Friday, January 3, 2014

Old newspaper story tells of Capt. Kolb's bravery at Chickamauga

Alabama's Reuben Francis Kolb Sr.
I ran across the following Civil War related item in the Jan. 29, 1914 edition of The Conecuh Record. Published under the headline “The Bravery of Capt. Kolb,” it was apparently reprinted from a short article that originally appeared in The Montgomery Daily Times. What follows is the complete text of the story.

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A bit of history that the people of Alabama would like to know, which goes to prove: Honor to whom honor is due.

During the late war between the states – at the battle of Chickamauga, there were 120,000 men, both Federals and Confederates, engaged in a three days’ battle and during those three days of battle there were 32,000 men killed. There were never, in the history of the bloody wars of the world, more daring deeds of men than were exhibited in that battle. After the fighting was over, the Federals began to gather up the data and later build the Chickamauga Park.

There is established a copper tablet with the names of five men thereon who were engaged in the battle, for daring deeds of bravery. There were four Federal generals and only one Confederate soldier. His name is Capt. Reuben F. Kolb of Kolb’s Battery. He charged the favorite Federal artillery, which was on a hill, captured it and turned his own artillery on them.

He was noted as one of the bravest men in the war of rebellion.

There was a company of cavalry sent to guard Kolb’s Battery; at the first volley a soldier who was riding a white horse, was killed. The white horse remained in the ranks and charged and retreated with the company until the last charge. The federal government commemorated him with a marble statue, which can be seen at Chickamauga Park today.

Will G. McKinney

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According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, Kolb’s full name was Reuben Francis Kolb Sr. He was born in Eufaula on April 15, 1839 and died on March 23, 1918. He’s buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery.

“At the outbreak of the Civil War, Kolb joined the Confederate Army, enlisting in Company B of the First Alabama Regiment at the rank of sergeant. In 1862, he joined the Barbour Light Artillery, also referred to as the Eufaula Rifles. This unit was reorganized upon its arrival in Montgomery as the artillery battalion of Hilliard's Legion. However, Kolb's Battery, as the group became known, was the only unit of Hilliard's Legion equipped for artillery. Kolb's Battery served in Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee.”

After the war, Kolb, a Populist Democrat, unsuccessfully ran for governor of Alabama three different times, 1890, 1892 and 1894. Kolb did serve as Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture for four years, 1886 to 1890 and was a prominent member of the Farmers’ Alliance. For more information about Kolb, visit

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