Lot 81: This officer's remarkable obscurity is exceeded only by his remarkable life. He is arguably one of the greatest, if not the greatest hero of the Civil War. George Boutwell called him "the bravest man in the army." The North's number one general Winfield Scott called him "the bravest and most perfect soldier he had ever known." The French dubbed him "Kearny Ie magnifique." Southern soldiers called him "the one-armed devil" Brigadier General Franklin Pierce (later the President) held him down while his arm was amputated following a cavalry charge at Churubusco. A few words could not possibly do him justice as one of the several books devoted to his heroics might. Here's an unbelievable ALS from Paris to "My dear Chase"(possibly Salmon Chase, Lincoln's secretary of the Treasury) regarding the sensational scandal over Kearny's affair with Agnes Maxwell in which Kearny writes to Chase in Part: " ... it came with no remarks from Catherine Anderson, a former mistress whom I suspect of having some old (stolen) letters of Miss M--- .... first publication having been stopped ... I now fear but it will be copied by Salignan's (French magazine) ... How can that be guarded against ... can you do anything (saying that indictments have been ordered out at home) ... only be guarded ... Do that which is most discreet & let me know." A remarkable piece of history that deserves more research.
Oak Auctions' Rare Autograph and Manuscript Auction
Thursday, 19th November 2015
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