MUSEUM QUALITY LARGE OIL ON CANVAS PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT KERR CRAIGE OF THE 1ST NORTH CAROLINA CAVALRY

$2,500.00

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Item Code: 766-1380

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This portrait of Confederate Lieutenant Kerr Craige was obtained directly from his family and was done circa 1900.

The framed portrait is housed in a large oval wooden frame and meas. approx. 31.00 x 36.00 inches. The painting is good throughout, however there are three minor chips of missing paint, about pinhead size scattered around the edge. There is also a small 2-inch area of repaint to the background of the work approx. four inches from the Craige’s right ear. These are the only blemishes on an otherwise fine canvas.

The chest up artwork shows Craige in a medium gray double-breasted frock coat with a dark blue collar. The collar bears one gold stripe on either side and visible on each sleeve is a single gold galloon both signifying the rank of 2nd lieutenant. Buttons are of plain gold and lack any device. Craige has dark brown hair, brown eyes with tinted cheeks. Facial features are well done and match a photograph of Craige taken later in life.

All colors are strong and the canvas is very clean.

The work is signed at lower right “P. PHILLIPS.” Nothing is known of the artist at this time.

The frame is of heavy wood painted in a bronze color with ribbed borders and sprays of laurel leaves at top, bottom and mid-point of each side. Frame is in excellent condition and looks to be the original.

Kerr Craige was born March 14, 1843. He was the son of Burton Craige who served as State Representative for Rowan County, North Carolina and who introduced the Ordinance of Secession in the State Assembly in May of 1861.

Young Craige was educated at Concord Academy and at Catawba College. He entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill but left the university at age 18 to enlist as 5th sergeant in Company F, 1st North Carolina Cavalry on June 15, 1861. He received a commission to 2nd lieutenant in Company I on October 1, 1861.

Early in the 1st North Carolina’s service they were with Ransom’s Brigade in the Department of North Carolina. While there Craige was in temporary command of Company D but returned to his own Company before June when the regiment was transferred to Wade Hampton’s Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Not long after reaching Virginia the regiment was involved in the Peninsula Campaign where it engaged Union troops at Willis Church on June 29, 1862. During that fight the 1st North Carolina made a charge on the enemy in which Lieutenant Craige’s horse was killed. After being remounted Craige served with his regiment through the 2nd Bull Run and Antietam campaigns.

During the winter of 1862/63 Lt. Craige received a furlough and visited his home in Salisbury, North Carolina.

On June 9, 1863 the 1st was engaged at Brandy Station. Lieutenant Craige came through without a scratch but his regiment lost 4 killed, 14 wounded and 15 captured.

During the Gettysburg Campaign Craige was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on June 20, 1863. He was heavily engaged with his regiment at Upperville on June 21, 1863 and again at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. In that famous fight on July 3rd the 1st North Carolina Cavalry suffered 35 casualties but again, Craige came through unhurt.

The following October 1st Lieutenant Craige was chosen to serve on the staff of General James B. Gordon who commanded a brigade in Hampton’s Cavalry Division. He would not return to the 1st until March of 1864 in time for the Overland Campaign. During that 11-month campaign the 1st was engaged in numerous small actions on the flanks of the army avoiding heavy losses through December of 1864. During the campaign Craige was appointed Adjutant and on March 1, 1865 he became captain of his Company.

The last heavy action for the 1st North Carolina came on March 31, 1865 at Chamberlain Run where they charged across the creek supported by other regiments and captured the Federal position.

During the Confederate retreat on April 3, 1865 Barringer’s Brigade, including the 1st North Carolina Cavalry, made a stand against Sheridan’s cavalry at Namozine Church. In that fight the Confederate troopers held off the enemy long enough for Johnson’s Division of infantry to pass through a critical crossroads and make their escape. During that fight Captain Craige was captured. He was confined in Old Capitol Prison on April 14th and then sent to Johnson’s Island, Ohio on April 17. He was released after taking the Oath of Allegiance on June 18, 1865.

After the war he returned to Salisbury, North Carolina and studied law under Judge Richmond Pearson and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He served as the Reading Clerk of the North Carolina House of Representatives and also as a member of that body. Craige also served as a Collector of Revenue, director of the North Carolina Railroad, as a trustee of the State university and Third Assistant Postmaster-General during the second administration of President Grover Cleveland.

Craige was married to the daughter of Confederate General Lawrence O’Bryan Branch who was killed at Antietam. The couple had six children.

Captain Craige died on September 1, 1904 and is buried in Old English Cemetery in Salisbury, North Carolina.

With the painting are copies of Craige’s records from the National Archives.  [ad]

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