Dobbins Cavalry is difficult to research because not only was it a loosely-organized regiment, but most of the typical paperwork generated by a regiment in the field is missing from the record. Only a handful of muster rolls, and almost no quartermaster or commissary reports, are known to exist. Dobbins brigade was assigned to a division commanded by Gen. Lucius M. Walker and fought in major engagements, raids, and skirmishes throughout eastern and northeastern Arkansas.
After Walker was killed in a duel with fellow general John S. Marmaduke, Dobbins assumed command of Walker’s division. When Marmaduke became Dobbins superior, Dobbins refused to serve under him in protest of the killing of Walker. Marmaduke ordered Dobbins arrest and court martial. On November 23, 1863 it was announced that Dobbins had been dismissed from the army. Despite the verdict, Dobbins never officially surrendered his command and continued to operate his brigade out of the Helena area. 1864 dispatches from Confederate Gen. Joe Shelby to his commanders in northeast Arkansas included Col. Dobbins.
As the war was nearing the end, Dobbins was promoted to general on the field, but this promotion was never entered in the official records, due in part to the turmoil of the confederate army and government in its last days. Dobbin’s Cavalry surrendered and was paroled at Wittsburg, Arkansas on May 25, 1865. Dobbins himself fled to Texas where he planned to cross into Mexico and send his slaves to Cuba. Dobbins did not reach his slaves or Mexico and signed his parole at Galveston on July 13, 1865.
In 1867 Dobbins left the United States and started a plantation 30 miles from Santarém, Brazil. In one of his letters Dobbins mentioned that he was only about six miles from an American colony in Brazil. This may have been the Lost Colony of the Confederacy. In 1869 Dobbins wrote for his wife to join him in Brazil but as she made plans to travel to South America, the letters stopped coming. Dobbins was never heard from again. Years later it was reported that the general had been killed in an Indian uprising which swept the area of his plantation in about 1869.
A Confederate style VA headstone stands as a cenotaph to Archibald Dobbins in Confederate Cemetery in Helena, Arkansas.