According to Life Stories of Civil War Heroes, New York native "Philip Kearny was a flamboyant adventurer and soldier who most notably fought for the United States of America in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars. During his brilliant military career he proved himself honorable, chivalrous, and compassionate towards his men, with a joie de vivre that inspired his troops in battle. Kearny's courage earned him the respect of his soldiers and fellow officers alike, the greatest of which came from General-in-Chief Winfield Scott who called him 'the bravest and most perfect soldier' he had ever known."

The "bravest and most perfect soldier" met a less-than-perfect end on September 1, 1862, at the Battle of Chantilly when, against all advice, he rode out to check an unguarded gap in his lines. Accosted by waiting Confederates who demanded his surrender, Kearny refused and was shot in the backside as he galloped away.

Although his prowess in battle was impressive enough to guarantee him a place in American military history, Kearny is also remembered as the originator of the corps badge. So that he could more easily identify his troops in the field, Kearny ordered the men in his Third Corps to sew diamond-shaped pieces of red flannel onto their caps. The scheme quickly found favor with other corps in the Army of the Potomac and is still used in today's army.

Thanks to John C. Clarke (Chaplain, Haskell-Marston Camp #56, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Yarmouth, Maine, and 3rd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regimental Field Music) for transcribing "Dirge for a Soldier" from The Civil War in Song and Story, 1860-1865 by Frank Moore (New York: Peter Fenelon Collier, 1892, p. 143).

"Dirge for a Soldier" || "Kearny at Seven Pines"