Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KENLY, John Reese, soldier, born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1822. He was educated in the private schools of his native city, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1845. He joined the " Eagle artillery" of Baltimore, rose to the rank of lieutenant, and at the beginning of the Mexican war raised a company of volunteers. Captain Kenly took part in the battles that preceded the fall of Monterey, and when Colonel William H. Watson fell during that engagement he rallied and reformed the battalion. He returned to Baltimore on the expiration of his term of enlistment, but at once received a commission as major and returned to active service. After the war the general assembly of Maryland voted him the thanks of the state for gallantry in the field. He continued the practice of his profession until the beginning of the civil war, when he was commissioned colonel, 11 June, 1861, and given the command of the 1st Maryland regiment. In May, 1862, being stationed at Front Royal, he aided in checking the Confederate advance, and in saving the force under General Banks from capture. In this action Colonel Kenly was severely wounded and taken prisoner, but was exchanged on 15 August, and for his services at Front Royal was made brigadier-general on 22 August 1862. He was assigned to the command ' all the troops in Baltimore outside the forts, joined McClellan after the battle of Antietam, and rendered efficient service at Hagerstown and Harper's Ferry. In 1863 General Kenly led the Maryland brigade at the recapture of Maryland Heights, Harper's Ferry, and from that date until the close of the war he held various brigade commands in the 1st and 8th army corps. He was brevetted major-general of volunteers on 13 March, 1865, and after he was mustered out the general assembly of Maryland again passed a vote of thanks to him, and the corporation of Baltimore presented him with a sword. Since the close of the war General Kenly has devoted himself to his profession and to literature. He has written "Memoirs of a Maryland Volunteer," in the Mexican war (Philadelphia, 1873).
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