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John Reese Kenly (January 11, 1818 – December 20, 1891) was an American lawyer, and a Union Army general in the American Civil War.

John Reese Kenly
John Reese Kenly Postbellum.png
Born(1818-01-11)January 11, 1818
Baltimore, Maryland
DiedDecember 20, 1891(1891-12-20) (aged 73)
Baltimore, Maryland
Place of burial
Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Union Army
Years of service1846–1848, 1861–1865
RankUnion Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brigadier General
Union Army major general rank insignia.svg Brevet Major General
Commands held1st Maryland Infantry Regiment
3rd Division, I Corps
3rd Brigade, Middle Department
Battles/warsMexican–American War
American Civil War
Other workLawyer



Brig. Gen. John Reese Kenly during the American Civil War.

Kenly was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1845, but went to the Mexican–American War as a lieutenant with a company of volunteers he had raised and was later promoted to the rank of major.

As a captain he led a company in the Baltimore-Washington Battalion and wrote a book about his experiences, Memoirs of a Maryland Volunteer.[1] The battalion was part of the division of David E. Twiggs's 1st Division.[2] During the Battle of Monterrey on September 21–24, 1846, Kenly's battalion was involved in heavy fighting and Colonel William H. Watson was killed.[3]

He entered the American Civil War as colonel of the 1st Regiment Maryland Volunteer Infantry organized at Baltimore, Maryland, which was mustered into Union service on May 16, 1861. Together with some Pennsylvania companies, it was captured by Stonewall Jackson, after hard fighting, at Front Royal on the Shenandoah, May 23, 1862. Kenly himself was severely wounded when he was taken prisoner, but his stand had saved General Banks's division at Winchester, and he was raised to the command of a brigade in 1862, which he led at Hagerstown, Harpers Ferry, and elsewhere.

Kenly joined the Army of the Potomac after the Battle of Gettysburg and was assigned to I Corps during the Bristoe Campaign and the Battle of Mine Run, commanding the third division of the corps. Afterward, he was assigned to the Middle Department, commanding the Third Separate Brigade in 1864.

Kenly died in Baltimore, Maryland, and is buried there in Green Mount Cemetery.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Eisenhower 1989, pp. 117–118.
  2. ^ Eisenhower 1989, p. 123.
  3. ^ Eisenhower 1989, pp. 133–142.


  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Eisenhower, John (1989). So Far From God: The U.S. War with Mexico 1846–1848. New York, N.Y.: Random House. ISBN 0-394-56051-5.
  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.