Near Fairfax in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Death of General Kearny
★ The Battle of Ox Hill ★
As a rainy darkness enveloped the battlefield, Major General Philip Kearny rode eastward to investigate the reported gap in the Union line. Reigning up in the pasture, Kearny became alarmed that Stevens’ division had abandoned that part of the field after being repulsed.
Finding remnants of the 21st Massachusetts, Kearny immediately ordered them into the cornfield to protect Birney’s flank. They protested that their ammunition was wet and the cornfield was full of rebels. Kearny vehemently disagreed. Under threats and denouncements, the regiment advanced as ordered but soon halted under fire after capturing two skirmishers from the 49th Georgia.
Incensed at this delay, Kearny prodded the regiment forward, saying they were firing on their own men and that no rebels were in the cornfield. When shown the two captives, Kearny responded impetuously, “Damn you and your prisoners!” Putting spurs to his horse, he galloped forward in the rain to reconnoiter. Entirely alone and wearing an India rubber cloak over his uniform, the one-armed general rode into the cornfield. Within 60 yards he encountered the line of the 49th Georgia.
In an instant there were cries of “That’s a Yankee officer!” “Surrender!” “Halt!” “Shoot him!” Kearny threw himself forward and dug in his spurs, but a dozen muskets flashed in the growing darkness. Kearny was shot from his horse and died instantly in the muddy cornfield.
Erected 2008 by Fairfax County Park Authority.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Location. 38° 51.892′ N, 77° 22.256′ W. Marker is near Fairfax, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker can be reached from West Ox Road (Virginia Route 608). Located at the fourth trail stop wayside at the Ox Hill Battlefield Park Interpretive Trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4134 West Ox Road, Fairfax VA 22033, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Attack of General Birney’s Brigade (a few steps from this marker); The Battle of "Chantilly" (Ox Hill) — Then & Now (a few steps from this marker); The Attack and Death of General Stevens (within shouting distance of this marker); Maryland (Antietam / Sharpsburg) Campaign (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Ox Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); a different The Battle of Ox Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); Boulders and Quartz Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); Major General Philip Kearny (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fairfax.
More about this marker. On the upper right of the marker is a portrait captioned, Gen. Philip Kearny, USA Photograph taken at Washington, DC, March 1862. On the lower left of the marker are a drawing and a painting captioned, Death of General Philip Kearny, September 1, 1862. From The Century Magazine, ca. 1880s. and The next morning, General Robert E. Lee sent Kearny's body to the Union lines under a flag of truce. The Death of General Kearny, Painting by Julian Scott, 1884. On the right side of the marker is a battle map.
Also see . . .
1. Kearny's Death. From “A Last Salute” (Submitted on January 10, 2009.)
2. The Battle of Chantilly. Civil War Preservation Trust (Submitted on January 10, 2009.)
3. Philip Kearny's Pages. (Submitted on January 10, 2009.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 10, 2009. This page has been viewed 1,302 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on January 10, 2009. 2. submitted on April 19, 2014, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 3, 4. submitted on January 10, 2009. 5. submitted on August 16, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 6. submitted on January 10, 2009. 7. submitted on February 17, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.