Major of 24th Texas writes father of 10th Texas (son), announcing his death at Franklin

Wartime letter of Maj. William A Taylor, 24th Texas Dismounted Cavalry, To the father of the late Col. Robert B. Young, 10th Texas Infantry

U. S. Military Prison
Johnsons Island State of Ohio Feb 5, 1865

Dear Sir:

I have just learned through Capt. Jones of the death of your son Lt. Col. Robt. B. Young. This sad new was not unexpected to me. I hope I am not intruding by writing this letter upon your sorrow, but my Dear sir, his death has brought sorrow to other than those of his immediate family; many will mourn his life and refuse to be comforted because he is not. It is true that in this melancholy event we see the hand of God and know that we must submit, but oh, how hard. I first knew him in Texas (Waco). We were close and intimate friends, in fact, he was my best friend and with you I grieve at his loss. In him you have lost a son, I more than a friend, a brother. Surely it may be said of him, that none knew him but to love him. I know that a more brave and gallant spirit never left this earth. My Texas home, if I should live to return, will not be home without him. His genial spirit, his uniform kindness, his sociability will be greatly missed in the friendly circle. Alas, who can fill his void? We have long been together, in the Army in the same brigade. I saw him last in front of his Regiment, gallantly leading it on, inspiring his men with his undaunted spirit and courage. He fell to rise no more upon the bloody field of Franklin. He died, where the brave die, at his post, and in the thickest of battle. None performed their duty in this war more cheerfully or nobly than he. His love and enthusiasm for our glorious cause influenced all around him. His patriotism was pure, his devotion to his country was deep and heartfelt. He was brave without vanity, generous to a fault, ambitious only as became a patriot, the soul of honor, a true soldier and a gentleman by nature. But

T’is thus they go, one by one
The leaders hail, like autumn frost
Where Victory is won or lost.

Accept my Dear Sir this poor tribute of respect to the missing of one, loved by yourself, no more than by one, who, to you unkown deeply feels and mourns his irreplacable loss.

Thus believe me to be Sir
Very Respectly Your Obdt. Svt
William A. Taylor
Major 24th Regt. Tex
Granbury’s Brigade
Army of Tennessee

To: Dr. R. M. Young Spartanburg, S. C.

[Collection of Young Descendant, Jenece Wade of Dewey, Arizona]


contributed by: Young Descendant, JENECE WADE, Dewey, Arizona


Col. Robert B. Young – Age 31 upon appointment to Maj. of (Nelson’s Regiment) 10th Texas Volunteer Infantry, at Virginia Point, Galveston, Texas, on October 21, 1861, By Brig. Gen. P. O. Hebert. He was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1828, and he was listed on the 1860 Texas Census as a “Stock Raiser,” residing at Waco, McLennan County, Texas. He was the grandson of William Young, who was a Pvt. in the Revolutionary War, that rose to the rank of Capt. in the Continental Cavalry. His family migrated to Bartow County, Georgia, in 1837. Robert attended the local school at Cartersville, Georgia, and is supposed to have graduated from Georgia Military Institute; although his name is not on the alumni list. He then commanded the 338 Battalion of Georgia Militia for Cass County. Robert married Josephine Wortham at Walton County, Georgia, on January 12, 1853.

Maj. Young was detailed on Court Marital Duty, from January to February 1862. On September 24, 1862, he was promoted to Lt. Col. at Ft. Hindman, Arkansas Post, Arkansas.

Lt. Col. Young was captured at Arkansas Post, Arkansas, on January 11, 1863, then arrived at Camp Chase Prison, Columbus, Ohio, on January 30th. He was paroled from prison for exchange on April 10, 1863; then was sent to Ft. Delaware, Maryland, arriving there on April 12th. Lt. Col. Young was exchanged at City Point, Virginia, on April 29th. According to his parole certificate, he stood 5’10” tall with blue eyes, auburn hair and a dark complexion.

Lt. Col. Young was absent sick at Cartersville, Georgia, from June to November 1863, recuperating with his family. On the December 1863 Rolls, Col. Roger Q. Mills wrote, “Lt Col RB Young was present and in Command of the Regt when it was mustered. I was absent. He was ordered before the signing of the roll to the Trans Miss. Dept. I therefore sign them – Knowing the roll is correct.” Col. Young returned to the 10th Texas Infantry Regiment in the early part of May, bringing with him several of officers that had been separated by the consolidation of the 6th, 10th & 15th Texas Regiments.

Lt. Col. Young took Command of the Brigade on the 2nd day of the Battle of Atlanta, when Brig. Gen. Smith and Col. Mills were wounded. Col. Young was restored to the command of the 10th Texas Infantry, when Brig. Gen. Granbury returned to the Brigade around the early part of August 1864.

Col. Young was killed in action at the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, on November 30, 1864, while leading his regiment to the enemy’s works.

Lt. Leonard H Mangum, Aide to Maj. Gen. Cleburne, wrote in the Kennesaw Gazette, Kennesaw, Georgia, on June 15, 1887: “Coffins were procured for the three bodies of Gen’s. Cleburne and Granberry [Ed: Granbury] and Col. Young of the tenth Texas regiment, and they were transported to Columbia for interment. During the succeeding night they lay in the parlor of Mrs. Mary R. Polk… The next day the funeral rites were performed by Right Rev. Bishop Quintard, and the bodies were placed in the cemetery beside General Strahl and Lieutenant Marsh, of General Strahl’s staff. It was afterwards discovered that these gallant men were buried in that part of the cemetery known as the potter’s field, where criminals and the lower classes were interred. General Lucius Polk, brother to Bishop, afterward General, Leonidas Polk, then offered a lot in the family cemetery of the Polk family, Ashwood, six miles south of Columbia. At the request of Bishop Quintard, who was a warm personal friend of General Strahl and Lieutenant Marsh, these two were disinterred with the others, and in five graves, side by side, the gallant soldiers were laid to rest in that beautiful spot. Beautiful indeed it is, so much so as to attract the admiration and attention of every passer-by.” Since then Gen. Cleburne’s remains were sent for burial to his home in Helena, Arkansas; and Gen. Granbury’s remains were sent to Granbury, Texas, named in his honor in 1866. Col. Young is still resting at Ashwood Cemetery, Columbia, Tennessee.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Reference notes:

  • Jacobson (For Cause and for Country) mentions the death of Young but does not cite this letter.
  • Sword (The Confederacy’s Last Hurrah) does not cite the letter either.
  • McDonough (Five Tragic Hours) does not either.

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