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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KEENAN, Peter, soldier, born in York, Livingston County, New York, 9 November, 1834; died at Chancellorsville, Virginia, 2 May, 1863. He was the son of poor Irish parents, but was adopted into a wealthy family. He was a resident of Philadelphia when the war began, and in the summer of 1861 went to Williamsport, and assisted in recruiting the 8th Pennsylvania cavalry, in which he was made a captain, 19 August He was many times sent out as a scout. At Chancellorsville, where he was in command of his regiment, holding the rank of major, he was ordered by General Alfred Pleasonton, after the rout of the 11th corps on the right wing, to charge the advancing enemy in a wood, and hold them in check until the artillery could be got into position. He charged with his regiment, which numbered fewer than 500 men, so impetuously that the Confederates were startled, and hesitated to advance from the wood, until the guns were ready to rake the column as it emerged. Keena, n met an inevitable death at the head of his men, many of whom fell with him, but the sacrifice enabled General Pleasonton to hold Stonewall Jackson's corps in cheek and save the army from rout.
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