Loreta Valazquez and Annie Etheridge

Bonnie Tsui describes in her book, She Wen’t To The Field: Women Soldiers Of The Civil War, that Annie Etheridge and Marie Tepe were two women awarded the Kearney Cross for valor during their service to country. Both of these women, disguised as male soldiers, participated in the Battle of Chancellorsville, subsequently earning the award. The Kearney Cross award was established to recognize Non-Commissioned officers and Privates who distinguished themselves amongst their fellow troops. I wanted to learn more about this medal.

Kearney Cross Medal

The Kearney Cross was derived from the “Kearney Medal”, which was awarded to officers for valor during the civil war. The Kearney Cross was used to establish the same kind of merit that could be awarded to enlisted men. The medal is named after Philip Kearney, son of General Stephen Kearney, known for his participation in the US-Mexican War. I learned from the readings that Philip hailed from a long line of distinguished gentlemen of means who volunteered themselves to the service of their country.

Philip Kearney

The selfless service and the untimely death of Philip during the 2nd Manassas Campaign (Battle of Chantilly) led to the medal of honor in his name to show respect bestowed upon him by those who served with and under him.