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Sat, 01 Jul



Phil Kearny - the Perfect Soldier?

Phil Kearny was arguably America's most experienced soldier in 1861, with a career spanning two decades and three continents. But he struggled to get a commission in the US Army, and contemporaries and historians differ on his capabilities. Ryan Diamond examines his career and his reputation.

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Phil Kearny - the Perfect Soldier?
Phil Kearny - the Perfect Soldier?

Time & Location

01 Jul 2023, 13:00 – 16:00 BST

London, Civil Service Club, Great Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2HJ, UK

About the Event

Philip Kearny entered Union service in 1861 as perhaps the most experienced officer on either side at the outbreak of the conflict. His career, prior to the Civil War, had been incredibly varied. He had served on the western frontier with the 1st US Dragoons; he had studied at the French Cavalry School at Samur and joined the Chasseurs d’Afrique on campaign in Algiers; he had been an aide-de-camp, first to Alexander McComb and then Winfield Scott; he had seen extensive service with the 1st Dragoons in Scott’s Mexican campaign; he would serve in the Pacific North West in the Rogue River campaign; and, as a private citizen, he would volunteer and serve as a staff officer in the French Imperial Guard Cavalry during the Franco-Austrian War.

Why then, with all that experience, did Kearny initially struggle to obtain a commission in the Union Army? How did his breath of experience, of differing scales of warfare on three continents, affect his approach to command in the Civil War? How did Kearny manage to leave his mark on the Union Army after his death? Above all was he the “bravest man and most perfect soldier” as Winfield Scott thought or a commander limited by his “inflexible arrogance and... irresponsible recklessness” as Stephen W. Sears has concluded. Ryan Diamond will discuss all these questions and more…

About the Speaker

Ryan Diamond is a litigator and Northern Irishman currently exiled to Enfield in North London. A lifelong student of military history, his first love has always been the American Civil War. His special area of interest is the early war with a particular focus on the Peninsula Campaign. Aside from the American Civil War Round Table UK, Ryan is also a member of the Victorian Military Society, the Society for Army Historical Research, and the Napoleonic and Revolutionary War Graves Charity.

Discounted tickets are available to Full Time Students, please contact us for further details.



    This ticket is for people attending the meeting in person at the Civil Service club. Space is limited, so while we will admit 'walk-ins' if possible, anyone not purchasing a ticket in advance may be turned away if the venue is full. Tea, coffee and biscuits are included. Also includes access to the CSC bar before and after the event. A 50% refund will be given on the day to Full Time Students on presentation of a Student Card.

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    This is a hybrid physical and online event (via Zoom). A small fee is charged for online access to hybrid events to cover costs. Zoom attendees cannot participate in the raffle. The online link will be sent to you on your email receipt. FullTime Students are eligible to attend free by Zoom - please contact us for a discount code

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    We welcome voluntary donations to enable us to continue our education and conservation projects on both sides of the Atlantic.

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