John H. Kelly: Boy General

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#1
I decided, since I share a birthday with this man, I'd make a short bio on him.
John Herbert Kelly, when he was promoted to Brigadier General in November of '63, was at the time the youngest Confederate General at the time of his promotion, at 23 years and 7 months; I haven't done the exact math on this, but I think he may have been younger that Will Paul Robert, the youngest Confederate General, by a few days, or vice versa. Someone will probably clarify this.
He was born in Carrollton, Alabama, on 31st March, 1840. His was orphaned at age 7, and was taken in by his grandmother. When he was around 17, he was appointed to West Point (this he received with the help of his uncle Philemon Herbert, a congressman for California who later joined the Confederacy and died of wounds received at Mansfield). Before his graduation, his home state seceded, and Kelly returned home to join the Confederacy.
He would join the Confederate army as a 2nd Lt. and would be assigned to Fort Morgan until the fall of '61. He would be made General William Hardee's AAG and made Captain, when Hardee was sent Missouri.
In 1862, he would become Major commanding the 9th Arkansas Battalion. He would lead them into the Battle of Shiloh, as part of S.A.M. Wood's polyglot brigade. After the battle, the battalion would be merged with the 8th Arkansas Regiment, and upon the reorganization of the Confederate army under the new Conscription Act, Kelly would become Colonel of the 8th Arkansas.
The 8th Arkansas was part of Hindman's/Liddell's/Govan's famous Arkansan Brigade, first part of Buckner's and later Patrick Cleburne's division. He fought at Perryville, and was wounded at Murfreesboro. Before the Battle of Chickamauga, a provisional brigade was formed of the 5th Kentucky, 58th North Carolina, 63rd Virginia, and 65th Georgia Regiments. Kelly was detached and given command of the brigade. For his bravery at Chickamauga, Liddell, Cleburne, and William Preston (commanding the division Kelly was assigned to) recommended the boy colonel for promotion. This came on 16th November, 1863.
He was assigned to command first a brigade, then a division, of Cavalry under Fighting Joe Wheeler.
Being a former member of Cleburne's division, it was no surprise that his signature is on Cleburne's infamous proposal to arm slaves.
He took part in the Atlanta Campaign, most notably at Pickett's Mill, where his cavalry division assisted his old commander Cleburne's in the latter's tsriumphant defense. He then took part in Wheeler's failed raid on Sherman's supply line. During this, on 2nd September, in a skirmish at Franklin (where in less than 2 months the rest of the Army of Tennessee, including his former commander Patrick Cleburne, will meet their doom), Kelly was shot in the chest by a sharpshooter. He was taken to the Harrison House. He was left behind by Wheeler's Corps, for he was too wounded to move. The federals reoccupied Franklin the next day and captured him. He died the following day, aged only 24.
1554045311062.png

^This is the only photo of the boy general, as far as I know.
If there is any more literate on this man, or if anyone can quote from the battles and campaigns he partook in any anecdotes on him, please feel free to share.
 

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#3
Happy Birthday to you and the general. Nice synopsis of his life and service.
Thank you.
To be honest, I took all this from Wikipedia. I wish there were a more in depth look at him. Maybe a book on the boy generals of the war? Idk. I mostly know him from reading up on Cleburne. His most notable moments were Chickamauga and Pickett's Mill. As well as his signature on the Cleburne Proposal.
I wonder if he signed it out of a sense of loyalty to Cleburne, or what his opinion on the matter was. Probably will never know. Not much literature on the man.
 

ErnieMac

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#4
Not surprising. Kelly and others like him (J. C. C. Sanders, William P. Roberts, Galusha Pennypacker) were just reaching adulthood when the War began. They didn't have a career to be analysed and dissected. If killed during the War, their war record became their biography.
 
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#5
Not surprising. Kelly and others like him (J. C. C. Sanders, William P. Roberts, Galusha Pennypacker) were just reaching adulthood when the War began. They didn't have a career to be analysed and dissected. If killed during the War, their war record became their biography.
Good point.
Thing is, i had joined cwt because I had question regarding an alt history project based around the Cleburne Proposal getting enact. In the narrative I created, he becomes the commander of a brigade of black troops in a charge against the Union lines near Atlanta, where he is killed.
 

Ole Miss

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#6
Luke here is John Kelly's Official Report of the Battle of Shiloh
Regards
David

Report of Maj. John H. Kelly, Ninth Arkansas Infantry Battalion.
Hdqrs. Battalion Kinth Arkansas Volunteers, Campy near Corinth, Miss., April 9, 1862.
Sir: I have the honor to make the following report as to the action of my command in the battle of the 6th and 7th instant:
Early on the morning of the 6th my battalion, in conjunction with the Eighth Arkansas, Colonel Patterson commanding, was thrown forward as skirmishers, relieving the Third Mississippi Battalion, Major Hardcastle commanding. After sharp firing we succeeded in driving in the enemy’s skirmishers. We then took our position in line of battle and advanced upon the enemy, driving him, after a spirited resistance, beyond one of his encampments.
After advancing some distance we were ordered to change front to the left, which brought us directly in front of the enemy, who was drawn up in line of battle in strong position on a hill, with a battery of artillery. We were ordered to charge; the battery was taken, the enemy retiring to another strong position, from which he was routed after an obstinate resistance. My command, amid the confusion, was separated from the brigade, and, finding the Eighth Arkansas, we continued to act together. Our men being completely exhausted from marching, and having been under fire for several hours, we moved them forward and halted in a good position in order to rest them.
Here we were ordered to remain by General Hardee. Soon after one of the enemy’s batteries opened an enfilade fire on us, compelling us to change our position for a more secure one. This we attained by moving about 200 yards diagonally to the left, where we remained but a short time, when we were ordered forward by General Beauregard, and placed on the right of the line, commanded, I think, by Colonel Smith or General Stewart. This was about 10 a.m.
After forming this line we advanced upon the enemy and drove him back, by hard fighting, to a very strong position, from which we were unable to dislodge him, owing to the exhausted condition of our men. We, however, held our position until fresh troops arrived, when we were withdrawn.
After this we rested our men about three-quarters of an hour, and were moved forward by the brigadier-general commanding at about 4 p. m. and took position in a field. From this we were advanced still farther. The enemy began to shell us from his gunboats, and we were withdrawn to a more secure position.
It being night, we slept on our arms in an encampment of the enemy.
List of casualties on the 6th instant.
Command.
Present KIA WIA Officers WIA
Company A 31 2 6
Company B 35 2 16 2
Company C 32 1 11 2
Company D 24 3 7 1
Total 122 8 40 5

Early on the morning of the 7th we were ordered to form in line of battle. My battalion was ordered out as skirmishers. After advancing several hundred yards I received orders to halt my line until further orders. Then they were withdrawn from this position and placed about 50 yards in front of the brigade. A forward move being ordered, I proceeded to advance with my line. Upon casting my eyes to the rear I saw that the order to retreat had been given. An instant afterward a masked battery opened an enfilade fire upon my brigade. As my men had a safe position, I deemed it best not to retreat across the open field with them. I accordingly wheeled my line to the right and marched it perpendicularly to the line of fire to where General Cleburne’s command was. I informed him that the enemy had a masked battery and that it was playing on our brigade. He at once caused his (the Washington) artillery to open upon that of the enemy. I then moved forward, with my line of skirmishers, and succeeded in rejoining the brigade about 9 a. m.
I was then ordered by the brigadier-general commanding to act in concert with the Twenty-seventh Tennessee, Major Love commanding. We were then ordered forward, and, after advancing about one-fourth of a mile, found ourselves in front of the enemy. The order was given to charge. My battalion, the Eighth Arkansas, and a portion of the Twenty-seventh Tennessee advanced forward; but the tiring of the enemy was quite spirited and the resistance so obstinate that we found it impossible to dislodge him completely.
Our men fought until completely worn-out, and were finally withdrawn, but were soon rallied and moved up again. It, however, became evident that we could do nothing, as the men were worn-out, having fought for six hours. They were then withdrawn and formed in rear of a line commanded by Brigadier-General Wood, where we rested until , orders were received to fall back.
List of casualties on the 7th instant.
Present KIA WIA MIA
Company A 23 1 1
Company B 15 5
Company C 18
Company D 14 3
Total 70 9 1

Aggregate killed and wounded on the 6th and 7th instant, 62.
The gallant bearing of the officers and men under my command could not be surpassed by veterans. They have shown themselves to be true patriots, well worthy to serve our noble cause. Our battle-flag was completely riddled; not a string of it is left. With men like these, who will bear their flag so gallantly, brilliant triumph is certain.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
JNO. H. KELLY,
Major, Commanding.
 
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Ole Miss

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#7
This is the 9th Arkansas Battalion's position marker at the end of April 6th, 1862 before they moved because of the US Gunboats firing that evening and night. This marker is 100 yards from the 8th Iowa's monument
Regards
David
1554080201932.png
.
9th ARK. BATTL., 8th ARK., 27th TENN., 44th TENN.,
Wood's (3d) Brigade, Hardee's Corps,
ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI.


These regiments were engaged here from 4 p.m. to
5 p.m. April 6, 1862.
 

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