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Old South Military Antiques

Captain John W. Kerr 5th Texas
Item #: OS-7949

The front of this color Carte De Visite, or CDV is signed "Capt. Jno. W Kerr a.a genl Texas Brig. By comparing the signature on the CDV with the signatures found on Captain Kerr’s wartime requisition forms it is obvious that Captain Kerr signed this himself.

John William Kerr was born at Woodbine, in Greensville County, Virginia on April 3rd, 1839. The newly minted officer graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1859. He was in Texas when the War started; I assume that he was down there in the U.S. Army, but don’t know for certain. Regardless, rather than return to Virginia by himself, he came with the famed 5th Texas and was appointed 2nd Lieutenant of Company I on October 23rd, 1861.

The "Bloody Fifth” was one of the hardest fought Confederate Regiments. Their list of battles include: Eltham Landing, Seven Pines, Gaines Mill, Freeman’s Ford, Second Manassas, South Mountain, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Suffolk, Nansemond River, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Wauhatchie, Knoxville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, White Oak Swamp, Darbytown Road, Petersburg and Appomattox.

On August 1st, 1862, Kerr was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and on October 22nd, 1862, he was made Assistant Adjutant General of the Texas Brigade. In the summer of 1863, he was made acting Brigade Inspector. At the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20 1863, his horse was killed under him. On November 2nd, Kerr was promoted to Captain and Adjutant General.

At the Battle of the Wilderness, he was one of the half dozen men that turned General Lee’s horse around when he tried to lead the Texans in a charge.

By November of 1864 Captain Kerr remained Assistant Adjutant General and was the Inspector General for Gregg’s Brigade’s Cavalry Corp. He finished the War in that capacity and surrendered at Appomattox with the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, after four hard years of War.

There is no back mark on the CDV. The edges are sharp and clean. The signature, signed in black ink, is very clear.

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