Thomas R. Kerr
|Born||April 24, 1843|
Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland
|Died||November 14, 1926 83)(aged|
Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1862–1865|
|Unit||Company C, 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Thomas R. Kerr (April 24, 1843 – November 14, 1926) was a soldier in the Union Army in the American Civil War. Kerr received his country's highest award for bravery during combat, the Medal of Honor. Kerr's medal was won for his capturing the flag of the Confederate 8th Virginia Cavalry Regiment at Moorefield in West Virginia on August 7, 1864. He was honored with the award on June 13, 1894.
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Captain (Cavalry) Thomas R. Kerr, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 7 August 1864, while serving with Company C, 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry, in action at Moorefield, West Virginia. After being most desperately wounded, Captain Kerr captured the colors of the 8th Virginia Cavalry (Confederate States of America).
Kerr was born in Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant with the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry in November 1862. He was promoted to captain in May 1864 and resigned in June 1865.Kerr is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia.
Kerr earned his medal in the Battle of Moorefield on August 7, 1864.The battle occurred in a portion of West Virginia that was hostile to the Union during the American Civil War. Kerr led a group of 60 men into a Confederate camp early in the morning. Two Union brigades under the command of Brigadier General William W. Averell followed, and the Union force surprised and routed a larger Confederate cavalry force that had burned the Pennsylvania town of Chambersburg only a few days earlier. Kerr was shot in the face and thigh, and his horse killed—yet he captured the flag of the 8th Virginia Cavalry Regiment and rode away on the color bearer's horse. Averell's small division captured 27 officers and 393 enlisted men, 4 artillery pieces, and 400 horses. The Confederate killed and wounded was unknown. Union losses were 7 killed and 21 wounded. A Union soldier that fought in the battle estimated that the "loss to the enemy in killed, wounded and captured was near eight hundred". The loss severely damaged Confederate cavalry in the Shenandoah Valley.
William Woods Averell was a career United States Army officer and a cavalry general in the American Civil War. He was the only Union general to achieve a major victory against the Confederates in the Valley Campaigns of 1864 prior to the arrival of Philip Sheridan, at the Battle of Rutherford's (Carter's) Farm and at the Battle of Moorefield.
The Battle of Cedar Creek, or Battle of Belle Grove, was fought on October 19, 1864, during the American Civil War. The fighting took place in the Shenandoah Valley of Northern Virginia, near Cedar Creek, Middletown, and the Valley Pike. During the morning, Lieutenant General Jubal Early appeared to have a victory for his Confederate army, as he captured over 1,000 prisoners and over 20 artillery pieces while forcing 7 enemy infantry divisions to fall back. The Union army, led by Major General Philip Sheridan, rallied in late afternoon and drove away Early's men. In addition to recapturing all of their own artillery seized in the morning, Sheridan's forces captured most of Early's artillery and wagons.
The Third Battle of Winchester, also known as the Battle of Opequon or Battle of Opequon Creek, was an American Civil War battle fought near Winchester, Virginia, on September 19, 1864. Union Army Major General Philip Sheridan defeated Confederate Army Lieutenant General Jubal Early in one of the largest, bloodiest, and most important battles in the Shenandoah Valley. Among the 5,000 Union casualties were one general killed and three wounded. The casualty rate for the Confederates was high: about 4,000 of 15,500. Two Confederate generals were killed and four were wounded. Participants in the battle included two future presidents of the United States, two future governors of Virginia, a former vice president of the United States, and a colonel whose grandson, George S. Patton became a famous general in World War II.
The Battle of Cloyd's Mountain was a Union victory in western Virginia on May 9, 1864, that allowed the Union forces to destroy a large bridge on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. The railroad was used to carry Confederate troops and supplies, and served important lead and salt mines. It also helped connect the Confederate capital of Richmond with Tennessee, and had telegraph wires along its line for communications. The fight had a high percentage of casualties for both sides, and the Confederate commander, Brigadier General Albert G. Jenkins, was mortally wounded.
The Second Battle of Kernstown was fought on July 24, 1864, at Kernstown, Virginia, outside Winchester, Virginia, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 in the American Civil War. The Confederate Army of the Valley under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early soundly defeated the Union Army of West Virginia under Brig. Gen. George Crook and drove it from the Shenandoah Valley back over the Potomac River into Maryland. As a result, Early was able to launch the Confederacy's last major raid into northern Union territory, attacking the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Maryland and West Virginia and burning Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in retaliation for the burning of civilian houses and farms earlier in the campaign.
The Valley campaigns of 1864 began as operations initiated by Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant and resulting battles that took place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia during the American Civil War from May to October 1864. Some military historians divide this period into three separate campaigns. This article considers them together, as these campaigns interacted and built upon each other.
The Battle of Moorefield was a cavalry battle in the American Civil War, which took place on August 7, 1864. The fighting occurred along the South Branch of the Potomac River, north of Moorefield, West Virginia, in Hardy County. The National Park Service groups this battle with Early's Washington Raid and operations against the B&O Railroad, and it was the last major battle in the region before General Philip Sheridan took command of Union troops in the Shenandoah Valley. This Union triumph was the third of three major victories for Brigadier General William W. Averell, who performed best when operating on his own.
The Battle of Cove Mountain occurred in Wythe County, Virginia, on May 10, 1864, during the American Civil War. An outnumbered Union cavalry division commanded by Brigadier General William W. Averell was prevented from attacking a lead mine located near Wytheville. Confederate forces commanded by Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan, and a detachment of a brigade of cavalry, belonging to Brigadier General William E. "Grumble" Jones, stopped Averell at Cove Gap, adjacent to Crockett's Cove and Cove Mountain.
John McCausland, Jr. was a brigadier general in the Confederate army, famous for the ransom of Hagerstown, Maryland, and the razing of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War.
The Battle of Droop Mountain occurred in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, on November 6, 1863, during the American Civil War. A Union brigade commanded by Brigadier General William W. Averell defeated a smaller Confederate force commanded by Brigadier General John Echols and Colonel William L. "Mudwall" Jackson. Confederate forces were driven from their breastworks on Droop Mountain, losing weapons and equipment. They escaped southward through Lewisburg, West Virginia; hours before a second Union force commanded by Brigadier General Alfred N. Duffié occupied the town.
The 1st West Virginia Cavalry Regiment served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although it started slowly, it became one of the most active and effective of the West Virginia Civil War regiments—and had 14 Medal of Honor recipients, the most for any West Virginia regiment during the war. It was originally called the 1st Virginia Cavalry, not to be confused with the Confederate 1st Virginia Cavalry. Some reports added "Union," "Loyal" or "West" when identifying this regiment. After the Unionist state of West Virginia was officially admitted to the Union in 1863, the regiment became the 1st West Virginia Cavalry Regiment. The National Park Service identifies it as the 1st Regiment, West Virginia Cavalry.
The 2nd West Virginia Cavalry Regiment served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was organized in Parkersburg, Virginia during September 1861. Most of the original members of this regiment were from southeastern Ohio, and planners thought that this regiment would become the 4th Ohio Cavalry. Their application was rejected by the governor of Ohio, so the unit became the 2nd Regiment of Loyal Virginia Volunteer Cavalry. The "Loyal Virginia" part of the name was replaced with "West Virginia" after the state of West Virginia was officially admitted to the Union in 1863. Today, the National Park Service lists them as 2nd Regiment, West Virginia Cavalry under a heading of Union West Virginia Volunteers.
The 3rd West Virginia Cavalry Regiment was a cavalry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. In 1864, the regiment had an important part in the Battle of Moorefield, where a surprise attack led by General William W. Averell routed Confederate cavalry. The regiment also fought in the latter part of General Philip H. Sheridan's Valley Campaign, and was part of Capehart's Fighting Brigade in General George Armstrong Custer's Third Division. It was present at General Robert E. Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Appomattox Court House.
The following Union Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Opequon in the American Civil War. The Confederate order of battle is listed separately. The battle was fought on September 19, 1864 near Winchester, Virginia, and Opequon Creek. The battle is also known as the Third Battle of Winchester and the Battle of Opequon Creek.
The 45th Virginia Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment raised in the Commonwealth of Virginia for service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. It fought mostly in the mountainous area that today encompasses the border regions of Virginia and West Virginia, and was part of Jubal Early's Army of the Valley during the Valley Campaigns of 1864.
William Henry Powell was an American soldier who fought for the Union in the American Civil War. He was a leader in the iron and nail business before the war, and his leadership abilities proved useful in the military. Powell began as a captain, and quickly ascended to higher roles in the cavalry, including commanding a regiment, a brigade, and then a division. Powell was awarded his country's highest award for bravery during combat, the Medal of Honor, for heroism at Sinking Creek, Virginia, when, as leader of a group of 22 men, he captured an enemy camp and took over 100 prisoners. This was accomplished without the loss of any of his men on November 26, 1862. He was honored with the award on July 22, 1890.
The 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment was a cavalry regiment of the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment was present for 50 battles, beginning with the Battle of Hanover in Pennsylvania on June 30, 1863, and ending with a skirmish at Rude's Hill in Virginia during March 1865. A majority of its fighting was in Virginia, although its first major battle was in Pennsylvania's Gettysburg campaign. It was consolidated with the 22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment on June 24, 1865, to form the 3rd Provisional Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment.
The Battle of White Sulphur Springs, also known as the Battle of Rocky Gap or the Battle of Dry Creek, occurred in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, on August 26 and 27, 1863, during the American Civil War. A Confederate Army force commanded by Colonel George S. Patton defeated a Union brigade commanded by Brigadier General William W. Averell. West Virginia had been a state for only a few months, and its citizens along the state's southern border were divided in loyalty to the Union and Confederate causes. Many of the fighters on both sides were West Virginians, and some were from the counties close to the site of the battle.
The 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment was a cavalry regiment of the Union Army during the American Civil War. Most of its fighting happened in the last half of 1863 and full year 1864. The regiment fought mainly in West Virginia and Virginia, often as part of a brigade or division commanded by Brigadier General William W. Averell and later Brigadier General William Powell.
The following army units were involved in the Battle of Moorefield on August 7, 1864, near Moorefield, West Virginia, in the American Civil War. The Union Army units, and their commanders, are listed first. The Confederate Army units, and their commanders, follow. Three of the Union regiments were organized in West Virginia, and all of the Confederate regiments were organized in either Virginia, or Maryland. Most of the fighting took place within Hardy County. A small Union division commanded by Brigadier General William W. Averell surprised a larger Confederate force commanded by Brigadier General John McCausland and captured over 400 men. McCausland's force had burned the city of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, on July 30.