Robert Augustus Toombs

Brigadier General

Monument: Find-a-Grave

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

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Robert Augustus Toombs, usually known as "Bob" Toombs, was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, July 2, 1810. Withdrawing from the University of Georgia as the result of a prank, he was graduated from Union College (Schenectady, N. Y.) in 1828; and was admitted to the bar in 1830. He soon became not only wealthy but also politically prominent. Besides accumulating a substantial fortune in land and slaves, he served in the Georgia legislature, in both houses of the Federal Congress, and as a delegate from Georgia to erect the new Confederate government. He missed by a hair being chosen President of the Confederate States instead of Jefferson Davis. Accepting the portfolio of state with some reluctance, he served until July 19, 1861, when he was appointed brigadier general in the Provisional Army. He had meantime been elected to the Confederate Congress. Toombs' army career showed that he had some capacity, but he was inclined to be at odds with his superiors over old army discipline and procedure. He once remarked that the epitaph of the Confederate Army should be: "Died of West Point." He fought on the Peninsula and in the Seven Days, and was with his brigade in the campaign of Second Manassas. He distinguished himself in the defense of Burnside's bridge at Sharpsburg, where he was wounded. Desiring promotion and failing to obtain it, he resigned on March 4, 1863. He spent the balance of the war in criticizing Davis and the Richmond administration. However, he saw some further military service during Sherman's advance through Georgia. Fleeing abroad to escape arrest in 1865, he returned in 1867 and again became a power in Georgia politics, although he never applied for pardon as a means of regaining his citizenship. As a consequence, he held no public office. General Toombs died in Washington, Georgia, on December 15, 1885, and is buried there.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.