MAJ Peter Keenan

MAJ Peter Keenan

Birth
York, Livingston County, New York, USA
Death 2 May 1863 (aged 28)
Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania County, Virginia, USA
Burial Scio, Allegany County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 62934044 · View Source
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In the Catholic cemetery in Scio rests all that is mortal of one of the bravest heroes of our civil war, one whose name stands side by side with Cushing, Winthrop, Lyon and the brilliant coterie of immortals whose deeds have made them deathless. Major Peter Keenan, a resident of this county from 1851 to 1858, educated at Wellsville, and Wilson Academy, Angelica, in 1861 was a business man in Philadelphia, and raised the 8th Penn. cavalry, the first regiment of volunteers to arrive at the scene of war. In all the bloody battles of the Army of the Potomac he bore conspicuous part, and rose from captain to major by his merit and gallantry. At the battle of Chancellorsville, at the sacrifice of his own life and the lives of most of his regiment, he checked the supposed invincible legions of Stonewall Jackson, and averted the stampede and destruction that threatened General Hooker's army. At twilight of May 2, 1863, Jackson's division of the Confederate army fell upon the 11th corps (Gen. O. O. Howard's), the right wing of the Union army, and drove it back with such fury that cannon, caissons, cannoniers and infantry, in mingled confusion, covered a mile of the road to Chancellorsville. Gen. Hooker ordered Gen. Pleasanton to do something to stay the conquering rebels, and Major Keenan was ordered to lead his regiment to support the flying corps. With unflinching courage he charged the Confederates and held them in check some minutes, long enough, before the regiment was annihilated, to allow the Union artillery to be placed in position and repulse the enemy. Major Keenan was shot while charging in advance of his troops. He fell upon the very bayonets of the enemy. In his death agony he tried to remount his horse but was quickly killed. His mangled body was brought from inside the enemy's lines at night. One historian says: “ In the pages of history there is not recorded a more gallant or heroic charge. It was a charge against fearful odds; a charge of 400 against 40,000; a charge of a regiment against an army; a charge made in the face of inevitable death, at the crucial moment of a great battle, to save the Union army from panic, disaster and destruction.

From the Google book "Allegany County and it People: A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, New York" by John Stearns Minard, Georgia Drew Merrill, W.A. Fergusson & Company, 1896

Contributed by Grand Army of the Republic 47370485

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  • Created by: KChaffeeB
  • Added: 14 Dec 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 62934044
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for MAJ Peter Keenan (9 Nov 1834–2 May 1863), Find A Grave Memorial no. 62934044, citing Saint Joseph's Cemetery, Scio, Allegany County, New York, USA ; Maintained by KChaffeeB (contributor 46506715) .