Family Ties – Kilpatrick Part II

28 04 2008

In this post I told you about some of the noteworthy descendants of the Class of ‘61’s Hugh Judson Kilpatrick.  Continued research at the prompting of friends Jim Morgan and Teej Smith has turned up some more info on the progeny of Kil-Cavalry.  Strap yourself in, things could get a little bumpy…

Of course these forays into family histories need some sort of Civil War background, so let’s start with Kilpatrick’s role as the commander of a cavalry brigade in the Army of the Potomac during the Gettysburg Campaign.  In particular, during the pursuit of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia after the battle, Kilpatrick was involved in a night-time fight in Monterey Pass, on the grounds of the Monterey Inn at Blue Ridge Summit.  You’ll be able to read all about it in One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863, by Eric Wittenberg, J. D. Petruzzi and Mike Nugent.  Now, keep this fight in mind for later.

Judson and his Chilean wife Louisa had a daughter, Laura, who married US diplomat Harry Hays Morgan. Harry Hays Morgan was the son of Philip Hicky Morgan, a Louisianan who remained loyal during the war and was rewarded by the Republicans afterwards with various state and Federal positions including the ministry to Mexico.  Philip was the brother of Sarah Morgan, whose writings were published as The Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman (AKA A Confederate Girl’s Diary), and also of James Morris Morgan, author of Recollections of a Rebel Reefer.  For some reason, Philip is listed as buried here in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Cemetery, though he died in New York and as far as I’ve been able to learn never lived in the Steel City (see update here).  I couldn’t find any images of Philip, but here are Sarah and James:

 

Laura and Harry had four children, including the twins, Gloria and Thelma (at left), Consuelo, and Harry Hays Morgan, Jr.  Harry Jr. was a non-descript film actor in the 1940’s.  Gloria, as discussed, would marry into the Vanderbilt family and give birth to Little Gloria of tight blue jeans fame.  Thelma would eventually marry Marmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness and chairman of a shipping company.  This 7 year marriage gained Thelma the lifelong title of Viscountess Furness, though she was also known as Lady Furness.  She dabbled in film acting and producing, and also in rich men.  More on her later.

Consuelo, like Thelma, also married well and often.  She married a French Count and a president of Colonial Airlines who was also a Democratic National Committee bigwig.  But it is another of her marriages that at least gives a hint as to why Consuelo’s grandfather Morgan wound up in Pittsburgh (again, see update here).

One of Consuelo’s husbands was diplomat Benjamin Thaw, Jr., of the Pittsburgh coal family.  His father, Benjamin Thaw, was a member of the now notorious South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club.  The club was comprised of about fifty super-wealthy Pittsburgh families like the Carnegies, the Mellons, and the Fricks (here’s a member list).  The club purchased an abandoned reservoir in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania on the Little Conemaugh River near the town of South Fork.  The South Fork Dam formed Lake Conemaugh, the centerpiece of the Club’s secretive retreat of cottages.

On May 31, 1889, after days of heavy rain, the South Fork Dam burst, sending an estimated 20 million gallons of water down the Little Conemaugh River to the point where it joined with Stony Creek to form the Conemaugh River.  At that confluence was a steel producing settlement of 30,000; Johnstown, PA.  Over 2,200 people perished.  Many survivors blamed the catastrophe on the changes made to the South Fork Dam by the South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club.  Read about the Johnstown Flood here.

Consuelo’s father-in-law also had a brother by the name of Harry Kendall Thaw (left).  Harry was the black sheep of the family, having attended Western University (the future University of Pittsburgh) and Harvard with little distinction, unless you count his expulsion from the latter institution as noteworthy.  Mentally unstable and a drug abuser, Harry really, really liked women, particularly showgirls – though he treated them very, very badly.  This led to an infatuation with a transplanted Pittsburgher and Broadway chorus girl (and Gibson Girl) named Evelyn Nesbit. 

Harry pursued Evelyn (right), against the protestations of his family.  Evelyn enabled the pursuit, against the advice of her powerful friend and sometimes paramour Stanford White, the famous architect who had designed the second Madison Square Garden.  (As a setting for his lavish libidinous escapades, White had a tower apartment at The Garden which featured numerous mirrors.  He had another “love nest” that showcased a red velvet swing.)  By this time, White had moved on to other conquests but appears to have maintained a fatherly relationship with Evelyn.  Evelyn moved on to the actor John Barrymore and Harry Thaw.  After a stormy continental courtship, Evelyn and Harry were married on April 4, 1905.

Apparently Evelyn’s past physical relationship with White (left) ate at Thaw, and either out of rage over that past or suspicions of an ongoing affair on June 25, 1906, in the rooftop theater of Madison Square Garden, Harry K. Thaw fired three pistol shots into the face of Stanford White, killing him instantly, to the tune of I Could Love a Million Girls.  The typical high profile socialite New York murder trial ensued.  Thaw was committed to an asylum, but was judged sane and set free by 1915.  Read about the murder & trial here and here.  Listen to a PBS American Experience clip here.

The affair has been the subject of Hollywood films such as The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, starring Joan Collins as Evelyn, and Ragtime, which was based on the E. L. Doctorow novel of the same name.  I read that book and also liked the movie, which featured James Cagney in his final film role, the late Howard Rollins in his finest, Elizabeth McGovern (a big crush of mine back then) as Evelyn, and Robert Joy as the insane Thaw, shouting his mantra: I’m Harry K. Thaw, of Pittsburgh!  Even later, Doctorow’s book was the basis for a Broadway musical.

OK, back to the wife of Harry’s nephew.   Consuelo Morgan Thaw and her sister Lady Thelma Furness were, as well as I can figure, living in England when the stock market crashed in 1929.  Another American woman who, like Thelma and Consuelo, married well and often was living there, too.  She was Bessie Warfield, the wife of the half-American shipping magnate Ernest Aldrich Simpson, and through Consuelo she became friends with Thelma.

Also around this time, Lady Thelma had taken up with a happy bachelor by the unlikely name of Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David.  Everybody called him The Prince of Wales, or simply Royal Highness.  Things were going along smoothly enough, and on January 10, 1931 Thelma introduced Bessie Warfield Simpson to her boyfriend, the Prince.  In 1933 Lady Thelma took a trip back to the States, and Bessie, whom everyone called by her middle name, Wallis, swooped in to fill the void in the Prince’s life.  The rest, as they say, is history. 

Prince Edward became King Edward VIII of England in January, 1936, watching his accession ceremony in the company of his married girlfriend, Wallis Simpson.  Edward made known his plans to marry Wallis as soon as her divorce was finalized.  But the British government, headed by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, opposed the union, in part because the position of the Church of England – which one could argue was born to facilitate divorce – opposed remarriage after divorce.  Presented with the prospects of abandoning his love or accepting the resignations of the governments of the United Kingdom and the Dominions, Edward chose Wallis and a third option, abdicating his throne on December 10, 1936.  The two lived out the remainder of their lives as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  Here’s a wonderful Philippe Halsman photo of the Windsors jumping (for joy, I suppose):

One other thing: Bessie Wallis Warfield was born on June 19, 1895 (or 1896), in Square Cottage at Monterey Inn, Blue Ridge Summit, PA (below), the very ground on which Hugh Judson Kilpatrick – the grandfather of the women who led Wallis to the love of her life – had fought a night battle in July, 1863.

en-simpson-birthplace

It’s funny how these things work out.

UPDATE: See Part III here.

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#31 – Col. David Hunter

25 04 2008

Report of Col. David Hunter, Third U. S. Cavalry, Commanding Second Division

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp.382-383

WASHINGTON, August 5, 1861

SIR: Having had the honor to command the Second Division of the Army before Manassas, on the 21st of July, 1861, and having been wounded early in the action, the command, as well as the duty of making the division report, devolved on Col. Andrew Porter, of the U.S. Army. I deem it, however, a duty I owe to the gallant gentlemen of my staff briefly to mention their services:

The Hon. Isaac N. Arnold, of the U.S. House of Representatives, one of my volunteer aides, was with me on the field till I received my wound, and then devoted himself to having the wounded removed and to alleviating their sufferings.

Capt. D. P. Woodbury, chief engineer of the division, fearlessly exposed himself in front of the skirmishers during our whole advance, and determined with great judgment the route of the division.

Capt. William D. Whipple, A. A. G.; Captain Cook, of the Fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, aide-de-camp; Lieutenant Cross, of Engineers, and Lieut. D. W. Flagler, Ordnance, aide-de-camp, all performed their duties to my entire satisfaction. They were absent conveying orders during the short time I was in the field.

My aide, Lieut. Samuel W. Stockton, of the First Cavalry, was with me on the field, and his conduct under a heavy fire was perfectly beautiful.

Dr. Pouch, of Chicago, Ill., a citizen surgeon, accompanied Mr. Arnold to the field, and devoted himself to the care of the wounded during the whole battle.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

D. HUNTER,

Colonel Third Cavalry, Commanding Second Division

Capt. JAMES B. FRY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army





#30 – Lieut. John Edwards

25 04 2008

Report of Lieut. John Edwards, Third U. S. Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp.381-382

FORT ALBANY, VA., July 27, 1861

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report with reference to the part taken by Light Company G, First Artillery, in the late engagement at Bull Run:

At about 5 a.m. on the morning of July 21 I left camp with my battery, consisting of two 20-pounder rifled cannon, and proceeded to the camp of Colonel Richardson. By his order was halted on the road about two hours. At the expiration of that time Colonel Davies, who was accompanied by Colonel Richardson, directed me to follow them with my guns. The general direction of the road taken was south-easterly, and winding through a heavily-timbered country. After a march of a mile, came to an open space on the brow of a range of high hills. This seemed to be a position on the extreme left of the line, and from it there was a good view of the valley of Bull Run and the wooded heights beyond. I was directed to open fire upon a white house in front, partially concealed by trees, and from which a secession flag was flying. The distance was about 2,000 yards. Immediately after the firing of the first shell a flight of men, wagons, and horses took place from that locale. The direction of their flight was up the ridge to the left. Their speed being hastened by other shots, they soon disappeared in the forests.  About a half hour thereafter large bodies of troops debouched from the woods at the same point where those who fled had disappeared. They marched across an open space some three miles from my position, and were then lost to sight in the woods, but the direction of their march could be traced by the dust.

Near the summit of the chain of hills, on the opposite side, a large brick house could be seen by the aid of a glass. Towards this these troops moved. By columns of dust thrown up on the right troops were judged to be approaching this direction also. This house on the summit must have been a central rallying point. I kept up an irregular fire from my guns dropping shell occasionally into the wooded ravines below us and throwing solid shot and shell at columns of dust within range raised by rebel troops. My position being somewhat exposed, and having no adequate support, the battery was temporarily withdrawn to the rear, and subsequently reordered to take the same position. I applied to General Miles to have some lighter guns near me, to throw canister, in case of a demonstration on our flank. Hunt’s battery afterwards came up, and took its position in the same field.

After the retreat of the right and center a strong body of rebel infantry appeared on our flank. I placed my guns in position, and opened on it with canister at a distance of two hundred and fifty yards, and as the force fell back into the ravines beyond continued the fire with shell. The enemy being no longer in sight, Colonel Davies said, “Now we have driven them back, we’ll retire upon Centreville.” I proceeded to the rear with my guns. A regiment was drawn up in the woods by the roadside in such a manner that my battery was forced to pass closely in its front. It was the most dangerous position occupied during the day. One gun was fired over the battery, and there was a simultaneous movement of muskets along the line, as if to continue the fire. Fortunately it was not followed up. I left Centreville at about 9 p.m. and proceeded to the Potomac, reaching Arlington between 8 and 9 a.m. on the 22d. Lieutenants Benjamin and Babbitt performed their several duties with gallantry, coolness, and spirit. The enlisted men, though unpracticed in the drill–the company having been hastily mounted–remained unshaken in the conflict.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. EDWARDS,

First Lieutenant, Third Artillery, Comdg. Lt. Co. G.

Maj. H. J. Hunt,

Fifth Artillery, U. S. Army, Chief of Artillery





Lee’s Real Plan Update

24 04 2008

Gettysburg NMP Ranger Scott Hartwig had this to say about my post from Tuesday and the comments that followed:

I’ll have to let my seminar essay present my argument.  This will be available next year when we publish the seminar proceedings.  I know there are several theories out there but I am quite certain that the July 3 assault struck the Union line exactly where Lee intended it to.

Until next year, then: unless anyone who attended Scott’s presentation wants to weigh in.

I’ll be posting a few ORs next.  Then I’ll have more on the fascinating family ties of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick; some developments concerning the history of the 30 pounder Parrott rifle that opened the First Battle of Bull Run; and hopefully a bit on Cadet John Rodgers Meigs.  The interview with Jake Pierro is on hold.  He’s a little under the weather; I wish him a speedy recovery and hope you will do the same.  Look for a little something about a new book on the Army of Northern Virginia, and also an update on the continuing saga of the naming of the Black Horse Troop (here and here).





Lee’s Real Plan

22 04 2008

In this post over at Civil War Librarian, Rea Redd recapped his weekend at the 12th Annual Gettysburg National Military Park seminar, The Fate of a Nation: The Third Day at Gettysburg.  I found this snippet interesting:

Scott Hartwig: Heroes, Myth and Memory at the High Water Mark

Three major Confederate generals who participated in the assault said in the late 1880’s that Cemetery Hill was the objective.  Zeigler’s Grove was cut down immediately after the battle: John Batchelder [sic] mistook The Copse of Trees which had added ten feet of height in the 20 years since the battle for Zeigler’s Grove.

For anyone who has been following this story since the publication of NPS ranger Troy Harman’s books on Lee’s plan for the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble assault on July 3 (here is the most recent edition), the above synopsis of the comments of the highly respected and far from controversial Scott Hartwig is not insignificant.  Harman’s theory, which challenges the conventional wisdom of the famous Clump (or Copse) of Trees as the focal point of the assault, has been raked over the coals in the Gettysburg cyber-community over the years, with its outnumbered, or at least less discreet, defenders being shouted down like minority members of Parliament, only much more rudely.

If you were present at this seminar, please tell me more!  I’ve toured and corresponded many times with Ranger Hartwig, and if there is anything to this perhaps I can entice him to expand a bit here.

See here for an UPDATE.

My photos of the Copse above, Scott Hartwig below top, and Troy Harman below bottom.





Family Ties – Kilpatrick Part I

21 04 2008

Some of the more intriguing threads I like to pull are the ones that link well known figures by blood or marriage – family ties.  I’ve explored this before in the case of Peyton Manning (establishing that such a link probably doesn’t exist, see here, here and here), and you probably know the story of how a descendant’s relationship to First Bull Run Medal of Honor recipient Adelbert Ames led him to a memorable and often repeated encounter with the 35th President of the United States (if not don’t fret, I’ll talk about it later).  Today let’s take a look at one of Ames’s classmates who had not one, but two descendants who are household names in the US today.

In May, 1861 Hugh Judson Kilpatrick graduated from the US Military Academy 17th out of his class of 45.  Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st US Artillery on May 6, 1861, three days later he accepted a captaincy in the 5th New York Infantry, Duryee’s Zouaves.  He was with that regiment in the expedition to Big Bethel in June, and in the battle there on June 10th he was severely wounded but did not retire from the field until too weak from loss of blood.  Later he organized the 2nd NY Cavalry and by Dec. 1862 had risen to the colonelcy of that regiment.  In June of 1863 he became a brigadier general of volunteers in command of a division of cavalry in the Army of the Potomac.  He was hand-picked by Sherman to lead his cavalry in Georgia and the Carolinas, and ended the war a Major General USV and Brevet Maj. Gen. USA.  After the war he twice served as US envoy to Chile, and he died in that country in 1881, of Bright’s disease at the age of 46.

Today, he serves mainly as a punch-line for Civil War authors working backwards from their conclusions and assumptions regarding his character.

Kilpatrick and his Chilean wife Luisa had a daughter, Laura Delphine, who married an American diplomat named Harry Morgan (no, not that Harry Morgan, though a like-named son would become an actor).  Laura and Harry had a daughter named Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan, who married Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune.  The fruit of that union was Gloria Laura Vanderbilt, the poor little rich girl who became the centerpiece of a bitter custody battle between her widowed mother and the powerful Vanderbilt clan.  Eventually, her name graced the butts of hundreds of thousands of women in the 1970’s and ‘80’s.  Little Gloria Vanderbilt is the great-granddaughter of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick.

Little Gloria’s fourth marriage, to Wyatt Emory Cooper, produced two sons.  Older brother Carter committed suicide in 1988, jumping from the window of the family’s 14th floor apartment before his mother’s eyes.  Kilpatrick’s other great-great-grandson, Anderson, pursued a career in journalism, and today has his own news program on CNN.  See the resemblance?

 

By the way, another CNN talking head is named Campbell Brown.  She gets her first name from her mother’s side and her last from her father’s.  So it seems she’s not related to the stepson of Richard S. Ewell, a Confederate brigade commander at First Bull Run.  That Campbell Brown wrote a Century Magazine article on his step-dad at Bull Run that can be found in Volume I of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, and also published The First Manassas: Correspondence between Generals R. S. Ewell and G. T. Beauregard in further defense of Ewell in the face of Beauregard’s unfairly critical recollections.  This book is a collection of his Civil War related writings.

See Part II here.

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Medals of Honor Page

20 04 2008

I have a new page up on the right, Medals of Honor.  Right now it lists the names and units of the 13 soldiers awarded the medal for their actions at First Bull Run and Blackburn’s Ford.  Eventually I’ll post entries detailing those actions and will link to them on this new page.








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