149: 156th NY Civil War Field Desk of Charles W. Kenned
24" x 13" x 20" painted pine desk. Exterior with initials C.W.K. offset in a wood escutcheon. Brass exterior lockplate, but void of key. Four mahogany wood drawers inside complete with original brass furniture, plus several compartments. Inside steel lockplate stamped C. Kennedy. Interior of drop down lid covered with green felt. Top drawer with primative circular interlocking patterns. 50lb.
Son of a prominent Irish-born government official, Charles Washington Kennedy (1833-1914)graduated from Trinity College, Dublin before coming to the United States and settling in New York state as a clerk in the Old Staten Island Dyeing Company. With the war entering its second year Kennedy enlisted in Company F., 156th NY in August 1862 and was quickly promoted to 2nd lieutenant in Janaury 1863. Lieutenant Kennedy was wounded on June 14, 1863 during the second grand assault on Port Hudson--leading a "Forlorn Hope"--that was repulsed at the terrible cost of nearly 1,800 Federal casualties versus less than 50 for the Confederate defenders. In September 1863 Kennedy was promoted to 1st lieutenant and transferred to Company A. Captain Kennedy took command of Company I. in March 1864 and participated in the ill-fated Red River Campaign in which the regiment played a minor role.
The 19th Corps transferred back to the eastern theater in July 1864 and the 156th NY saw non-stop action in the Shenandoah Valley against Jubal Early’s army. Casualties at the battle of Opequan amounted to 20 killed and 91 wounded while Colonel Sharp, commanding the brigade, was brevetted with a star for “gallantry.” The 156th then fought at Winchester, Fisher’s Hill, and Cedar Creek where the regiment lost 92 men in the chaos of the see-saw battle. During the morning fighting on October 19th the entire color guard was shot down and Captain Alfred Cooley “saved the regimental flag from capture by stripping the colors from the staff and bringing them safely off the field.” The regiment ended the war in the North Carolina temporarily attached to the 10th Corps. Captain Kennedy had been discharged on June 10, 1865. This portable field desk was used by Captain Kennedy while serving as Brigade Commissary officer during Red River operations and later throughout the Shenandoah Valley Campaign when he acted as AAAG to Colonel Sharp on Brigade Staff.
The Ed Steers Lincolniana & Civil War Collection