Letter From Captain Kearney.
Jan. 27, 1902.
DEAR REGISTER– While you are always a welcome visitor at our home, you often bring me sadness. I was very sorry to hear of the death of comrade J. W. McCleary, who was one of my gallant boys. A better soldier or a braver boy I never met– ready at all times to do his duty. I remember when the company was forming, he was always among the first to fall in. I have heard him say “I like to be in the first file of the four.” IN the fight at Brandy Station, the largest cavalry fight during the war, where old Company D won her laurels, but paid dear for it, having lost sixteen men killed and wounded and captured– Mac, as I always called him, was at his post cheering on the men.
I was at Col. A. W. Hammond’s tent when an order was received from Gen. Rosser for ten intelligent, reliable men, Turning to me, the Colonel said, “Captain, detail McCleary. I know you dislike losing him from your company, but he is the kind of man the General needs.” At the second battle of Bull Run old Company D took a very active part. We met the first Michigan Cavalry, commanded by Col. Broadhead. The Colonel was in the act of shooting Andrew Higgins when his brother Ovin saw him. Ovin shot the colonel and mortally wounded him, taking his arms, which was only a very fine silver mounted pistol. A few days after the fight Mac heard some of the officers making inquiry about the Colonel’s arms, and came to the company. I saw him going around among the men trying to raise the money to buy the pistol. He succeeded in raising fifty dollars, which he paid to Ovin Higgins and presented me with the pistol in the name of the company. Col. Broadhead died at the Lee house. I still have the pistol and prize it above all my war relics.
Major Knott, Capt. Jake Engle, Lieut. G. Engle, Lieut. Sam Engle, Capt. Picket and Capt. Grandstaff, all have passed over the river, all of my old regiment. May we all be ready when the roll is called over there.
With kind regards,
H. W. KEARNEY
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