Sculptor James E. Kelly (c1915)
Born: July 30, 1855
Died May 25, 1933
Kelly has two works at Gettysburg. The 6th New York Cavalry Monument (featured earlier on Gettysburg Sculptures) was his first dedicated in 1889. The Buford, his second piece, would be dedicated in 1895.
Above, travelers visiting the battlefield stop to have their photograph taken in front of the Buford Monument. This Mumper image was taken May 26, 1906. An enlargement from the group photo above. If you look carefully the Victorian women above has her right hand laying on the brass plaque denoting that this barrel, part of Calef's Battery, gun number "233", fired the first artillery round of the battle of Gettysburg. This plaque can still be seen today on the barrel.
James E. Kelly would sketch the Council of War at Gettysburg. It depicts General Meade (standing 2nd from left) meeting with his commanders on the evening of July 2, 1863 at the Leister house.
Kelly would interview many of the participants that were in attendance that evening. When Major General Hancock (sitting 3rd from right) would see the sketch he informed Kelly "You have made me too stout. Anyone who knew me at the time would make that criticism."
It is good that Hancock would not see his bronze equestrian that was dedicated on East Cemetery Hill in 1896 at Gettysburg.
An outstanding book highlighting the life of James E. Kelly and his personnel conversations with many great commanders of the Civil War is:
Generals in Bronze
Interviewing the Commanders of the Civil War
Edited by William B. Styple
This rare, original bronze plaque was sculpted by Kelly in 1896. Its subject is Dr. Thomas Dunn English, noted doctor, poet and lawyer.
Dr. English would note that while meeting with Gen. Samuel K. Zook and when informed that General Lee had invaded the north, Zook would say "I start tomorrow for the front". English would try to dissuade Zook from traveling due to recent illness, but we now know that Zook would arrive at Gettysburg and would be mortally wounded on the afternoon of July 2, while entering the Wheatfield fight.
An original letter written by Kelly to Dr. Dunn English informing him that the bronze plaques cast for the 6th New York Cavalry monument at Gettysburg (dedicated July 11, 1889) were on display at the foundry.
At the dedication of the Buford monument Kelly had so captured the likeness of Buford, visitors would recognize General Buford's brother because of the resemblance to the statue.
Above the incised signature of Kelly on the base of the monument.
One of Kelly's trademarks is the large "K" in his signature.
The Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company would cast this wonderful bronze statue.
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