Thomas Leiper Kane

Thomas Leiper Kane, descended from a progenitor who had been a British loyalist during the Revolution, was born in Philadelphia on January 27, 1822. He was educated there and abroad, spending some years in Paris. Upon his return to the United States he studied law under the tutelage of his father, John K. Kane, who was a Federal judge for the eastern district of Pennsylvania, subsequently becoming a U. S. commissioner. In this capacity, the younger Kane, a confirmed abolitionist, fell afoul of the elder, who was strictly enforcing the Fugitive Slave Law, and was committed to jail for contempt. After serving as an active agent of the Underground Railroad, he associated himself with the Mormons, accompanied them in their wanderings, and in 1858 convinced Brigham Young that resistance to the U. S. Army would be unwise. Just before the Civil War he founded the village of Kane, Pennsylvania, in the northwestern part of the state, and here in 1861 he recruited the famous "Bucktails" from the local woodsmen and hunters. This regiment was named officially the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves but also was known as the First Pennsylvania Rifles and as the 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteers. As its lieutenant colonel, Kane took part in the affair at Dranesville, Virginia, December 20, 1861, under the command of General Edward O. C. Ord, and was slightly wounded. On June 6, 1862, while in John C. Fremont's army opposing Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah, Kane was wounded and captured by the Confederates near Harrisonburg. On September 7 he was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers, and a few days after Sharpsburg was ordered to duty in the XII Corps. He commanded a brigade of Williams' division at Chancellorsville, where he fell ill of pneumonia. Supposedly rising from a hospital bed in Baltimore, he reached the battlefield of Gettysburg and resumed command of his brigade on the morning of July 2. Although the command was not heavily engaged in repelling the attack of Edward Johnson's Confederate division during the early morning hours of July 3, Kane was brevetted major general in 1865 for his services at the battle. Kane was compelled by reasons of health to resign from the army in November, 1863, after which he lived in Kane and in Philadelphia. He was the first president of the state board of charities, a director of a number of business enterprises, and the author of three privately printed books. He died in Philadelphia, December 26, 1883, and was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.