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Gen John Herbert Kelly

Gen John Herbert Kelly

Birth
Carrollton, Pickens County, Alabama, USA
Death 4 Sep 1864 (aged 23)
Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee, USA
Burial Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA
Memorial ID 11005 · View Source
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Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. Adversity entered into this Carrollton, Alabama native’s life early with the loss of both parents. Orphaned before the age of 7 years old, he came under the nurture and guidance of a grandmother, Mrs. J. R. Hawthorn. Influential and persuasive relatives secured him a cadetship at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. At the age of 17, he entered the military institute as a member of the Class of 1861 on July 1, 1857 and would become associated with fellow plebes by the names of Judson Kilpatrick, John Pelham, Emory Upton and George Armstrong Custer. The secession crisis of late 1860 canceled his plans to join his fellow cadets in the approaching graduation ceremonies. In accord with the state of South Carolina seceding from the United States, he tendered his resignation from the academy on December 29, 1860 and offered his services to the new Confederacy. Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of artillery in the Confederate Army, he was subsequently promoted to Captain on October 5, 1861 and was assigned the responsibilities of Assistant Adjutant General on the staff of General William Joseph Hardee. He was commissioned a Major on September 23, 1861 with the organization of the 14th Arkansas Infantry at Pocahontas, Arkansas. He entered the April, 1862 battle of Shiloh at the helm of the 9th Arkansas Infantry and would boldly lead the regiment forward through an enfilade fire to capture a Union battery. For his gallantry, he was decorated with a promotion to Colonel on May 5, 1862 and was placed in command of the 8th Arkansas Infantry. He led the 8th Arkansas through the campaigns of Perryville, Kentucky and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he received a wound to his arm. At the September, 1863 Battle of Chickamauga, he was a direct subordinate to Brigadier General William Preston who later recorded in his official report that "During the struggle for the heights, Colonel Kelly had his horse shot under him, and displayed great courage and skill." Thereafter, his superiors successfully pressed for his promotion to Brigadier General. Hence, the November 16, 1863 promotion to Brigadier General in the Confederate States Army made Kelly the youngest officer to attain the rank to date. Assigned a cavalry division in General Joseph Wheeler’s corps, the “Boy General” was leading a September 2, 1864 raid in central Tennessee to disrupt and destroy the communications of federal forces. During an engagement near the town of Franklin, he became the prime target of a Union sharpshooter. Astride his horse, he was toppled by a bullet to his chest and was borne from the field in a blanket. The mortally wounded General was relocated to the Harrison Home where his death occurred presumably on the 4th of September, 1864. Interred on the Harrison’s property, his remains were moved to his native state and re-interred in Mobile, Alabama in 1866.

Bio by: Stonewall


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 16 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11005
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gen John Herbert Kelly (31 Mar 1841–4 Sep 1864), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11005, citing Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .