Robert Brank Vance

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

Robert Brank Vance, an elder brother of Governor (and Senator) Zebulon Vance of North Carolina, was born in Buncombe County on April 24, 1828. After attending the common schools of the district, he engaged in mercantile and agricultural pursuits, and served for some years as clerk of the court of pleas and quarter sessions. Recruiting in 1861 a company known as the "Buncombe Life Guards," he was elected its captain; and upon the formation of the 29th North Carolina Infantry, he was elected colonel. Sent to East Tennessee, he took part with his regiment in the defense of Cumberland Gap and accompanied Kirby Smith into Kentucky. After the death of General James E. Rains at Murfreesboro, Vance then commanded the brigade for a time, until he came down with typhoid fever. While still ill he was promoted brigadier general to rank from March 4, 1863, and upon his recovery, was assigned to duty in Western North Carolina. In this region he was captured on January 14, 1864, at Crosby Creek, and was not released for exchange from Fort Delaware until March 10, 1865. After the war General Vance was six times elected to Congress, serving from 1873 to 1885. For the next four years he was assistant commissioner of patents in Washington. He was also a member of the state house of representatives from 1894 to 1896. He died near Asheville, North Carolina, on November 28, 1899, in the county of his birth. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Asheville.

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

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