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Capt."One Armed" Alvin Cobb, Missouri Partisan Ranger

Discussion in 'The South & Western Theaters' started by Borderruffian, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Okay folks time for another riveting installment of Missouri Civil War History brought to you by your friendly nieghborhood Trans-Miss phariah Borderruffian.

    Let us go again to east central Missouri , just in case anyone is wondering, and even if you aren't. I have stumbled on alot of this east central information in the research of another subject related to the general area. Figures like Joe Cole and our soon to be met friend Alvin Cobb and our apparently universal foil to the "Secesh" in east central Missouri Kempinski were well documented in their time. However the focus of civil war history have caused these individuals to be lost in seldom read history and reports. I enjoy putting these forgotten figures in the fore front if only for a moment.So as I endeavor to bore you yet again with obscure figures from as I've been told several times "a meaningless theater of the war." remember that if somebody doesn't remember our history is lost.And besides I like disspelling the ideaer that Quantrill, Anderson, Scott, Todd and Clements cornered the market on Partisan badassery out in westeran Missouri.

    Alvin Cobb was a leading pre-war secessionist in Montgomery County Missouri, he farmed in the Loutre Valley. He was called "one arm Alvin" , well because he had one arm, the other being lost in a pre-war hunting accident or threshing accident depending on the story. Cobb is a different kind of Partisan in that he orginially began is war as the Capt. of a company of Missouri State Guard Cavalry fighting in conventional battles at the "Fulton Races" (so called because the opposing sides raced to get away from each other), Mount Zion , Moores Mill, and probably at the First Battle of Danville in 1861. Cobb's unit also served as a scouting element for Porter's Campaign in Northern Missouri.

    Cobbs slide into partisan service can be traced to his ambush of Major Sharp and Lt.Yager in Martinsburg Mo in July of 1861 and his later excecution of the two prisoners. His actions at Martinsburg unleashed the full fury of the Union forces in Montgomery and Callaway Counties. Patrols were sent to all parts and the result was the confiscation of property from anyone suspected of secesh ties, the excecution of Terrill and Nunnley by the American Zouves and the murder of Granville Bishop by Unconditioanl Unionists in Montgomery City.

    Cobb became a chief suspect in the Excecution of Sharp and Yager when according to the report of Colonel Fulkerson his command followed a blood trail from Audrain County to Cobb's Farm in Cobbtown in the southern part of Montgomery County. This seems unlikely since Cobbs unit was not engaged by Sharp and Yager and reports of Union troops engaging CS Cavalry during the time are non-exsistant. More likely information was given by Union sympathizers on Cobbs command. In any event the confirmation that Cobb was indeed the excecutioner of the two Yankee officers was provided by none other than Mrs. Alvin Cobb.

    Colonel Fulkerson contacted Mrs. Cobb at the Cobb farm and under questioning Mrs. Cobb confirmed that. Yes Alvin was Secesh. Yes, Alvin had returned home and admitted to killing Sharp and Yager and had even shown here documents taken from Sharps body ( probably his authorization to raise a Union Regiment). In graditude for Mrs. Cobbs forthright confirmation of Union suspecitions and timely information Colonel Fulkerson promptley ordered the Cobb house and outbuildings burned, the grain, foodstuffs and live stocks confiscated along with the confiscation of wagons in which to haul the plunder.

    By this time Alvin had gone to brush. He was making quite a name for himself excecuting unionist citizens, ambushing union patrols and harrassing the rail lines. Alvin Cobb in 1861-62 cut a bloody swath thru Central Missouri.

    In the winter of 1861 General Sterling Price ordered a harrasment campaign against the rail lines in Missouri. As a part of this Cobb and a cavalry force under Capt. Bill Meyers decsended on Wellsville Missouri, After setting torches to the depot and several rail cars the raiders broke into the store of Mr. Kempinski (see there he is again) where they tapped a barrel of whiskey and proceeded to clean out Kempinski's store, To add insult to injury they confiscated all of Kempinski's wagons and draft stock to move their recently aquired treasures.

    Eventually things would get too hot for Alvin and he would go to Indian Territory where he would align himself and his small command with Stand Waties Cherokee Confederates. His wife would join him there briefly, but apparently she found the Territory not to her liking and according to period reports rode back home on an Indian pony, upon reaching home she filed for divorce.

    Alvin went to California after the war and faded into history.
     

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  3. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Went to California just like Dutchy....thanks to you, I'm beginning to see all the bits and pieces put together by Goodrell in Woe to Live On...although as usual, truth is stranger and more interesting as fiction!
     
  4. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Woe to live on and Ride with the devil are in IMHO the best novelization and best movie for depicting the the tenor of the war in Missouri. If anyone were to need a dramatic gig to begin their studies of the war in Missouri you couldn't go wrong starting there.

    Most of "the boys" left Missouri at least for a short while after the war because of the overbearing tenor of the unionists. A good many like my family ended up in Texas.
     
  5. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Must have been pretty freaky for folks like my family (and I know there were lots of them) who moved earlier to escape "the boys." No wonder Texas was such a dangerous place to live after the war...
     
  6. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Alot of free wheeling Guerillas, CS vets and Union troops combined with the Davis administrations policy and the Davis Police, yeah Texas after the war is one of my favorite periods of history, lotta gunsmoke.
     
  7. dkr02

    dkr02 Cadet

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    Borderruffian, many thanks for the info on Capts Cole and Cobb. Please keep it up on this northern Missouri partisan activity, as it is nearly impossible to find out much on this. Do you know of the partisan raid on Bloomfield IA?

    Rick
     
  8. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    Here is a book and read footnote 94 for it a brief bio on Cobb....He had a bread down to his waist and hair down to his shoulders...

    http://books.google.com/books?id=nm...aptain one arm alvin cobb. montgomery&f=false

    Here is another bio...I do not like the Confederate army leadership thought much of him..


    COBB, Capt. Alvin, a one armed man, led a company of bushwhackers which he
    kept to south of Martinsburg and north part of Callaway. He operated freely in Montgomery, Audrain and Callaway counties. Was in many small fights and skirmishes with Col. Joe Porter. In August 1861, Cobb killed Benjamin T. Sharp of Wellsville and Lieutenant Jaeger of St. Louis, who was in command of a company of Union soldiers around Wellsville.
    In retaliation, the Federal soldiers destroyed Cobb’s dwelling. He and his force of about a dozen men continued to stay in the brush, bushwhacked, plundered and robbed and fought with the Confederates at Moore’s Mill in Callaway. He finally got to Price’s army and had a personal interview with Gen. Price. Told he must cease his guerilla warfare, he refused and was in Indian Territory in Oklahoma in 1864, later went west to Oregon or California. Hist. Of NE Mo. by Williams. Pgs 608-620



    End the end Cobb was just a murderer like all the other Bushwhackers in Missouri....





    1. Sharp and Cobb: A Violent End

    West of St. Louis, due north of the Missouri River, was territory known as “Little Dixie” for its concentration of Confederate sympathizers. Some Unionists lived there as well, including lawyer Benjamin Sharp, once a student in the first class at the Virginia Military Institute. He married and in 1843 settled in Danville, Mo., close to members of his family; in 1854 he was elected to a seat in the Missouri Senate.

    Among his neighbors in central Missouri was the Cobb family, including son Alvin Cobb, a notorious Rebel bushwhacker. Cobb and Sharp were acquainted, but they could hardly have been more different: While Sharp was an articulate politician, the one-armed Cobb was known as “a man of few words,” according to a Sharp descendant; while Sharp was an idealist and a courageous soldier, Cobb was a brutal renegade.

    In July 1861 Col. Sharp and fellow soldier Lt. A. Jager were heading to Mexico, Mo., in a horse and buggy, with orders to raise a regiment for the Union cause. But they took a wrong turn, and as they circled round south of Martinsburg, Cobb’s men ambushed them, firing on the unsuspecting pair. Both were badly wounded but not killed outright.

    An 1885 history of Montgomery County picks up the story. Cobb “told them they must die, and asked them if they wished to pray. Jager made no answer, but Sharp kneeled down and prayed God to ... grant that the armies of the Union might be successful, and the Union itself preserved to his posterity forever. Ben Sharp died as he had lived, brave as a lion, devoted to the Union cause. ... The prayer finished ... both men were shot kneeling; then they were taken off and buried.”

    Today, a tall monument in a weedy cemetery south of Interstate 70 in Danville marks the resting place of Sharp. It was commissioned by the local Masonic Lodge, to which he belonged. The town of Danville was largely leveled a few years after Sharp’s death; in October 1864 most of it was burned by another group of Rebel guerrillas, who also killed several townspeople. One building left unharmed was the chapel of the Danville Female Academy, which Missouri’s Civil War Heritage Foundation is now planning to restore.


    Borderruffian, I wish you stop trying to glorify these Missouri Bushwhackers as some type of partisan hero's for everyone of them were just plain old murderers non-thing more or less. They were partisan murders is that any more noble(NO)....

     
  9. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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  10. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    I'd suggest you either ignore my posts, or stop taking them out of context then Buddy. Whether you like it or not this was the war in Missouri and how it was fought and if one were to actually study the war in Missouri, one would realize this.

    So I will continue to post such information as I come upon. You may feel free to be butt hurt about, if you so desire since you're apparently not interested in discussion on the subject, just your usual cut and run sniping on the issue.
     
  11. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    Now wait, you must admit the info I found on Alvin was some good stuff...I must again point that in a back handed sort of way my post support your original thread. I more then hope you continue to bring us the Missouri bush war on this forum for I learn much....I just wish you knew something about Florida's range war between the union cavalry and the Florida's partisan cow cavalry.....
     
  12. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    So back to the real war, boys!
     
  13. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    A little more on Capt. Cobb, from J.A Mudd's book With Porter in Northern Missouri. Mudd was a member of Capt. Penny's Company of Porters Northeast Missouri Cavalry in 1862 and a vetern of Wilson's Creek as a member of the Missouri State Guard. He met Cobb at Porters Headquarters following the battle at Moores Mill Mo and describes him as a big man with a pleasant voice and that despite his nickname of one arm he was missing just his hand and portion of his forearm, he was wearing a hook on that appendage and used the hook to control the riens and his good hand to wield his pistols.
     
  14. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Borderruffan I find your posts on Missouri and Civil War very interesting. I have a couple of question on Alvin Cobb which I cannot find Answers:

    I read he came to Missouri in about 1847. Where was he originally from? Was it Georgia? Also he went to California, but where and do you know when he died.? Thanks
     
  15. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Give a few hours I'll have to pull out some books and search for Cobb's home state prior to Missouri but I'm thinking it was Kentucky, I could be wrong. He's reportedly buried in Oregon I'll check with a research partner who knows where at, in Oregon.
     
  16. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Thanks for looking. It be very interesting if he originally from Kentucky. If he is, I will have to look further into his family from here ( as posted I am a Kentuckian and doing research on my different family members and research for some other people's families ).
     
  17. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Here is what I have for you Donna:


    The western portion of this township, along Loutre, was the first settled. In the southern part of the western portion of the township there was a settlement called "Cobbtown," as early as 1823, in which year came Samuel Cobb, Sr., and his sons, Samuel, Jr., Adam and Philip, and located here in the border of the prairie ... Samuel Cobb, Jr., lived to be nearly 90. He was the father of Alvin Cobb, the noted guerilla. To the vicinity of "Cobbtown" came the Peverlys (or the Pevelays as they are called) in 1824 ... They were related to the Cobbs. Another settler in early days was Wm. Brown, a son-in-law of Daniel Cobb. Isaac and James Olfey came into the settlement in about 1825; all of these were Kentuckians ... (--Ibid: 814.)

    Samuel Cobb seems to have been from Fleming County Kentucky by way of Delaware. Cobb town was located in Montgomery County Mo.

    My research partner says Cobb was buried in Washington or Oregon but is not near his notes at present and will have to look it up.

    Frank MacAtee also a member of Porters Northeast Missouri Cavalry, Penny's Company met Cobb in Colusa Ca "some years after the war."

    During the war it would seem that Cobb was in his 30's and as his grandfather settled in Missouri in roughly 1823 chances are Alvin was born in Missouri.
     
  18. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Borderruffian Thanks for information on Cobbs. Fleming County, Ky. was formed in 1782. It is in North East section of the state. It is interesting that Claibourne Fox Jackson who was governor of Missouri during Civil War was from Fleming County.
     
  19. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Alvin's Grandfather
    Cobb, Samuel (1st), 1745 - 1840, Revolutionary soldier served three tours of duty beginning 1775, 9 months total [Note: Marilyn Stanley
    says that he was actually born in ca. 1760 in Sussex Co., Delaware. Contact her for more information.]

    Alvin's immediate family:
    Cobb, Samuel (2nd), 1779 - Aug. 30, 1881, War of 1812, son of Samuel Cobb (1st)
    Cobb, Sarah (Sally) Sailor, died about 1837, first wife of Samuel Cobb (2nd) [Note: Believed to be buried here.]
    Cobb, Senora Taylor died Mar. 18, 1883, age 90y, second wife of Samuel Cobb (2nd)
    Cobb, Shelton, died Sept 14, 1844, age 25y, son of Samuel and Sally Sailor Cobb
    Cobb, Adam, died Dec. 7, 1871, son of Samuel Cobb (2nd) [Note: Marilyn Stanley says that Adam was the son of Samuel (1st). Contact her for more information.]
    Cobb, Alfred, Sept. 27, 1824 - Sept. 28, 1844, twin son of Samuel and Sally Sailor Cobb
    Cobb, Allen, Sept. 27, 1824, Co. C. S. Mo. S. M. Cav., died May 22, 1914, twin son of Samuel and Sally Sailor Cobb [Note: A stonecutter by trade, married Palina Ann Hamblin, May 22, 1914]

    Alvin has been left off by the researcher for pretty obvious reasons.
    Brother Allen Served in the 9th Missouri State Militia Company C (Union) a Company that Oden Guitar once opined "Were as bad as Red Legs"

    http://http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/soldiers/details.asp?id=S79121&conflict=Civil%20War&txtName=cobb&selConflict=Civil%20War&txtUnit=&rbBranch=all

    And here is whats on file for Alvin.

    http://http://www.sos.mo.gov/archiv...b&selConflict=Civil War&txtUnit=&rbBranch=all
     
  20. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Thanks for additional information. When I went to Fleming County Genealogy site they had list of Revolutionary War Veterans and had a Samuel Cobb listed. It must be the Grandfather. I can see why the researcher left out Alvin Cobb.
     
  21. BillO

    BillO 1st Lieutenant

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    I very much enjoy your posts on the trans-miss region as I know very little about it. I own the "Ride with the devil" DVD but haven't read anything as of yet. "The outlaw Josie Wales" touches on this as well.
     

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