|Cobb's Kentucky Battery, CSA
This faded and nearly illegible typewritten manuscript was found in the Civil War vertical file,
Special Collections, Paducah Public Library. A note at the top says, "This paper was written from
information given by Mr. Julian F. Gracey from what his Father had told him." Frank Gracey was a
Lieutenant of Cobb's Battery. The manuscript is presented below as written, with notes, some
punctuation, and paragraph breaks added.
Edited and Annotated by Geoff Walden
Cobb's Battery, which was one of the most distinguished and famous of the Confederate Military Units, was
organized at the beginning of the War at Mint Springs, Kuttawa, Ky. [Lyon County, in Western Kentucky]
H[ylan] B. Lyon, who had given up his commission in the United States Army and had returned to his home at
Eddyville, Ky. when war between the States became inevitable, was made Captain of the Company. R[obert] L.
Cobb was made First Lieut., Frank P. Gracey Second Lieut., and either Bart James or Bob Mathis Third Lieut.
Later in the history of the Company both of these men were lieutenants but the record as to which one held
this position originally is not accessible. [Robert B. Mathews was originally 1st Sgt., later 1st Lt.; and Bartley A.
James was 2nd Lt.]
After the Company had been organized under the name of Cobb's Battery, the men were confronted with their
first difficulty. Kentucky was one of the border states and the one most divided against itself. In some sections
the people were hotly in favor of the Confederacy and secession, while in other sections they were in favor of
the Union. Under such conditions as these the Battery could not train at Eddyville or Mint Springs but was
forced to move into Tennessee in order to come within the lines of the Confederacy.
Accordingly, they moved to Clarksville, Tenn. where as a body they enlisted in the Southern Army and went
into training at Camp Boone, six miles from Clarksville on the Guthrie Pike, with other Kentucky and Tennessee
Troops. The Battery was trained for Artillery in the 3rd Kentucky Regiment and from now on was designated
either as Cobb's Battery or as the First Kentucky. (General) H.B. Lyon, the first Captain, was soon promoted,
and R.L. Cobb became Captain of the Battery. Frank P. Gracey was advanced to First Lieut. and Bart James
or Bob Mathis [Mathews] were made Second and Third Lieutenants. [see above]
After a period of training the troops moved to Bowling Green, Ky. [September 1861] and the First Kentucky
Battery was formally brigaded under Gen. John C. Breckinridge. Since Kentucky never officially seceded and
joined the Confederacy, the Kentucky troops became known as the Orphan Brigade, and among all the troops
of the South none were more distinguished for their bravery and service. Cobb's Battery was probably better
known than any other Regiment outside of Virginia. Among the famous battles in which the Battery engaged
are Shiloh, Baton Rouge, Jackson, Sulphur Trestle, Resaca, Murfreesboro, Jonesboro, Chicamauga [sic],
Missionary Ridge and Johnsonville. At Chicamauga [sic] the battery distinguished itself, and at Snodgrass Hill a
Marker has been erected by the Governor to show its position during the War. [This marker shows the position
of Cobb's Battery in support of the Orphan Brigade assaults on the Federal works near the Kelly Field (near
Tour Stop 2), not at Snodgrass Hill.]
When Albert Sidney Johnson [Johnston] fell back with his troops to Corinth, Mississippi, the Battery went with
him and began its active service in the great battle of Shiloh. Here the Battery was intended to be held as a
reserve under General Breckenridge [sic], but as the attack of the Federals was so sudden and determined,
all the reserves were soon rushed into the field and held their places throughout the entire long engagement.
Thirty-four members were soon killed or wounded, and every horse in the Battery was killed except one, he
belonging to Frank P. Gracey who was in charge of the Battery, as R.L. Cobb had been made Major. [Cobb
was promoted to Major and chief of artillery for Breckinridge's Division following the battle of Chickamauga.]
This horse (named Frank) saved himself when his rider dismounted to help limber up the guns and train them
against Sherman's Artillery. As soon as he found himself without a rider, Frank trotted away and found safety
behind an enormous pile of hay which had been baled and was used as headquarters by McClellan, one of
Sherman's Generals [Maj.Gen. John McClernand, commanding a division under Gen. Grant, or Col. John
McDowell, commanding a brigade under Sherman?]. There the horses remained in perfect safety and enjoyed
a banquet of hay during the engagement.
After the battle of Jackson, Miss., where Cobb's Battery greatly distinguished itself and was largely responsible
for the Confederate victory, the troops were drawn up in a hollow square and presented with a banner by the
wives of Generals John C. Breckenridge [sic], [Simon] Boliver Buckner, and H.B. Lyon. The flag was made from
dresses of these three ladies as it was not possible to secure material for it from any other source. Shortly
after the close of the war this banner, which [was] carried all through the war and was cut by many bullet shots,
was presented [to] Frank P. Gracey by one of the members of the Battery, who wrapped it around his body
under his clothes and smuggled it through enemy lines. It is still in the possession of his son Julian P. Gracey
The Battery, which distinguished itself and its native state by its heroism all through the war, was commanded
[commended?] at different times by Generals Breckenridge [sic], Bates [William B. Bate, division commander in
the Army of Tennessee], Cheatam [B. Frank Cheatham, division and corps commander in the AoT], Helm [Ben
Hardin Helm, commander of the Orphan Brigade who was killed at Chickamauga], Preston [William Preston,
brigade commander], Lewis [Joseph Lewis, final commander of the Orphan Brigade], and Lyon.
|Captain Frank P. Gracey
A member of 1st Kentucky Light Artillery Company, a Confederate Veteran and successful businessman. The
Clarksville,TN Chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 225 is called the Frank P. Gracey Chapter. He
was also awarded the SCV Medal of Honor.
Birth: Jun. 30, 1834
|First Kentucky Orphan Brigade
14th Tennessee Infantry Regiment
49th Tennessee Infantry Regiment
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