Kearny—‘how we saw his blade brighten’ In Brigadier-General Philip Kearny, Stedman selected as the hero of his poem one of the most dashing veteran soldiers in the Civil War. He had entered the army in 1838, at the age of twenty-two, but soon went to France to study cavalry methods. After several months in the school at Saumur he entered the French service and fought with conspicuous gallantry along with veterans of Napoleon in the Arab war against Abd-el-Kader that won Algeria to France. In the American-Mexican War, at the close of the battle of Churubusco, he made a charge into Mexico City, during which he received a wound that necessitated the amputation of an arm. His love of fighting led him across the Atlantic in 1859 to take part in the Italian War against the Austrians. His bravery at Magenta and elsewhere won him the cross of the Legion of Honor. At the outbreak of the Civil War he returned—to his death.
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