Key facts about Philip Kearny, a prominent Union general who was killed in action at the Battle of Chantilly during the American Civil War.
- Philip Kearny
- June 2, 1815
- New York City, New York
- Philip Kearny, Sr. and Susan (Watts) Kearney
- Columbia College (1833)
- Military officer
- Captain (USA)
- Major General (USVA)
- Diana Bullitt (1841)
- Agnes Maxwell (1858)
- Kearny the Magnificent
- The One-armed Devil
Place of Death:
- Chantilly, Virginia
Date of Death:
- September 1, 1862
Place of Burial:
- Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
- Kearny’s father, a wealthy financier, was a founder of the New York Stock Exchange and his maternal grandfather, John Watts, was one of the wealthiest men in America.
- Philip Kearny graduated from Columbia College with a law degree in 1833.
- Philip Kearny’s inherited over one million dollars in 1836 when his grandfather died.
- In 1837, Philip Kearny obtained a commission as a second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons of the United States Army.
- In 1839, Philip Kearny traveled to France to study cavalry tactics at the French Cavalry School.
- Philip Kearny’s bravery and skilled horsemanship prompted members of the French Army to nickname him “Kearny the Magnificent.”
- On June 24, 1841, Philip Kearny married Diana Bullitt. The marriage produced five children but ended in divorce because Kearny’s desire for a life of military adventure proved to be incompatible with his wife’s social aspirations.
- Philip Kearny resigned his commission in 1846, but returned to the army a month later when the Mexican-American War began.
- Philip Kearny was promoted to captain in December 1846.
- In a spell of despair, he reportedly said that “I would give my arm for a brevet.” On August 20, 1847, at the Battle of Churubusco, Philip Kearny’s left arm was severely wounded by grapeshot, requiring amputation. Kearny later received a brevet promotion to major.
- In April 1858 Philip Kearny married Agnes Maxwell after obtaining a divorce from his first wife. The marriage produced three children.
- Philip Kearny was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1859 for fighting with the French Army during the Franco-Austrian War.
- When the American Civil War began, Philip Kearny secured a commission as a brigadier general in the volunteer army commanding the 1st New Jersey Brigade.
- Philip Kearny was highly critical of his commanding officer, Major General George B. McClellan.
- Philip Kearny was promoted to command the third division of General Samuel P. Heintzelman’s 3rd Corps of the Army of the Potomac on May 1, 1862.
- Philip Kearny distinguished himself by leading a charge during the Battle of Williamsburg (May 5, 1862).
- Philip Kearny’s daring on the battlefield prompted Rebel soldiers to call him “the one-armed devil.”
- Philip Kearny was promoted to major general of volunteers on July 4, 1862.
- Philip Kearny was rumored to be the leading candidate to replace George B. McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac after the latter’s Peninsula Campaign unraveled.
- Philip Kearny’s division reinforced Major General John Pope’s Army of Virginia during Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Northern Virginia Campaign in August 1862.
- Philip Kearny led his forces in an unsuccessful charge against Stonewall Jackson’s division at Groveton on August 29, during the Second Battle of Bull Run.
- Philip Kearny was killed by a Confederate minie ball during the Battle of Chantilly on September 1, 1862.
- Philip Kearny was originally buried at Trinity Churchyard in New York. In 1912, his remains were exhumed and re-interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
- Philip Kearny was credited with developing the concept of corps badges, which would go on to be adopted by the entire army.