General Phil Kearney


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 20, 1862

Welcome to our archive of original Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers provide a valuable resource for the serious student of the Civil War. The illustrations created by eye-witnesses to the battles and events are an incredible resource for the serious student.

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Union Battle Flag

Union Battle Flag

Color Bearer


Invasion of Maryland

Rebel Invasion of Maryland

Defense of Cincinnati

The Defense of Cincinnati

2nd Battle of Bull Run

2nd Battle of Bull Run

General Phil Kearney

General Phil Kearney

General Stevens

General Stevens

Colonel Fletcher Webster

Colonel Fletcher Webster

Buell's Campaign

General Buell's Campaign

Kentucky War Map

Map of Civil War in Kentucky

Second Battle of Bull Run

Second Battle of Bull Run

Buckeye Cartoon




SEPTEMBER 20, 1862.]




ON page 596 we publish several pictures of the army under command of General Buell, from sketches by Mr. Hubner. The following account of the pictures will serve to explain them:


Decherd is a station on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, boasting a depot, hotel, and half a dozen dwelling and store houses. It has shared the usual fate of small towns in districts occupied by the army. The quarter-master has fallen heir to the depot, and has filled it with his stores. The Provost Marshal and the convalescent soldiers have taken possession of the rest of the town. Having grown to be a point of military importance, it has been strongly fortified. The stockade forts in different parts of the town are observable in the view. The camp of the Third Ohio occupies the right of the drawing, with the depot and store-houses in the fore-ground and centre. The mountains in the back-ground are spurs of the Cumberland.


In a neat and strong fort west of the town the Seventh Indiana battery has been stationed to defend the approaches from the mountains. These forts and stockades were built to defend the troops stationed here against guerrilla raids.


All the work of fortifying in General Buell's Department is done by the negroes of rebel masters. General Buell was very prompt to obey the order of the President on that subject. Thousands of negroes are now in his camps doing duty as laborers in various capacities. Many of the wagon trains are driven by negroes.


The sketch of General Buell's head-quarters is particularly faithful. The tents on the left are those of General Buell and Colonel Fry, his Chief of Staff. That of the military telegrapher is seen on the right. General Buell invariably lives in camp. He is now in the field for a long and tedious campaign, which his brilliant military genius and recognized abilities will bring to a successful termination.

In the woods near our camp is the grave of one of General McCook's men, shot in defending his General. His name is John Lochbihler, Company D, Ninth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, born in Bavaria, Germany. The boys mourn their brave leader, and have sworn to revenge him. The Ninth Regiment is a fine regiment, though they had to suffer much from heavy marchings.

The Third Ohio and Forty-second Indiana marched in two days from Huntsville to Decherd. It was a heavy march, and they were highly complimented for it.


ON page 597 we publish three pictures from sketches by our special artist, Mr. H. Mosler, illustrating the preparations made at Cincinnati and Covington to resist the rebels. Early last week it was known that Kirby Smith, at the head of a large body of troops (15,000 or 20,000), advanced into Eastern Kentucky. Having defeated a small body of raw volunteers under Nelson, they pushed forward and seized successively Cynthiana, Frankfort, and Lexington, menacing Louisville and Cincinnati. General Lew Wallace was at once placed in command at the latter city, and issued the following order:


The undersigned, by order of Major-General Wright, assumes command of Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport. It is but fair to inform our citizens that an active, daring, and powerful enemy threatens them with every consequence of war—yet the cities must be defended and the inhabitants assist in the preparations.

First—All business must be suspended at nine o'clock today. Every business house must be closed.

Second—Under the direction of the Mayor the citizens must, within the hour after the suspension of business, assemble in convenient public places ready for orders, and as soon as possible they will then be assigned to their work. This labor ought to be one of love, and the undersigned trusts and believes that it will be so. Any how it must be done: the willing shall be promptly credited—the unwilling promptly visited.

The principle adopted is, "Citizens for the labor, soldiers for the battle."

Martial law is hereby proclaimed in the three cities. Until they can be relieved by the military, the injunctions of this proclamation will be executed by the police.

Third—Ferry-boats will cease plying the river after four o'clock in the morning until further orders.

Major-General Commanding.

The citizens responded with enthusiasm. The Gazette says:

"The streets are fairly alive with moving columns of armed men. The city military companies filed through the streets yesterday in splendid style, and made a magnificent appearance. From the interior we learn the country is fairly alive. Men are rushing to arms, and every train comes in loaded with volunteers armed and ready for action. They are pouring in by thousands. The Governor of Ohio is doing his part fully, and the military authorities at the State capital are promptly and efficiently performing their duties. Ohio regiments are coming in freely, and Governor Morton, as usual, is ready with a large force to swell the columns that are concentrating for operations in Kentucky. Major-General Wallace has certainly reason to feel proud of the spontaneous outpouring of the people in response to his demands. Nothing has been done grudgingly. With liberality and even enthusiasm the people have rallied to the standard of the commander."

On 5th a reconnoissance was made from Cincinnati over the Kentucky Central Railroad to a point ten miles north of Cynthiana where evidences of the enemy were found; and a dispatch from Falmouth, dated at 1 o'clock on 6th, states that the National scouts had discovered the rebels within four miles of that place with artillery.

On 7th Major-General Wright issued an order relieving General Wallace from duty at Cincinnati, and directing him to proceed to Covington, Kentucky, where he is to organize into brigades the troops mustered into service and concentrating at and in the vicinity of that place and Newport. Other changes in the service are also made. The resumption of all lawful business in Cincinnati except

the sale of liquors is authorized until 4 o'clock in the afternoon daily. All the military organizations of the city are to assemble for drill every afternoon excepting Sunday, and the members of such organizations will hold themselves in readiness to rally at the place of rendezvous at a moment's warning. The organization of all able-bodied citizens into a working corps is to be perfected with the aid of the civil authorities.


IT is a nice and curious inquiry how far it is desirable, or even tolerable, for people to talk of themselves. There is no broader distinction between man and man than the manner and the degree in which this is done. There are people who never talk of themselves. There are others who never talk of any thing but themselves—that is, who can pursue no subject unless the vista can be made to terminate in self. Wherever it comes to this, the question admits but of one answer—indeed, society has put the too frequent use of the word "I" under an interdict. No person who mixes much with mankind dares to turn the conversation habitually upon himself, except under some feint or disguise. Nevertheless, we all of us know persons who talk only of themselves, and families who never get farther from themselves than one another. These are probably the dullest people and dullest families of our acquaintance; for, when we come to think of it, all prominent dullness has a touch of egotism at bottom, and this is the point that tells. It is the part we have to play in their company that oppresses us both at the time and in recollection. Not only is their intelligence chained to themselves, but ours also. All interchange and variety of thought are impossible, not only because they are a heavy, unimaginative sort of people, whose flights are circumscribed to their own prospects, but because their one subject is precisely that on which we can neither speak our own mind nor satisfy expectation. We could discuss the man merrily enough behind his back; but to be forced to follow his lead, too polite to be candid, yet full of inward revolt, is a false position, and the inevitable subservience leaves a flavor of annoyance and failure which intercourse with mere dryness and insipidity can not be charged with.

We all know men and women tethered, by a string whose length we instinctively measure, to themselves. Every subject under the sun reminds such people of themselves. Nothing is too remote for this alliance—they can not hear of the stars without wanting their own horoscopes. Their sole notion of conversation is to display themselves. They are ready to unveil their whole idiosyncrasy to whoever will look and listen. Their loves, and hates, and prospects are at any body's service. Their experiences, successes, every fine thing ever said to them or of them, are common property. The whole world is their confessor in the matter of their faults, temptations, whims, grievances, doubts, and weaknesses. They expect to interest strangers by an avowal of their taste in meats and drinks and clothes. They confide their diseases and their remedies, their personal habits, their affairs to any chance corner, never for a moment visited by the misgiving pressed upon them by the preacher—"Is it possible that it should never come into people's thoughts to suspect whether or not it be to their advantage to show so very much of themselves?" Society, or rather their own little world, is simply a tablet on which to subscribe self. When forced by some strong counter-will out of this indulgence, they are visibly at sea, vacant, disturbed; they have nothing to say; we feel for them as painfully out of their element, and are prone in weak good-nature to help them into port again. Now a good deal of this is mere ill-manners. People who talk in this way are either underbred or incapable of nurture, or they suffer the want of certain wholesome restraints that keep the rest of the world in order. Miss Austen, whom few forms of social folly escaped, has more than one character representing this habit of mind, and revealing its source. Every reader can recall that elaborate and inimitable impersonation of self-display, Mrs. Elton, who, once received into the memory, has too many counterparts in real life ever to be forgotten.

Vanity is of course the leading motive to this obtrusive display. Yet the habit of perpetually reverting to self is not always to be confounded with vanity. Mere paucity of ideas and deadness of fancy drive some people into it who have a willingness to talk, and yet so little perception of things out of themselves that nothing apart from their own routine of sensations presents itself to say. No doubt it gives them a general sense of importance to clothe themselves in words, but they have hardly a choice as to the means. There are men who will tell any body how often they have been jilted, under the vague sense that honor will somehow redound to themselves from the confession; or they will found a claim for distinction upon a weak digestion, or the difficulties they encounter in shaving. But these aspirations are something apart from vanity. There is a mild satisfaction in being not a mere insignificant unit, but possessed of differences and peculiarities, which is worth all the world besides to some people, and indeed to which none of us are quite insensible. Others talk of themselves from a nervous desire to cover their defects—a restless impulse to set off their presentable points. They are alive to some weak side, which preys on their sensitiveness. As some people are most apt to talk of their fine friends and grand relations, there are those who are deeply conscious of a preponderance of the other sort. Thus very few persons who talk much about themselves talk the truth. The impression they want to give is one-sided. There are, probably, a hundred things about themselves which, in the midst of ostentatious candor, they suppress.

Some faults we own; but can you guess?

Why, Virtues carried to excess.

And the side represented swells to inordinate dimensions, and takes an aspect bearing it out of the region of fact. Or perhaps, like Goethe and Rousseau, they have a notion that every thing becomes them—that even meanness or baseness is glorified when made a matter of frank confession.

As excessive talk of this kind is presumption, the habit is most odious in young people. Children in their natural state never talk of themselves. They show egotism by a peculiar appreciation of the pronouns "my" and "mine;" but they are not yet self-conscious. They could not, if they would, unveil themselves—their vanity takes another direction. All attempts, unless very systematic and insidious, fail to rouse self into expression. Precocious children now and then talk of themselves, especially if forced and excited by a certain sort of religious teaching. Then they can be heard to enlarge with a horrible glibness on their feelings, their convictions of sin, their schemes for setting the world to rights; but this is mostly a sign of an overtasked brain, accompanied sometimes by an exceptional, grotesque form of naughtiness, and sure to pass off as the health improves and the cleverness vanishes. When childhood, and even boyhood, is fairly over, is the time for self to assert itself in talk. Then it awakes full armed in a sort of bloom and overflow of conceit, an invasion of arrogance never to be matched in after-life. There are not many more unpleasant things in the social world than a pert, forward young man, whose theme is universally himself—who entertains every company with himself, and breaks up every conversation that does not concern himself. These insufferable youths are of all sorts, from the flippant and most bearable who clamors of his own exploits, boasts himself the envy of one sex and the idol of the other, to the deep, oracular, and enlightened youth who will not allow us to remain in the dark as to his views on any of the topics that occupy mankind. Or there is the sententious, didactic young man, more than endured, probably, by some small admiring circle—a teetotaler, perhaps, or a stringent Sabbatarian, or engaged in a course of lectures to "the lower orders," or in some way or other a conscious example, reprover, and guide to his fellow-men. Whatever their line, they are intrinsically the same—all alike patronizing or indifferent to their betters — all blind to the impression they make—all lavishing the fullness of their admiration, reverence, and talk on one central figure—all flaunting the same self in our eyes—keeping up the one chorus, " I, I, I," "I say," "I know," "I do."

And yet all people must sometimes talk of themselves—all ought to be able to do it on fitting occasions freely and naturally. No man is interesting who never talks of strictly personal matters; indeed, we can not be said really to know any body till he has talked of himself to us. Until there has been a mutual interchange of such confidences people are acquaintances not friends; and the man who has no such confidences to make has no friends. It is not, then, the practice itself, but how and when to indulge it that is the point. We use the word "indulge" designedly, for unquestionably the subject most interesting to every one must be himself. It is in recognition of this fact that all popular forms of religion agree in spiritualizing egotism. Methodism enjoins all its members to enlarge periodically each on himself—the only check being that all have to listen in their turn. Romanism makes asceticism endurable by enjoining an immense amount of self-scrutiny and proportionate self-portraiture; and attempts at conventual life in our own Church all bring out the fact that unlimited dwelling on self and lengthy confession—that is, the talking of self—is the one indemnity for a life of unnatural constraint and bondage. To persons open to the active interests of life and the relaxations of society, however, a great many circumstances ought to combine to make the subject of self a natural or even a pleasurable one. Talking of self is one of the strongest proofs of confidence that can be given by a mind of due delicacy and reserve—a confidence that ought to be bestowed with such discretion as to make it always welcome. With ordinary people, under ordinary circumstances, the subject, at any length or particularity, must be either a favor or an impertinence. There are, however, a great many people who have a right to talk of themselves with freer latitude than it is wise to give ourselves —old people, for instance, who have the instinctive longing to leave some record of themselves behind them. And even where old age "is given to lying" of past achievements, it is not so bad as the boasting of younger men. There is generally some quaint savor about it—some illusion of a failing memory claiming our indulgence in the worst cases, and softening contempt. Invalids and persons of weak nerves and spirits must be allowed to talk of themselves. Pain, weariness, and seclusion throw them upon their inner consciousness. When every nerve and function of the body makes itself felt, and every feeling is morbidly excited, they must be excused if nothing out of themselves can command their attention. It is needless to say that persons under some immediate shock unhinging to the whole being must be not only allowed but encouraged to talk of themselves; for a personal grief put into words is infinitely lighter and more bearable than trouble pressing on the heart. There is something in every effort at expression which brings relief; and when sorrow can be brought to describe itself the worst is over. Again, persons of notoriety may be pardoned if they fall into this habit. We hear of great poets, authors, preachers, philanthropists, soldiers, who talk too much of themselves; and it is true that vanity is often a conspicuous element in conspicuous greatness, acting as a sort of spur, and indemnifying itself with words. But society itself takes the part of flatterer in their case —first leads them on, and puts them off their guard by the importunity of its interest, and then of course betrays them.

And lastly, wits make great capital of themselves. Many of the best things of our most delightful humorists are about themselves. We not only excuse it in their case, but this perpetual consciousness

of and reference to themselves is of the essence of their wit, and gives it its careless, genial character. So far from any sense of restraint, when Falstaff or Sydney Smith talk of themselves, it has the effect of making us all partners in the joke. But in every case where it is so it is not the man's real self, but one or more of his personal or mental characteristics that he plays with. We are conscious all the while of an inner self which he keeps as jealously guarded as the most reserved of his hearers. That talk of self, or any part of self, which connects the speaker with grotesque, remote, abstract, or strongly contrasted ideas is more than tolerable. That which keeps down both speaker and listener, in whatever seeming variety of subject, to one tedious, obtrusive idea, is the propensity under which society rebels. After all, it is a matter of sympathy. The sinners in this line have no fellow-feeling. They do not do as they would be done by, for they see no parallel between themselves and others, their own affairs and other people's. They believe in a distinct superiority in all that concerns themselves. Trifles in the abstract are not trifles with them, but subjects of legitimate interest to the world; and that obtuseness which constitutes want of sympathy is at the bottom of their error. Any person who can make his inner self or his family affairs amusing has perception enough to secure his hearer's interest before he tries it. Indeed, a man may say and do any thing—he may enumerate his charities, he may detail his last quarrel with his wife, he may repeat a string of his own bon mots, or press upon strangers the perusal of his manuscript poem—he may offend against every principle, and every canon of taste; but so long as he excites a genuine interest, and relies on real sympathy, he is not the man we mean, and does not offend in the particular direction which has given rise to our strictures.


ON page 604 we publish a portrait of THE LATE GENERAL PHIL KEARNEY, who was killed in battle near Fairfax Court House on 1st September.

Philip Kearney was born in this city on 2d June, 1815. He was born a soldier, and in spite of the wishes of his family, who desired him to study law, enlisted in the First United States Dragoons when quite a boy. His uncle then commanded them, and through his influence he succeeded in obtaining a commission as Second Lieutenant. He was shortly afterward sent to Europe by the Government to report upon the cavalry tactics of the French; and the better to inform himself he joined the Chasseurs d' Afrique, and made several campaigns with them in Algeria, winning golden opinions from the officers for his gallantry and military skill. When the war broke out with Mexico, Phil Kearney accompanied the army as a Captain of Dragoons, whose equipments and horses he provided at his private expense. In the march from Vera Cruz to Mexico he won high honor, and was shortly afterward brevetted Major for his gallantry. At the San Antonio Gate, City of Mexico, he was ordered to charge a battery. He gave the order to charge. A murderous volley checked his advance, and caused his troop to waver. Alone, with his sword erect, Philip Kearney dashed upon the enemy, and his men, electrified by his example, charged and took the battery. In this affair Major Kearney lost an arm.

After the Mexican war Major Kearney was sent to California, and commanded an expedition against the Indians of the Columbia River. He displayed during this campaign, as the annals of the War Department will prove, such tact, coolness, and courage as won him the praise of our best military judges. When returned from this expedition Major Kearney resigned his commission, and returning to Europe devoted several years to military studies.

During the Italian campaign of 1859 Major Kearney served as volunteer aid to General Morris, a distinguished officer in the French army. The American aid made good use of the facilities offered him during the series of brilliant victories which brought the contest to a speedy conclusion. He was ever observing, studying with unflagging zeal and ardor each movement of the army. He was unconsciously preparing himself for his future position. At the conclusion of this campaign the French officers, who had witnessed with delight the evidences of the military ardor and enthusiasm of Philip Kearney, called the Emperor Napoleon's attention to the American officer. His Majesty immediately bestowed upon him the Cross of the Legion of Honor.

When the news of the breaking out of this hideous rebellion first reached Europe, Major Philip Kearney was residing in Paris. He lost not a moment. He hurried back to offer his services to his country, and was shortly afterward appointed a Brigadier-General of the forces of New Jersey. In the army of the Potomac no officer has won higher praise than General Kearney. General McClellan is said to have wept when he heard of his death, and to have said: "Who can replace Phil Kearney?"

A writer in the Herald says:

During his residence in Paris General Kearney was the constant companion of those officers in the French army most celebrated for valiant deeds. He delighted in the society of such as himself—soldiers in every sense of the word. He profited by their experience, discussed with them military matters, adding thus to his own acquirements the results of the study and experience of others. Before the commencement of the present struggle his dwelling in Paris was the rendezvous of all American officers passing through France. His hospitality was unbounded, his courtesy that of the high-toned gentleman. We have seen gathered around his table there those now prominent in the rebel army—Beauregard, Lee, the Johnstons, Stonewall Jackson, Magruder, and others; and no doubt many a pang will visit their hearts when they learn that Phil Kearney was their victim. We are assured that these rebel leaders repeatedly expressed, in their letters to secessionists in Paris, their dread of the military skill and dash of "Brave Phil Kearney," and their wonder that he was not long since appointed to some high and responsible post.




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