Soldier honors his ancestor for 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek
Captain Roger O’Donoghue III, from B Company, 450th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) made the donation in honor of his great-great-grandfather, Captain Thomas B. Kennedy, 6th Vermont Volunteers. Captain Kennedy is prominently displayed in the Julian Scott painting (he is the wounded officer in the center of the painting being carried off the battlefield by two Union soldiers).
Captain Kennedy was a first generation Irish American who served three and a half years in the Civil War. He originally enlisted as a private and ultimately reached the rank of captain by the end of the war. The wound he suffered during the Battle of Cedar Creek was to the upper leg and eventually resulted in his honorable discharge from the military in April 1865. The minie-ball remained in his leg throughout the rest of his life. Captain Kennedy married after the war at the age of 29 and despite his injury he had nine children. His great-great-grandson, Captain O’Donoghue, is a U.S. Army Reserve Officer native to Frederick, Maryland. He has served two combat tours to Afghanistan and one overseas tour with U.S. Army Africa.
“This painting is both a wonderful work of art and also an important historic piece,” said Eric Campbell, the park’s Chief of Interpretation. “Julian Scott interviewed numerous participants of the battle, including Captain Kennedy, to insure the painting’s accuracy.” Campbell also feels that “this donation proves the strong connection and relevance of the Battle of Cedar Creek to the descendants of the soldiers who served here 150 years ago. It will certainly be viewed and enjoyed by the visiting public for years to come.”
The Union victory at the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864 ended the threat the Confederate army posed to Washington, D.C. through the Shenandoah Valley and also greatly assisted President Lincoln’s bid to win re-election to a second term just three weeks later.
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and its partners will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek from October 17-20, 2014. For more information view their website, www.nps.gov/cebe or by call (540) 869-3051.