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Proud Civil War Veteran

Deep Dive: Exploring the Exhibits

Portrait of Philip Brady (Oil on canvas circa 1900)

This oil portrait is of a proud Civil War veteran, Philip Brady, in his military uniform. Prominent on his hat is a Grand Army of the Republic badge (the Grand Army of the Republic, or G.A.R., was an organization for Union Civil War veterans) and the G.A.R. medal is pinned on his chest. The painting is probably copied from this undated photograph, also in the collection of the Southampton History Museum.

Photograph circa 1880

Philip Brady (born in 1840) was most likely of Irish decent, although he stated he was born in Louisiana in the 1870 Census. He was orphaned at the age of seven, when his mother died of cholera in 1847. Like many orphans of that time, he was “bound-out” as a farmer’s apprentice to James Goodman, a farmer in Speonk. Upon completion of his apprenticeship in October 1861, the 21 year-old Phillip enlisted in the 12th New York Infantry Regiment of the Union Army. Eight months later, Philip was seriously wounded in the right knee at Gaines Mills, Virginia, just outside of Richmond. He was taken to a field hospital where doctors were busy amputating wounded limbs. Not wanting to lose his leg, Philip crawled away from the hospital and later hid in a slave’s hut. He eventually made his way to Camp Convalescent (also known as Camp Misery), a military hospital near Alexandria, Virginia, where he recovered from his wound, fortunately saving his leg. However, Philip’s wound was serious enough that he was discharged from the Army on February 5, 1863. Despite his wound, Philip tried to return to the Army, joining the 13th New Jersey and 127th New York Infantry, although his disability eventually forced him out of the army.

Philip Brady Army Discharge Certificate

After Philip returned from the war, he married Frances Melissa Halsey on Christmas Day, 1865 and began farming in Speonk. He eventually moved his family to Southampton, where he was a vigorous farmer, planting 81 acres of potatoes when he was 67 years old and raising a prize-winning 475 pound pig a few years later. In addition to his farming, he helped raise two daughters and four sons and was an active member in Veteran’s affairs. After nearly 58 years of marriage, his wife Frances died in 1923. Phillip died less than four years later, on January 24, 1927.

Group photo of the Civil War Committee inside the Southampton History Museum. Pictured are, left to right, Mrs. Carl Hansen, Margery Masters, Walter Brady, Mrs. Foster Corwith, Mrs. Arthur Muller, Jr., Henry Howell.

Philip’s oldest son, Walter, became a well-known architect in Southampton. Walter was proud of his father’s military service and he was part of the Southampton History Museum’s Civil War Centennial Committee. He is shown here (third from left) with other committee members and in the background can be seen Philip’s decorative honorable discharge from the army. Sharp-eyed observers of this photograph will also note the Currier and Ives print of the ironclad U.S.S. Montauk (to the left of Walter), featured in a previous Blog.

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Hubert Cunningham
Hubert Cunningham
10. 10. 2023

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