Phil Kearney - Opinions

Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Messages
7,625
#41
[QUOTE ] According to Hennessy “Kearney’s non-cooperation that day…doomed Schurz’s division to hours of solitary fighting—fighting that promised no success.” Hennessy believes that Kearney might have faced a court martial if he had not been killed a few days later in battle. Kearney’s reputation was saved “by the bullet that killed him,” the historian says. [/QUOTE]

I've Mr. Hennessey's work and will need to revisit it. There's a fun thing, though, about this thread.

General Philip Kearny resisted George McClellan's (repeated) orders to retreat (again).

Kearny bridled at his orders and actually attacked the enemy! For this he is apparently not forgiven.

I admire the guy.
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
6,752
Location
Southeast Missouri
#42
He was a much better officer than many in the Army of Virginia. Better than McClellan. MG Kearney was smart, aggressive and brave. His rashness probably got him killed. He was a much better general and leader than his uncle Stephen Kearney.
 

Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
2,015
Location
Mass.
#43
From @Pat Young article:

According to Hennessy “Kearney’s non-cooperation that day…doomed Schurz’s division to hours of solitary fighting—fighting that promised no success.” Hennessy believes that Kearney might have faced a court martial if he had not been killed a few days later in battle. Kearney’s reputation was saved “by the bullet that killed him,” the historian says.15​

15. Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas by John Hennessy pub. by Simon and Schuster (1993) P. 222.

Thank you for the article @Pat Young, it is an excellent companion to the other material I have been reading during my study of the Second Manassas Campaign

Looks like opinions are all over the board on Kearney. Here is a much more celebratory essay (no footnotes, instead, information links)

http://thewildgeese.irish/profiles/blogs/general-phil-kearny-the-most-perfect-soldier

Personally, I don't like to solicit opinion, rather, sourced reading suggestions are much preferred ( that's you, Pat Young)
 

Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
2,015
Location
Mass.
#44
In 61 and 62 the AOP was hyper political and there were tons of infighting and intrigue....look at what happened to Stone, thrown in prison on rumor. "Non-cooperation" how about Mac taking 2 weeks or more to assist or even start to assist Pope. Porter - would you say after 7 Days that a bullet would have saved him? I know he was exonerated years later but my point is, in the AOP, 61 - 63, there was much infighting, excess politics, and depending on who's version of history you care to ascribe to, many different interpretations. I think Kearney was a fighter that did far more good than harm to the Union. He led "green" men from the front when few others would....you can say the same about Hooker who often fought with Kearney....yet how is Hooker most often remembered today? The General who screwed up at Chancellorsville - that generally defines who he was and what he accomplished
 

James N.

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
10,356
Location
East Texas
#45
... I think Kearney was a fighter that did far more good than harm to the Union. He led "green" men from the front when few others would....you can say the same about Hooker who often fought with Kearney....yet how is Hooker most often remembered today? The General who screwed up at Chancellorsville - that generally defines who he was and what he accomplished
Two apparently aggressive generals, both in the Third Corps, who must've performed far better than their commander, S. P. Heintzleman, a colorless do-nothing about whom I can't think of anything remarkable or complimentary.
 

Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
2,015
Location
Mass.
#47
Here, I found the book, publicly available:

https://books.google.com/books?id=NTFCAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA46&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

Note the author's introduction carefully. There were two versions of this work and he is alleging publishers made material changes to the original without his consent.

Like I said, it's been years, but IIRC, Kearny lost use of his arm in a riding accident, not in the Mexican War. A bridge collapsed and his horse landed on top of him, if memory hasn't completely failed.

I had read he lost his arm in Mexico assaulting a portal to canister and he made it back with the help of another officer who was instrumental in the ACW. If it is your objective to cast dispersions on any individual - ACW or otherwise....you can always find someone with
 

Dom71

Sergeant
Joined
May 12, 2017
Messages
604
Location
Long Island, NY
#48
I have understood Kearny to be an aggressive, fighting general, who had he lived longer, might certainly have attained corps or army command.
I'm not fond of the "what if" game very much. But picture for a moment the possibilities of Kearny in command of the 3rd corps. Instead of Dirty Dan at Gettysburg.
 
Last edited:

Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
2,015
Location
Mass.
#49
Sounds like Kearny is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum... or is that the other way around. No matter.

Not to me - he wanted to fight and pressed his troops but not to the peril of others (much the opposite), I understand he was impetuous but he was always a thorn in the side of the South...Dont forget the officer commanding at that time MAC if he didnt act we were fried for years
 

Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
1,948
Location
Jupiter, FL
#50
Porter - would you say after 7 Days that a bullet would have saved him?
Did Porter have a reputation, good or bad, from Seven Days?

I'm not fond of the "what if" game very much. But picture for a moment the possibilities of Kearny in command of the 3rd corps. Instead of Dirty Dan at Gettysburg.
I'm not sure I would rely on Kearney in that situation either, just for different reasons.
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Messages
7,625
#53
I had read he lost his arm in Mexico assaulting a portal to canister and he made it back with the help of another officer who was instrumental in the ACW. If it is your objective to cast dispersions on any individual - ACW or otherwise....you can always find someone with
Alright, I provided a good source on Kearny's life. I said I hadn't read it in years. Off the top of my head, I recalled Kearny in a riding accident that cost him the use of his arm. You said it happened in the Mexican War. Guess what? You are right.

How do I know this? Because I looked at my own source again (you haven't provided one).

To be accused of "casting aspersions" against an individual over where or how a person lost the use of an arm is insulting.

Next time, please finish your post, so at least I and others may understand what the heck you are trying to communicate in making the accusation.
 
Last edited:

Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
2,015
Location
Mass.
#55
Two apparently aggressive generals, both in the Third Corps, who must've performed far better than their commander, S. P. Heintzleman, a colorless do-nothing about whom I can't think of anything remarkable or complimentary.

I dont think Heitzleman was a poor commander. He was getting a little old by the start of the war perhaps but he was an independent thinker and I dont thnk he made monumental mistakes like Sumner. He opposed the Urbanna Plan and I believe devised an alternative
 

Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
2,015
Location
Mass.
#56
Alright, I provided a good source on Kearny's life. I said I hadn't read it in years. Off the top of my head, I recalled Kearny in a riding accident that cost him the use of his arm. You said it happened in the Mexican War. Guess what? You are right.

How do I know this? Because I looked at my own source again (you haven't provided one).

To be accused of "casting aspersions" against an individual over where or how a person lost the use of an arm is insulting.

Next time, please finish your post, so at least I and others may understand what the heck you are trying to communicate in making the accusation.

I could have stated my case more artfully - I didnt mean to insult you by the way, casting dispersions is a legitimate term. What I was trying to convey is one can cherry pick bad events out of any reputation but for the most part I think Phil K had a positive effect on the AOP
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Messages
7,625
#57
I could have stated my case more artfully - I didnt mean to insult you by the way, casting dispersions is a legitimate term. What I was trying to convey is one can cherry pick bad events out of any reputation but for the most part I think Phil K had a positive effect on the AOP
Thanks, Specster. It's ironic I should be sticking up for a Union General, but Kearny doesn't get as good as he deserves.

He was appalled at orders to retreat. 'Nuff said.
 
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
15,312
Location
los angeles ca
#58
If one goggles Phil Kearney Union general a number of articles pop up. The article by civilwarblog.spot is very detailed and complimentary to Kearney. @67th Tigers might be right about Kearney but Kearney got a lot of love from both both CSA and Union officers. new Jersey Gov. George McCellan even attended a memorial service for Kearney. maybe he had to to look good but he did attended along with Grant. Kearney is no doubt an interesting character.
Leftyhunter
 

67th Tigers

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
3,255
#59
If one goggles Phil Kearney Union general a number of articles pop up. The article by civilwarblog.spot is very detailed and complimentary to Kearney. @67th Tigers might be right about Kearney but Kearney got a lot of love from both both CSA and Union officers. new Jersey Gov. George McCellan even attended a memorial service for Kearney. maybe he had to to look good but he did attended along with Grant. Kearney is no doubt an interesting character.
Leftyhunter
Oh, he was very popular. McClellan thought he was funny and had a lot of time for his aggressiveness - something found lacking in some of his generals.

However, I'm not convinced he wasn't out of his depth. As Heintzelman observed of Kearny in battle "Kearny forgets he is a general" or some such. This being after Heintzelman had to take personal command of Kearny's division at Seven Pines on account of Kearny riding to the front and behaving like a captain. Behaviour he repeated at Glendale requiring Heintzelman to again take personal command of his division.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
15,312
Location
los angeles ca
#60
@Pat Young does make a good argument in his article in "Long island Wins" that Kearney did leave Schurtz's troops out to dry in the battle of 2nd Bull Run. A case can be made that had not Kearney died "the bullet that saved him" Kearney should of been court martialed.
Leftyhunter
 

Similar threads




(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top