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Gen. Kearney's Letter--gen. Birney's Comments On It

Gen. Kearney's Letter--gen. Birney's Comments On It image
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Tho followhig letter, fiom Brigadior General Birncy is published : Sbminary, Va., Oot. IS, 1S02. Mï Dbar Friend - I deeply regret the criminal .conduet of "Pot Haistead " in publishing Kearuey's letter, when tliat galaat soldier lies mouldering in the grave, and cmin,t defeii'l himsulr. A„ 'the senior officer of his división, socond ia ■ iiiiiiuuid to hiin, and my brigade uuuibering more than one half of bis commarid, I was on vory intímate relations with him, and enjoyed fully bis euniidenee Ue was moody, and uuder temporary reverses gave way to despondency, and at sdch raquients was inolined, perhaps too strongly, to criticiac the condijct of the war. This letter was written at Harrisofa'a Landing, in one of these moods. in striet oonfidence to an iuliinato frieud, witïi no thought that it would ever be published to tho world nnd cali forth from a Buïïdm, and tho press gonerally, such a torrent of denunriation Most gallantly did Kparney support Generáis Heintzelman, Kpyes, and &loClellan. At Williamsburg bis " fighting división " arrived in good linie, and wade its mark, while at Fair Oaks, Glcndale, and Malvern Hill, the rebels liad cause to remember the " one-nrnied dovil," as they callcd onr ubiquitoqs General. In ncither of these bat'tles was 'nis '! Êghting división " repulsed, hut held the üeld.- Generáis superior to hini, in all official reporta, mention his gallantry and efficiency. At Harrisoii's Laudiog, Kearney first rearl Pope's orders and pro gramme, and they suited admirably his impetuous uaturo, and, in his fear of be;ng lefi inaoüve, he asked to be sent to Pope; but he did ful! jnatice to General M Olellan, and exacted from his command the most implicit obedienco to the orders of the General connnandiug the Army of the Potomac, and oertainly the high repufcation of our gallant and experienced did uot supei from havins; in his corps Kearney's non. When "the división joined Popes ( irmy, he bent bis whqlo bead and heart to aid tbat General in checking the ( i'ance of a vastly superior enemy, and ( soine of U3 tliitik that Pope did tiearly j all that oould have been expccted of bis imall army. Cortainly Kearney and bis j :' íhrhting división," as he fondly ternied . it, were not uNdislinguished. On Friday, at Buil Kun, holding the rigbt this división drove the enemy from its position witb heavy slaughter, lea ving one thousand of its own dead aud wounded, and bolding its position all night and ncxt day. Durmg tho retreat and disgraceful oonduct of soino other truops, tbre división under Kearney remained in' the field ijntil ten o'clook at night, with the enemy n roar, frdiit and on the rigbt, and then retired in good order. Chantilly wound up tho glorious bistory of this división, and saved a long tra:n of artillery, ordnanee and woundcd from being intercepted and tho army from beiqg pieroe4 and ceparated. The extract which you send me siiys : " He did get with Pope, and Pope led his fighting di visión to defeat and himself to dsath." Kearuey's división has, fortunately for its fame, never been dofeated. At Williamsburg, Pair üaks, Glendale, Buil Run and Chantilly this diyision hpld the position8 assigned to it, repulsed the my, and gave Kearney greener laurols tiran bad ever graocd his brow, Notwithstanding "fiia caprice and impetuosity of charaeter, the división loved urn ; aud now that he slumbers in thg grave, we have a feeling of indignation agajnst the ghoul that has exposed his boues to insult and reproach.. " Pleet foot in the corrió, Sage counsel in cumber, Red hand in the foray, How sound is the slumber ! J.ike the dew or, the mountain, Like the foara on the river, Like the bubble on the fouutain, Tliou art gone and furever ! " Gen. MoClellan, who knew him well, had often smiled at his hasty, irapatient speeches, and reproaches of himself ; for, at the saine thn, he knew that in neij,!;or of hia mauy gallant Generáis nould ho repose deaper trust, and none exculled Kearney in anxie ty to carry out the plans of his campaign. You must excuse my long letter, but I feel deeply the I reproaehes heaped upoa my friend, and thought that perhap8 my words might change the feeling of disappoiutment n ïny owu frienda on readïnj liis severe, nioody letter. No General in tha field was so reauy to tase counsel from júniora or seniora ; none more strictly and promptly obeyed orders. He wvs entirely fi'oe .from "jealousy" or " inordir.ate self-conceit," and was ever ready to atone for tlie resulta of' hia impulsiy.ö conduct. He had a rernnrkable menjury, groat desire to do justice to all of his command, and remembered every gallant act of oaoh soldier. My brigade will alvvays remember Phil. Kearney, and free criticigm of his conduct could not be made with safety before any member of it - His pre8ence on the mareh ahyays drew fortli their oheer8, and on the battle-field their pride, courage and chivalry. I have many of his letters, giving fu!l sredit to üenerals Heia'tzelman and MeClelhin, I am proud of liis fricndI ship, and of having couimarided a brigade in his división, and truat tbat his confideuce will be rcspeeted, at least nntil this war is over, and liis entire couduct and correspondenee eau be giyen, Yours, respeetfully,


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