Thomas R. Kerr

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Thomas R. Kerr
Kerr, Thomas R c1895 public domain.jpg
BornApril 24, 1843
Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland
DiedNovember 14, 1926(1926-11-14) (aged 83)
Buried
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1861-1863).svg  United States of America
Service/branchFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Years of service1862–1865
Rank Captain
Unit Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Company C, 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry
Battles/wars American Civil War
AwardsMedal of Honor ribbon.svg 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.

Contents

Medal of Honor citation

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). [1]

Background

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. [2] Kerr is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia. [3]

Battle

Kerr earned his medal in the Battle of Moorefield on August 7, 1864. [4] 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. [Note 1] 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. [7] 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. [8] A Union soldier that fought in the battle estimated that the "loss to the enemy in killed, wounded and captured was near eight hundred". [9] The loss severely damaged Confederate cavalry in the Shenandoah Valley. [10]

See also

Notes

Footnotes

  1. Two brigades of Confederate cavalry, led by Brigadier General John McCausland, burned the town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, after the town refused to pay a ransom. [5] Over 550 buildings were destroyed and 2,000 people became homeless. [6]

Citations

  1. "The Hall of Valor Project - Thomas R. Kerr". Hall of Valor Military Times Project - Sightline Media Group. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  2. Muster Roll
  3. "Burial Detail: Kerr, Thomas R. (Section 3, Grave 1623)". ANC Explorer. Arlington National Cemetery. (Official website).
  4. "Thomas R. Kerr". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  5. Slease & Gancas 1999, p. 158
  6. "McCausland and the Burning of Chambersburg". National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  7. Slease & Gancas 1999 , p. 161
  8. Ainsworth & Kirkley 1902 , p. 3
  9. Sutton 2001 , p. 150
  10. "Battle Detail - Moorefield". National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 28 January 2017.

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References