Battle of Ox Hill
September 2nd, 1862







Prior to this battle, three Union Generals had been killed in battle and three had died of wounds received in battle - all six were of Brigadier rank. The fact that two Major Generals were killed in the same battle is significant. One Major General and six Brigadier Generals were killed at Gettysburg.

While the 49th Georgia with the others of Thomas' Brigade were moving cautiously on the Fairfax turnpike, on the 1st of September, heavy skirmishing on the right discovered the presence of the enemy. Near Chantilly the regiment was deployed into a corn field, and were soon engaged in the battle of Ox Hill, during a severe thunderstorm. This time, as the Federal attackers were strung out before Jackson, Longstreet's artillery opened from the Confederate right. Pope's charge wavered and gave way. The countercharge which followed as the Federal attack faltered turned into a rout reminiscent of the earlier battle on the same ground. The enemy kept up a furious shelling of our line, which continued until long after dark. The opposing forces became engaged in an almost hand to hand fight at this point, during which Major General Kearney of the United States Army was killed by Sergeant McCrimmon, of Company B of this regiment, who succeeded in capturing his horse and accoutrements. The horse was subsequently sent to the family of General Kearney, by order of General Lee. In this engagement the loss was three killed and five wounded. Among the latter was, Major Rivers, who was so severely wounded that amputation of the right foot became necessary, disabling him from further service in the field.

The following account of the shooting of General Kearney has not been verified, neither does Silas Shirey appear in the rosters for the 49th. From: Mitch Faulk faulkmitch77@gmail.com

    Silas Shirey, born 1806 in Washington Co., GA. He moved to Pulaski Co., GA B & was supposedly with the 49th INF REG CO K GA CSA. They were called the "Pulaski Greys". He and son, Isaiah Benjamin Shirey moved to Pulaski Co. by the 1860 Census, however Isaiah stayed with the Washington Co., "Ohoopee Guards", 28th INF REG CO H GA CSA. He died of disease in the 2nd hospital-Richmond, VA-1862. I have yet to find Silas Shirey listed any any GA units so far. However, if you Googled Silas Shirey, born 1806, on the 1st page associated with a website called "Ohoopee Kinfolks", it states that Silas Shirey with the 49th GA INF REG CO K was credited with shooting Fed. Gen. Phillip Kearney at Ox Hill, VA, the "Battle of Chantilly", Sept. 1, 1864. I've read several accounts of the incident with no reference to my ancestor, Silas. It was highly controversial as Gen. Lee served with Gen. Kearney in the Spanish-American War where he lost a arm in battle. Both Lee and Stonewall Jackson were classmates of Kearney at West Point. They both were saddened at the news of his death. Jackson thought the shooting was unnecessary, and stated that Kearney was the finest soldier in the union army. Members of the 49th went to view his body out of respect that evening. It happened that Gen. Kearney saw a hole in the line and charged thru the opening on horseback, one-armed, with reins held with his mouth, as to rally his men. By accident he rode up to the edge of some woods where the 49th GA were. It had been raining, overcast, and getting dark. Kearney asked them who they were and they responded, we're the 49th GA, hearing that he wheeled his horse around and took off. The company commander got a glimpse of his federal uniform and yelled, "Shoot him", whose order was fatally obliged. He next day Gen. Lee sent a senior member of his staff leading an escort to a ambulance carrying Kearney's body under a flag truce thru the enemy line. They delivered his body to a regiment from NY who received it, then the delegation returned safely to their confederate encampment. Silas would have been close to 60 yrs at that time.



This animated map of the battle confirms that General Kearny was killed by someone in Thomas' brigade.





Source: Don't Drink The Water: The Historical Sketch and Roster of the Georgia 49th Infantry Regiment