Archibald S. Dobbin


Headstone: Find-a-Grave

Confederate cavalry commander in the American Civil War.

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

In 1862 Phillips County, Arkansas was occupied by Federal troops. Dobbins sent his family to Tennessee and joined a Confederate regiment commanded by Thomas C. Hindman. When Hindman was appointed to take over the military command of Arkansas, he brought Dobbins with him to Little Rock as a colonel on his general staff.  Following his service on Hindman’s staff, Dobbins was given command of a brigade of cavalry that became known as “Dobbins Cavalry” or more formally the 1st Arkansas Cavalry. Dobbins returned with his cavalry to Phillips County which became his base of operations.

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.

Courtesy of Wikopedia