Hugh Judson Kilpatrick

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hugh Judson Kilpatrick

Hugh Judson Kilpatrick (born January 14, 1836 in Wantage Township , Sussex County , New Jersey , † December 4, 1881 in Santiago de Chile ) was a general in the United States Army in the Civil War and a US diplomat and politician.


Kilpatrick was the fourth child of Colonel Simon Kilpatrick and Julia Wickham; he was born in January 1836 on the family farm near Deckertown . At the age of 20 he was appointed to the US Military Academy West Point , which he graduated in 1861, shortly after the start of the Civil War. Kilpatrick was made an officer in the 1st US Artillery Regiment and promoted to lieutenant. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to captain in the 5th New York Infantry Regiment. On June 10, 1861, he was wounded in action at Big Bethel as the first US officer in the war. On September 25, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the 2nd New York Cavalry Regiment, and he was to remain loyal to the cavalry through the war. In August 1862 he attacked the Virginia Central Railroad and also fought in the second battle at Bull Run . In December Kilpatrick was promoted to colonel, and when the Potomac Army's Cavalry Corps was created in 1863, he was given a brigade that came as far as just outside Richmond in May during Stoneman's attack .

Kilpatrick also fought in the Battle of Brandy Station , the greatest equestrian battle of the war, was promoted to Brigadier General of the Volunteers on June 14, 1863 , and was given divisional command shortly before the Battle of Gettysburg . On the third day of the battle he was ordered to carry out a cavalry attack against the right flank of the Confederation, against which his subordinate Brigade Commander Elon John Farnsworth protested vehemently. The attack was carried out anyway, and Farnsworth fell. Kilpatrick pursued Robert Edward Lee on his evasion to Virginia and carried out a successful attack on two Confederate gunboats on the Rappahannock in the fall of 1863 .

In the spring of 1864, Kilpatrick and Colonel Ulric Dahlgren carried out an attack on Richmond, the aim of which was to free prisoners of war from Richmond's Libby Prison and Belle Isle. The attack failed and Dahlgren fell. After this fiasco Kilpatrick, now known as the Kill Cavalry for his daring and his successes , which he had bought with great losses , left the Potomac Army and took over a cavalry division in the Cumberland Army . With this command Kilpatrick took part in the Atlanta campaign , in which he successfully attacked the Confederate supply lines.

After the fall of Atlanta, Kilpatrick continued to serve under Sherman on his march to sea and during the Carolina campaign. Although he shone through successes and dashing attacks, he was also plundered and pillaged and thus had a large share in the bad reputation that Sherman's army, and thus Sherman himself, earned in the southern states. With effect from January 12, 1865 he was promoted to Major General of the Volunteers, and on June 19, 1865 he was promoted to full rank.

After the war, Kilpatrick was appointed United States Ambassador to Chile . After three years he was recalled in 1868 and began a political career with the Republicans . His candidacy for the US Congress in 1880 failed; in March 1881 he was reappointed Ambassador to Chile by President James A. Garfield and died of kidney disease shortly after his arrival in Santiago.


Well-known descendants are Gloria Laura Vanderbilt and her son, the television journalist Anderson Cooper .


  • Samuel J. Martin: Kill Cavalry. The Life of Union General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg PA 2000, ISBN 0-585-27237-9 .

Web links

Commons : Hugh Judson Kilpatrick  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. (Eng.)