watts was not pleased with his patient's progress. "He seems to be fading ... I fear Phil has lost the desire to live I reluctantly draw this conclusion, for I can find no medical reason to account for his flagging condition . . . Never have I seen him so constantly depressed " the doctor noted in his journal.   Watts deduced that his patient was longing for Agnes, and went to see her. She was greatly distressed and insisted on being taken to Kearny at once. Disregarding Kearny's protests, Agnes paid him daily visits. She dismissed the nurse and took over his care. He soon showed improvement. By the end of October, Dr. Watts considered him cured.

Frederick Law Olmsted
Agnes defied every convention of the times when she moved in with Kearny. She lived with him through the winter of 1854-1855, and in the springtime followed him to Bellegrove where she helped with the refurbishing of the estate. Kearny hired Frederick Law Olmsted, who had designed New York City's Central Park, to lay out the grounds at Bellegrove. By 1855, Kearny and Agnes had settled in Kearny's new mansion overlooking the Passaic River in what is now Kearny, New Jersey. It had been modeled after a fifteenth-century castle in Saumur, France, which Kearny had admired more than twenty years before while attending the French Royal Cavalry School there. 

"I have found with Agnes all the tranquility, happiness and contentment that one man could wish for in his lifetime " Kearny said.

"Need I give ear to the cackling of hens or the yapping of mongrels? I love Phil, and presently this is the only way I can be with him. I have done nothing of which I am ashamed," Agnes wrote a New York friend.

Agnes became pregnant in 1855.  As the new Russian Tsar, Alexander II, was to be crowned in St. Petersburg on March 2, 1856, Kearny suggested that they enjoy the ceremonies at the Russian capital and then make an extended tour of the Continent. The couple arrived in France in January, 1856. They went to Rouen and rented an apartment, where they were known to all as Monsieur and Madame Philippe Kearny. After a brief stay in Rouen they proceeded to St. Petersburg for the coronation.  The couple went to Paris for the birth of their first child, Susan "Suzy" Watts Kearny in 1856.  She was named after Kearny's mother, Susan Watts.  

Kearny and  Agnes were once again at Bellegrove in the early spring of 1857.  Early in 1858, Diana finally acceded to Kearny's demands for a divorce, apparently after Kearny threatened to take their son, John Watts Kearny, away from her.  As she was angry about her young replacement, she stipulated in the divorce decree that he could never marry again as long as she lived.  As soon as the divorce was granted, Kearny began to look for a way around Diana's stipulation. He found it when his lawyers argued that it was only valid in New York State, and Kearny was free to marry Agnes in Paris. For a time Kearny would avoid his native city for fear of arrest on the charge of bigamy.  The couple spent the rest of that year in Paris.  According to Kearny, "each day, indeed each moment with Agnes , I savored and enjoyed . ."

Kearny in Paris, 1859
In April 1859, the outbreak of the Franco-Austrian War found the army of Napoleon III, Emperor of France, in alliance with the army of Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont-Sardinia (King of Italy) in an attempt to oust Emperor Franz Joseph's Austrians from northern Italy. Kearny, then living in Paris at 15, avenue Matignon, personally applied to the French emperor for permission to join the Chasseurs d'Afrique in the Italian Campaign. Kearny had served with the Chasseurs as a U.S. military observer in Africa in 1840 and wished to rejoin his old regiment. His request denied, Kearny instead was given the distinguished honor of an assignment on the staff of General Morris. Morris, Kearny's former commander in Africa, had been chosen by the emperor to lead the Cavalry Division of the Imperial Guard.

In a battle comprised of 270,000 men, Kearny fought with the Chasseurs for more than nine brutal hours. The French Zouaves would be discovered by Americans and lionized—evidenced by the scores of Zouave regiments that would fight in the Civil War, styled after their French counterparts. In the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino, a total of 40,000 French, Austrian, Italian casualties littered the countryside. From the horrors of this battle the International Red Cross would be born, founded in 1864 by Swiss businessman (Jean) Henri Dunant, eyewitness to the slaughter. This organization would serve as a model for the American Association of the Red Cross, established by Clara Barton in 1881.

Kearny wrote of his battle experience to his cousin John Watts De Peyster:
Paris, July 14, 1859
My two months have been all that a Military Man would have desired—a school of such grandeur as rarely occurs, even here in the Old World—and the Drama has been complete. I have roamed about everywhere, and in the day of Solferino, I was not only present with the line of our cavalry skirmishers, (but) as well in every charge that took place. That day I was mounted from six in the morning till eleven at night—scarcely off my horse even for a few minutes—depend on it, he was a good one. The cavalry of the guard came up some sixteen miles in full trot and rapid gallop to take our places, under fire; for there was a gap we had to stop. The night before the battle I had a miraculous escape, having been inveigled by false guides into the midst of the Austrian masses.
Painting of French Infantry at the Battle of Solferino
Kearny was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur (Legion of Honor), France's highest military accolade,  becoming the first U.S. citizen to be honored with the medal.

On January 25, 1860, Agnes gave birth to a a son who was named Archibald Kennedy Kearney, after Kearny's late great-uncle, a prominent New Yorker.  Every member of the household staff was given a generous sum of money and each caller at their home during the week following the birth received a watch as a celebration token of Archibald's birth.  Kearny wrote De Peyster: "Our son is handsome, sturdy and well formed.  I pray he will enjoy a grand life, and I thank God for having blessed my middle years with such a perfect offspring."

Kearny stayed in Paris until April 1861, when the Civil War began in the United States.  By taste, temperament and breeding, he had an affinity for upper-class Southerners, and often admitted preferring the gracious elegance of Charleston, to the Yankee way of life. He believed in "aristocracy as did the Southern "gentry."  To him the highest human virtues were chivalry and courage. Yet he detested slavery.  The "peculiar institution" was, he felt, "an inhuman practice and a barbarous evil." 

He was recruited by the South to join their cause; although he may have sympathized with many of the South's concerns, and was friendly with many of their military leaders, he told them, "What am I, if no longer American." 

Kearny, along with Agnes and their children, returned home to offer his service to the Union.  Since so many military officers had joined with the Southern cause, the Union was desperate for skilled leadership.  But Kearny was virtually ignored: his reputation for difficulty overshadowed his reputation for courage and leadership. Also, the scandal with Agnes Maxwell outraged many in the War Department. When he realized he was not going to be granted a commission in the army, he tried to join as a private, but was rejected because of the amputation of his left arm.  

Aftermath of Bull Run
The disastrous Battle of Bull Run shook the War Department bureaucrats and made many realize that high commissions could no longer be handed out to nonentities for political reasons. In July, 1861, New Jersey commissioned him as a Brigadier General, and placed him in command of the New Jersey Brigade stationed near Alexandria, Virginia. His new brigade was barely trained and undisciplined. He immediately began to change that with constant drills and marches. He would also win their loyalty and affection by personally looking after them and ensuring that they were properly nourished, uniformed and armed. Any deficiencies were resolved by his purchase of the necessary goods out of his own pocket.

He urged General George McClellan, head of the Union forces, to attack Richmond, the Southern capital, but McClellan held the army back. The longer McClellan hesitated, the more frustrated Kearny became, finally culminating in series of published letters criticizing the commander. 
George McClellan

At the beginning of November, Agnes gave birth to another daughter, Virginia DeLancey Kearny, at Bellegrove.  She was named after the state of Virginia, where her father was serving when she was born. 

Kearny in 1862
 In February, 1862, while at the camp in Fairfax, Kearny received a telegram from Agnes:
Kearny set out at once for Bellegrove; he adored his sturdy two-old son. Once, while watching her husband with Archie, Agnes had remarked: "The lad is Phil's life, and I must be grateful he still finds a place in it for me " On February 19, Kearny reached his home. His cousin, Dr. Robert Watts, met him:
Phil, who had seen so much death, who had courted it himself, slumped in a chair, motionless, gray-faced and hunched. The proud, iron-willed soldier had disappeared.  Instead, I saw before me a father, crushed by imminent tragedy. 
The excruciating wait lasted two days. Archie died on Washington's Birthday, which dawned bleak, cold and rainy. Kearny was "broken with grief," according to De Peyster, who said, "It appeared as if Phil did not greatly care to live after the death of lovely Archie."

Within a week he was with his troops again, busy with preparations for the expected spring offensive. Kearny hid his heartbreak in hard work. At times he managed to alleviate his pain, but nothing really brought him relief.   He confided to an aide: "I am an empty vessel.  The sky is permanently darkened for me.  I shall mourn my boy forever. Yet I cannot forget that Agnes is suffering even more at home without any distraction for her sorrow.  At least through duty I am afforded partial oblivion."

Finally in March, 1862, McClellan began the Peninsula Campaign in an effort to advance towards Richmond. In May, Kearny was appointed commander of the 3rd Division as the Union Army continued to advance slowly up the Virginia Peninsula.  On March 7, the drummers sounded the long roll in the encampment of the New Jersey Brigade. Kearney rode at the head of the long column. Behind him came his staff; among them was a recent West Point graduate, yellow-haired Lieutenant George Armstrong Custer.  

Boasting that he could "make my men follow me to hell," he rushed his troops to the aid of General Joe Hooker at Williamsburg. At one point his troops were bogged down by enemy gunfire in a heavily wooded area. When he told them to return fire, they replied that they could not see the enemy. He charged forward on his horse, his reins in his mouth, drawing the southern troops out of hiding to shoot at him. Racing back to his own line he shouted, "Now you know where they are boys! Go get them!" Twice he escaped ambushes and he had at least one horse shot from under him during the campaign.  He held the reins in his teeth as he had learned to ride with the Chasseurs in France.

The Battle of Williamsburg
When his men came up to the firing line, Kearny noticed some of them nervously ducking as shots whistled by. He galloped to them and shouted, "Don't flinch, boys! They're shooting at me, not at you!"

Gustav A. Schurmann, served under Kearny as an orderly and boy bugler during the Peninsular Campaign in the summer of 1862. In his adulthood, Schurmann wrote a bit about his war-time experiences:
In the early part of 1861, I was drumming recruits in Chatham Square, New York City, for the Forty-second Regiment Volunteers (Tammany), for a couple of months, when my father enlisted in the Fortieth N.Y. Volunteers (Mozart) at Yonkers. With the Forty-second not treating me well, I left them, not being mustered in, and tried to join the Fortieth. But its commander, Colonel Riley, would not take me on the account of my being too small and also too young, being only eleven years old. As soon as Colonel Riley said "no" I began to cry, and turned away from the tent, but my father went and spoke to him. Then he called me back and made me take a drum and a beat. All the men commenced to laugh because the drum was nearly as big as myself, but nevertheless the colonel said I would do.
I was with the regiment from the Battle of Williamsburg, our first fight, until we went to Harrison's Landing. Corporal Brown, a clerk at General Kearny's headquarters and also a member of our regiment, came to me one day stating that General Kearny ordered him to get him a drummer from our regiment to serve as an orderly for one day, as General McClellan was to review the army the next day. I reported myself the next morning early. The general received me kindly and gave me his gray horse (Baby), one that he brought from Mexico. During the review, the general had occasion to jump a very large ditch. I jumped it with him, but a great many of the officers had to cross further up. I think my jumping this ditch brought me favorably to his notice. Accordingly, when I reported myself in the evening after the review, so as to return to my regiment, he said, "No, but go and bring your baggage over to headquarters and consider yourself my orderly in the future."
From that day until his death I was always with the general. It was his habit to ride outside of the picket-guard every day at Harrison's Landing, only taking me with him. Many a time I would have to ride on top of the horse, lengthwise, so as not to knock my legs against the trees. He would go so fast through them, one time my hat was knocked off. As the general never stopped, by the time I was in the saddle again there was no general to be seen. But I gave "Baby" his own way and in less than five minutes he brought me up to him. I have known that same horse to kick at him as he went in the gate. The general would then "damn" me for not holding the horse tight, but for all that the general always treated me the same as my own father would have done.
After the Battle of Williamsburg, McClellan advanced his army down the Peninsula with such caution that Kearny called him "the Virginia Creeper."  He wrote in a letter to Agnes:  "We advance, not as fierce invaders, but like timid trespassers. I know not what the Young Napoleon has in mind.  Assuredly he can not hope to capture Richmond by our present actions.  The hour calls for audacity.  Instead we are offered timorousness."

As the Battle of Seven Pines was ending, a Yankee sharpshooter hit Confederate General Joe Johnston in the shoulder. Then a shell splinter pierced his chest and he was carried to the rear, badly wounded. Robert E. Lee succeeded to the command of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

Illustration of Kearny at "Seven Pines"
Seven Pines ended indecisively. Neither side gained any ground; the armies held the identical positions they had occupied before the shooting. But with one great difference: some 12,000 men Yankee and Confederate were numbered as killed, wounded or missing.

Following fighting at Seven Pines, a lull fell across the battle front. The men dug in along the Chickahominy and in the swamps there many sickened with fever. Kearny devised a method that would help him readily identify his men and also alleviate some of the monotony of camp life. He had each man sew on his cap a diamond-shaped piece of red flannel. This concept for corps badges soon became widely used in the army and is still in use today. 

By the end of June, in the Seven Days' Battles, Kearny's division was engaged at Oak Grove, Glendale, and Malvern Hill. Typically believing his forces to be outnumbered, McClellan ordered a retreat to Harrison's Landing on the James River, in what would be termed the "Great Skedaddle."

General Hiram Berry, Commander of the Third Brigade, later wrote: "Phil unloosed a broadside. He pitched into McClellan with language so strong that all who heard it expected he would be placed under arrest until a general court-martial could be held. I was certain Kearny would be relieved of his command on the spot."  McClellan waited for Kearny to calm down and then said nothing in reply. 

Currier & Ives Print of the Battle of Malvern Hill
After the Battle of Malvern Hill on July 1st, which was a Union victory, McClellan ordered a withdrawal, and Kearny wrote:
I, Philip Kearny, an old soldier, enter my solemn protest against this order for retreat. We ought instead of retreating should follow up the enemy and take Richmond. And in full view of all responsible for such declaration, I say to you all, such an order can only be prompted by cowardice or treason.
Illustration of Kearny at Malvern Hill
Kearny was promoted to major general on July 4, 1862. Southern soldiers in a mix of amazement and admiration began referring to him as "The One-Armed Devil." Whispers began in Washington about replacing McClellan with a more aggressive commander. Kearny was rumored to be the leading candidate.

In late August the army began to push towards Manassas, Virginia, for the disastrous Second Battle of Bull Run under the command of General John Pope. On August 29, Kearny led his division on a desperate charge at the Confederate left at Groveton. He almost won, but was forced back by superior forces. The following day, Stonewall Jackson battered the Union lines on all fronts; as night fell only a few troops fought on. Kearny's men were one of those few. 

On September 1st, a severe thunderstorm developed, resulting in limited visibility and an increased dependence on the bayonet, as the rain soaked the ammunition of the infantry and made it useless.  All during the morning, Confederate cavalry skirmished with Union infantry and cavalry. At about 3 p.m., General Isaac Stevens' division arrived at Ox Hill. Despite being outnumbered, Stevens chose to attack across a grassy field against General Alexander Lawton's division in the Confederate center. The Union attack was initially successful, routing the brigade of Colonel Henry Strong and driving in the flank of Captain William Brown, with Brown killed during the fighting. The Union division was driven back following a counterattack by Confederate Jubal Early's brigade. Stevens was killed during this attack about 5 p.m. by a shot through his temple.

Isaac Stevens
Kearny arrived about this time with his division and deployed General David Birney's brigade, ordering it to attack across the field.  Birney managed to maneuver close to the Confederate line, but his attack stalled in hand-to-hand combat with Confederate General A.P. Hill's division.   By nightfall, the rain poured down in blinding sheets. Kearny, who often did his own scouting during battle, disregarded the warnings of a subordinate.  Reportedly said, "The Rebel bullet that can kill me has not yet been molded." Kearny mistakenly rode into the Confederate lines during the battle; an order was given to halt and surrender, but Kearny galloped away as the soldiers fired at him. Witnesses remembered him shouting, "They can't hit a barn!" A bullet entered the base of his spine and killed him instantly.  He fell from his horse into a muddy pool of rainwater.

Illustration of Kearny at the Battle of Chantilly
with his reins in his teeth and lightning in the sky

William B. Styple, Kearny's aide de camp, wrote about his experience in a piece entitled "The Death of General Philip Kearny":
William B. Styple
 I was Aide de Camp to General Kearny, and accompanied him during the Battle of Chantilly, when he rode on in advance of his Division to see the position occupied by the troops of General Stevens whom we were to relieve or re-inforce. We rode along the line, and General Kearny sent off one staff officer after another with orders, until I was the only one left with him. We finally arrived at the right of Stevens' line, where a battery was shelling the opposite woods. The General ordered me to ride at a gallop, back to General Pope, commanding one of our Brigades, and order him to "double-quick" his brigade to that point and go into line. I did so, and returned as quickly as possible to the Battery. The rain was falling fast and darkness was coming on. I inquired of the Battery men which way General Kearny went, and they replied, pointing down to the right and front, "that way." "My God," was my exclamation, "we have no troops there, he has ridden right into the enemy lines." And so it proved. Wishing to know the nature of the ground and whether the woods were occupied or not, he rode with his usual bravery, to his death, as we learned from the Confederates, who next day brought in his body under a flag of truce. The General rode up to a whole company of the enemy, paid no attention to their demand that he surrender, wheeled his horse and started back. The whole company fired a volley, but only one bullet struck him; that entered his hip as he lay low along the horse, and came out at the shoulder. And so fell the most picturesque and gallant soldier that it was my fortune to meet during the war.
A.P. Hill ran up to the Kearny's body with a lantern and exclaimed, "You've killed Phil Kearny, he deserved a better fate than to die in the mud."   Kearny's loss would be felt deeply by many on both sides of the war, for a number of the officers in the Confederacy had been comrades of his during the Mexican War and regarded him with the highest respect. The next day, General  Robert E. Lee sent Kearny's body back to Union forces with a condolence note. The body was then sent to Washington for embalming, and then to his home, Bellegrove, where it lay in state. 

A.P. Hill
On September 8, Kearny was paraded and honored for a final time, first in Newark and then in Jersey City. The General's portrait was in many windows.  a favorite likeness showing him astride his great gray charger Moscow, his cape flying in the wind, a sword brandished in his right hand while the empty left sleeve of his tunic hung limply.

Many years later his widow. Agnes Kearney, recalled: "The lovely weather on the day of Phil's funeral saddened me. I remember wishing it had been otherwise . . . rainy and dismal ... I regretted that our Suzanne and Virginia were so young that in a few years they would no longer have any recollection of their father ... He was a man worth remembering . . ."  Suzy was six years old and Virginia less than a year when their father died.

Kearny's coffin was then brought by ferry to New York City, and after services in Trinity Church, buried in the with other members of the Watts family in the churchyard.  

General Winfield Scott called Kearny "the bravest and most perfect soldier" he had ever known.

Kearny's will, dated January  8, 1861 in Paris, provided that Agnes Maxwell Kearny would have $3,000 per year.  The settlement of the income of $8,000 made for Kearny's first wife, Diana Bullitt, was directed, in case of her death, to go, one-half to their son John Watts Kearny, and one-half to Kearny's son with Agnes, Archibald Kennedy Kearny.  In the event that one of the sons died without issue, all the income would to go to the other.

John Watts Kearny
His daughter Susan received $10,000.  A codicil to the will was dated March 17, 1862 in  Washington, D.C., and Virginia, who was born in November 1861 after the will was written, was given $500 per year until she arrived of age.  The guardians of each of the children were to be paid $600 per annum until the ward of arrived at age.  Edward Kearny of New York, a cousin, was appointed Executor and Trustee of the will.

On November 29, 1862, the officers of the First Division, Third Corps established a medal of honor which bore Kearny's motto: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."  It is a line from the Roman poet Horace's Odes, which can be roughly translated into English as: "It is sweet and right to die for your country."

Kearny Medal of Valor
This medal, which was to be known as the "Kearny Medal of Valor," was presented to all officers (and those soldiers promoted to officers prior to January 1, 1863) who had "honorably served in battle under General Kearny in his division." On March 13, 1863, General Birney, who served in Kearny's brigade, issued an order to establish a "cross of valor" which was to be known as the "Kearny Cross." This would be awarded to non-commissioned officers and privates who had distinguished themselves in battle. 

Kearny Cross
Kearny's cousin, John Watts de Peyster, wrote a biography of the general, Personal and Military History of General Philip Kearny, which was published in 1869.  
1888 - On the Steps of Bellegrove
John Watts Kearny, upper right
with family members
While there was no truth to the rumor that Philip Kearny's son by Diana, John Watts Kearny, had tried to join the Confederate Army so he could shoot at his father, there was no love lost between them. Their son sided with his mother during the divorce and rarely, if ever, spoke to his father after it. After his father's death, it was said that John Kearny received the largest inheritance in the history of the United States to that date. Eventually he settled at Bellegrove. The estate stayed in the family's hands until it was torn down in 1926 to make room for a real estate development.

Advertisement for Sale of  Lots on the Kearny Estate

In 1868 Agnes married Admiral John E. Upshur, a widower with several children.
Both Suzy Kearny and her younger sister, Virginia, married navy officers from prominent families,  Suzy's husband was the son of Commodore Selfridge.   A wife, mother, and Gilded Age socialite, she remained driven by the need to know and honor the heroic father she scarcely remembered, Kearny having been away fighting, first in Italy and then in Virginia, for three of the six years before he died. Immersing herself in the details of his life and career, she gave lectures, attended veterans' events, and funded memorials across the country in his name.

Virginia DeLancey Kearny married Lt. Ridgely Hunt, USN.  Her bridegroom was the son of William Henry Hunt, Secretary of the Navy under Presidents Garfield and Arthur, and their wedding took place in Washington, DC, on the eve of her 25th birthday. A socialite and mother of two, she died suddenly on Long Island at the age of 35. She was buried in the family vault of her great-grandfather, John Watts, alongside her father and her brother Archie. 

The Kearny Museum
Kearny, New Jersey, named after General Kearny, began as a township formed by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 8, 1867, from portions of Harrison Township. Kearny was incorporated as a town on January 19, 1899, based on the results of a referendum held two days earlier.  The Kearny Museum contains a display of furniture from his Bellegrove home, donated by his granddaughter and second wife, as well as other Kearny memorabilia.

Bullet that killed Kearny
on display at the Kearny Museum

A statue of Philip Kearny, which originally stood at the State House in Trenton, was dedicated at Military Park in Newark in 1880. The ceremony was attended by Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Governor George McClellan. 

Kearney Statue in Military Park, Newark, New Jersey
In 1890, Kearney and Agnes's eldest daughter, Susan, requested a personal tribute about her father by the Comte de Paris (Louis Philippe Albert d'Orleans). The Comte de Paris, a former aide of General McClellan and son of the Duc d'Orleans (whom Kearny had served as a member of the Chasseurs), wrote:
One who saw Philip Kearny recognized in him the typical soldier. As early as 1849 the young and brilliant cavalry officer had lost his left arm before one of the gates of Mexico at the battle of Churubusco. His infirmity did not prevent him from always mounting the most vigorous-looking horses, which he controlled on the march with rare elegance, holding in his only hand his reins and his naked sword. A head, the picture of energy, framed by the cape which almost invariably hung about his shoulders, a strongly marked nose, and a piercing eye, gave him the look of an eagle. His abrupt speech and his imperious manner denoted a proud disposition, and a character incapable of flattery or of dissimulation. But though at first his manner was not always fitted to attract, one soon learned to appreciate the noble qualities of his heart, the firmness of his will, the accuracy of his judgment, the truthfulness and grandeur of his soul. This man, apparently so nervous, was calmness itself in the presence of the enemy. His unerring eye, his prompt decision, his clear and concise orders, at once revealed in him the true warrior. He inspired an unbounded confidence in all those who had once been under fire with him.
"Taking Kearny's Body from Trinity Church", 1912
In 1912, despite protests from members of his family, his body was moved to Arlington National Cemetery, when an elaborate memorial with an equestrian statue was built.  

Kearny Statue at Arlington National Cemetery
The re-interment drive was spearheaded by Medal of Honor recipient Charles F. Hopkins, who had served under Kearny in the First New Jersey Brigade. 

Charles F. Hopkins, 1865

Charles F. Hopkins, 
later in his life
The statue was dedicated by President Woodrow Wilson in November 1914. 

Dedication of Kearny Statue, Arlington National Cemetery,
November 11th, 1914
The following year, 1915, Hopkins had monuments to Stevens and Kearny placed on the Ox Hill battlefield.  

 On October 2, 1915, descendants gathered for the dedication of a monument to
General Philip Kearny, killed in action, September 1, 1862.
John Watts Kearny, the general's son, stands behind the monument.
Great-granddaughter Lucy Kearny Hill, stands at right in the front row.
Ox Hill Battlefield Park, established in the late 1980s,  sits in the middle of housing units and a shopping center. Thanks to the work done by Chantilly Battlefield Association and the trustees of the monument plot at Ox Hill Battlefield Park, these monuments are what little there is left of the battlefield.

Ox Hill Battlefield Monuments to Kearny and Stevens
Agnes Maxwell Kearny Upshur died in on July 2, 1917, a month after the death of her husband of nearly 50 years, John Upshur.  She was buried in Arlington National Cemetery beside John and his first wife.

Agnes Maxwell Kearny Upshur
In 1925 the statue of Kearny in Newark  was moved to another part of the park to make room for the "Wars of America" monument. In 1961, the it was reset on the pedestal facing west, its back to the Passaic River and the town of Kearny that was his home and was named in his honor.  In the 1990's the statue was taken down for restoration and in a compromise, an exact copy was made for the Township of Kearny, which was unveiled in 1994 in front of the Kearny Post Office. Some of the bricks recovered from Bellegrove were used in the base of the statue.

Statue of Kearny
 in the National Statuary Hall in Capitol Building
A statue of Kearny represents New Jersey in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol building.

1 comment:

  1. Have the other family members in the photo taken on the steps of Bellegrove been identified? I would love to know who they are.