Capt. Robert Linah Cobb1,2,3,4

ID# 426, (1840 - 1895)
FatherDr. Joshua Cobb5,6,7 (19 Apr 1809 - 7 Apr 1879)
MotherJulia Ann Mims5,8,9 (7 Jul 1812 - 11 Sep 1841)

Key Events:

Birth: 5 Mar 1840, Cumberland Iron Works, Stewart Co., Tennessee10,11,12,13
Marriage: Virginia Adelaide Tuck, 3 Jan 1877, Shelby Co., Tennessee14,15,16
Death: 2 Jun 1895, Clarksville, Montgomery Co., Tennessee17,18,19
Burial: 4 Jun 1895, Greenwood Cemetery, Clarksville, Tennessee20,21

Spouse:Virginia Adelaide Tuck (14 Nov 1848 - 17 May 1886)
     Children:

ChartsDescendants of Linah and Rebeccah (Davis) Mims
Descendants of Dr. Davis Green Tuck
Descendants of David Dutt/Toot
Descendants of Gideon Cobb
AncestryThe Linah Mims - Rebecca Davis Family
The Cobbs of Pawlet, Vermont

Copyright Notice

Narrative:

     Capt. Robert Linah Cobb was born at 5 Mar 1840 at Cumberland Iron Works, Stewart Co., Tennessee.10,11,12,13 Robert is probably the male under age 5 listed in the household of his father, Dr. Joshua Cobb, in the 1840 Federal Census of Stewart Co., Tennessee.22
     His mother died on 11 Sep 1841, when Robert was 1 year old.23,24 He appeared on the 1850 Federal Census of Stewart Co., Tennessee, in the household of his father and stepmother, Marina Turner Bryan.25,26

His Education --- Text Stolen from ReigelRidge.com !! ---

The Castle Building, Stewart College
photo courtesy Rhodes College Archives, Memphis

     Robert attended local schools, then Stewart College, on the site now occupied by Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, in 1854-6. That school, after several name changes and reorganizations, moved to Memphis in 1925 and is now known as Rhodes College.27,28,29
     After completion of his schooling, he became a rodman on the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Railroad. He soon became assistant engineer on that road. In 1859 and 1860 he was City Engineer of Clarksville.27

Joining the Confederate Army --- Text Stolen from ReigelRidge.com !! ---


     With the outbreak of the Civil War, Robert joined the Confederate Army, serving with distinction. He mustered in at Clarksville, Tennessee, appearing on the rolls as a private in Captain Beaumont's Company, 50th Tennessee Infantry dated 12 Aug 1861. On 10 Nov 1861 he was assigned by Lt. Col. MacCavock to duty at the Ordinance Depot at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. Gen. Tilghman appointed him as Ordinance Officer of Fort Donelson 23 Dec 1861. Reportedly his white bedsheet was used to surrender the fort. A report dated 15 Feb 1862 shows he remained on duty until Fort Donelson was surrendered to the Union Army, when he escaped and reported for duty in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was assigned to duty in Lyon's Battalion. On 22 Feb 1862 he was assigned to duty as Junior 1st Lieut. in R. Cobb's Battalion at Murfreesboro (Maj. Robert H. Cobb, commander of that unit, was his first cousin, son of father's brother). He was assigned by Gen. Beauregard on 13 Apr 1862 to report to the Chief of Ordinance of the Western Department. On 28 Jun 1862 he was appointed an Ordinance Officer of Artillery at Verona Depot.30,31,32,33
     On 12 Oct 1862 he inquired from Bryansville, Kentucky, about his pay as an Ordinance Officer. On 30 Nov 1862 he requested, from Murfreesboro, to be examined for a position as 1st Lieut. of Ordinance and Artillery. Direction was given 16 Dec 1862 from the Ordinance Bureau at Richmond, Virginia, to pay him as a 1st Lieut., including back pay from December 25, 1861. He was elected 18 Dec 1862 to command the Ordinance Dept. at Tullahoma. On 1 Jan 1863 he was ordered to report for duty to act as Chief Engineer in Polk's Corps, A. of Tennessee. He was appointed 30 Apr 1864 as Captain in Company G, 3rd Regiment of Engineers, in charge of pontoon bridges, making him the youngest captain in that corps.33,34,35

Becoming a Pontoonier --- Text Stolen from ReigelRidge.com !! ---


Capt. Robert Linah Cobb
     The Third Regiment of engineer troop was organized in early 1863, including two companies as pontooniers, furnished with a train of boats and bridge material. Capt. Cobb was assigned to one of these as junior captain. After the battle of Chickamauga, one battalion was sent to support Gen. Longstreet in Virginia, six companies remained with the Army of Tennessee. These units had sufficient boats to bridge small streams, but in order to put Gen. Hood across the Tennessee river at Florence they had to supplement the pontoons with a trestle bridge. After his disastrous defeat at Nashville, they put him over the Duck river but had to abandon the cords and decking of the bridge. When Gen. Hood announced he would try to re-cross the Tennessee at Bainbridge Capt. Cobb was dispatched with a company, mounted on mules, to Decatur bring down if possible several pontoon boats that had been captured there. The river was too deep to permit building a trestle bridge quickly, and there were about half enough boats to span the stream. With the sound of artillery in the distance as the rear guard was being pressed by the victorious foe, Cobb's unit appeared with the boats, having successfully navigated the hazardous shoals in high water, permitting Hood's army to cross.36,37 On 31 Dec 1864 he was in command of a pontoon train which was captured by the Union Army near Nauvoo, Alabama. Some soldiers were captured, but it is unclear whether he was captured or not. On a list of Engineer troops dated 1 Jan 1865, his place is noted as vacant.33
     Robert was nominated to the Confederate Congress on 24 May 1864 by President Jefferson Davis as a Captain, to take that rank from 30 Apr 1864. The nomination was confirmed 6 Jun.38,39

His Return to Engineering --- Text Stolen from ReigelRidge.com !! ---

Improved Rail Fastening
from his 1874 patent

     After the war, he returned to the practice of engineering. For a time, he engaged in a joint practice with his brother-in-law, John Baker Tapscott, under the firm name of Cobb & Tapscott. In Oct 1865 they advertised their services as Civil and Topographical Engineers, Architects and Surveyors, in Clarksville. They said they would "attend promptly to any business in their profession in this or the adjoining states. Special attention paid to surveying and mapping farms."40
     Robert soon resumed his career with the railroads, returning to the Memphis, Clarksville, and Louisville Railroad as Division Engineer. In 1867 he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Winchester and Alabama Railroad, which also later became part of the Louisville and Nashville system. Two years later he became Assistant Engineer of the Memphis and Ohio Railroad, then a Division Engineer with the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad, where he remained until 1873, serving part of that time as Acting Chief Engineer.41,42
     On 18 Feb 1873 Robert, together with Charles W. Tift, both shown as from Memphis, Tennessee, filed an application for a patent on an improved fastening for joints between lengths of rail. The invention used a wedge bar instead of nuts to secure the bolts that hold the joint together. Their patent was issued 24 Mar 1874, number 149, 002.43
     In 1873 he conducted mining operations at Kellogg, Arkansas, and later in Mexico. He returned to railroad work in 1876 as a member of the engineering staff of the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railway.41,44
     Robert married Virginia Adelaide Tuck, daughter of Dr. Davis Green Tuck and Elizabeth M. Toot, on 3 Jan 1877 in Shelby Co., Tennessee, with L. T. Surratt officiating.14,15,16
     Robert and his new wife, Virginia Adelaide Tuck, settled in Little Rock, Arkansas after their marriage, remaining there until her death. He continued to live there for a time afterwards.45 Robert and Virginia appeared on the 1880 Federal Census of Little Rock, Pulaski Co., Arkansas, at Capital Hotel, enumerated 8 Jun 1880. Their daughter Irene was listed as living with them.4
Capt. Cobb's tombstone
photo by author
     He was the Chief Engineer of the Texas and St. Louis Railway, later the St. Louis, Arkansas, and Texas, in 1881 and 1882. He then spent four years manufacturing machinery at Little Rock, Arkansas.41 In 1886 he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Indiana, Alabama and Texas Railroad. When that line was absorbed by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in 1887 he became the Chief Engineer of construction for the line.41,46,47 During his tenure the former Indiana, Alabama and Texas line, previously completed only from Clarksville part way to Princeton, Kentucky was completed to that city. In the process numerous stations were established, with three of them named for the family. Gracey, in Christian Co., 7½ miles west of Hopkinsville, was established in 1887, supposedly named for his sister's father-in-law. Cobb, in Caldwell Co., 8½ miles southeast of Princeton, was established late the same year, apparently named for him or his sister. Her son, Julien Frank Gracey, was the superintendent of the line at the time. Julian, six miles west of Hopkinsville and established in 1888, was apparently named for him.48
     In 1890 he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Clarksville Mineral Railroad.41 In 1892 he became Chief Engineer the Ohio and Southern Railroad, taking charge of the engineering department, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.41,49,50 While he was there he boarded at the Arcade Hotel. He suffered an attack of grip (apparently grippe, a term for several flu-like diseases) in the winter of 1894 from which he never recovered, and returned to Clarksville in May 1895.51,52
     He was a member of the Knights of Pythias of Little Rock, the Royal Arcanum, one of the oldest fraternal benefit societies in the United States, and Forbes Bivouac, an association of Confederate veterans.53 He elected as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers on 2 Jan 1890.41
     Robert died on 2 Jun 1895 in Clarksville, Montgomery Co., Tennessee, at age 55, at the residence of his sister Irene, after having contacted diphtheria in Cleveland, Ohio in March.17,18,19
     His funeral services were at the Trinity Church (Episcopal), conducted by Rev. R. E. L. Craig. There was a "profusion of floral offerings of the most appropriate and costly designs." The cemetery procession and services were conducted by Forbes Bivouac.54 He was buried on 4 Jun 1895 in Greenwood Cemetery, Clarksville, Tennessee, in the Cobb family lot.20,21

Citations

  1. [S2305] Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, pg 545, shows name as Robert Linah Cobb.
  2. [S3048] "Sudden Death of Dr. Joshua Cobb," The Courier-Journal, 8 Apr 1879, shows name as Capt. Robert L. Cobb.
  3. [S642] Joshua Cobb household, 1850 U.S. Census, Stewart Co., Tennessee, shows name as Robert Cobb.
  4. [S390] R. L. Cobb household, 1880 U.S. Census, Pulaski Co., Arkansas.
  5. [S1015] "Death of Dr. Cobb," The Chronicle, 12 Apr 1879.
  6. [S1023] "Death of Mrs. Cobb," Semi-Weekly Tobacco Leaf, 9 Dec 1890, shows Capt. R. L. Cobb as his son by a former marriage.
  7. [S642] Joshua Cobb household, 1850 U.S. Census, Stewart Co., Tennessee, shows them in same household, apparently as parent and child.
  8. [S3048] "Sudden Death of Dr. Joshua Cobb," The Courier-Journal, 8 Apr 1879.
  9. [S645] Titus, Picturesque Clarksville, pg 268.
  10. [S2305] Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, pg 545, shows date, with year as 1840, place as Cumberland Iron Works, and state.
  11. [S642] Joshua Cobb household, 1850 U.S. Census, Stewart Co., Tennessee, shows age 10 and state, as Tennessee.
  12. [S4413] R. L. Cobb grave marker, Greenwood Cemetery, shows date, with year as 1840.
  13. [S1024] "Capt. R. L. Cobb Dead," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jun 1895, shows year, as 1841, and county.
  14. [S1217] Robert L. Cobb and Jennie A. Tuck, marriage bond, shows date and officiant.
  15. [S1024] "Capt. R. L. Cobb Dead," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jun 1895, shows he married abt. 1877 daughter of Dr. Tuck and sister of Mrs. Thomas H. Elliott.
  16. [S330] Virginia Adelaide Cobb, silver serving piece with twelve small spoons, inscribed on the front JAC (Virginia was commonly known as Jenny), and on the back 1877, which seems likely as her marriage the date based on the birth date of their first child. See also email correspondence between Deborah (Cobb) Manley and author, "Hard Evidence" 23 and 26 Apr 2000.
  17. [S1024] "Capt. R. L. Cobb Dead," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jun 1895, shows "yesterday about 12:30 o'clock p.m." at the residence of his sister and cause of death.
  18. [S2305] Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, pg 546, shows he had an attack of grip from which he never recovered, and died 2 Jun at his early home in Clarksville.
  19. [S4413] R. L. Cobb grave marker, Greenwood Cemetery, shows date.
  20. [S4413] R. L. Cobb grave marker, Greenwood Cemetery.
  21. [S1025] "Springfield, Ohio Directories, 1890-94," Ancestry.com, shows funeral at 10 o'clock "this morning" with interment following.
  22. [S634] Joshua Cobb household, 1840 U.S. Census, Steward Co., Tennessee.
  23. [S1998] Julia Ann Cobb and daughter Ione grave marker, Eddyville Cemetery, shows date.
  24. [S3048] "Sudden Death of Dr. Joshua Cobb," The Courier-Journal, 8 Apr 1879, shows year and place, as Cumberland Iron Works.
  25. [S642] Joshua Cobb household, 1850 U.S. Census, Stewart Co., Tennessee.
  26. [S643] Joshua Cobb, owner, 1850 U.S. Census, Stewart Co., Tennessee, slave schedule.
  27. [S2305] Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, pg 545.
  28. [S2307] Gates, "RE: Records from Stewart College in Clarksville?," e-mail to author, 29 Jun 2009, reporting that an alumni directory which covers the period through 1898 shows Robert L. Cobb is listed as attending Stewart College in 1854 and 1856.
  29. [S2306] "Historical Summary", shows history of the college.
  30. [S7767] Rubel, "Re: Your Post-em on Quintus C. Atkinson," e-mail to author, 21 Jun 2003, includes stroy of using Robert's bedsheet to surrender the fort.
  31. [S646] Montgomery County, Tennessee Genealogy Website, online, War Records, Civil War section, shows name and regiment, as Co. F/ S0th Tenn. Inf. [sic]
  32. [S645] Titus, Picturesque Clarksville, pg 124-5, shows at organization of 50 Tennessee Christmas day 1861 he was named Ordinance Sergeant, and as such supplied the sheet used as a white flag in the surrender of Ft. Donelson.
  33. [S49] Freeman, Family File "David and Deborah.GED," 31 Jul 1998, citing Civil War Records obtained from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
  34. [S1024] "Capt. R. L. Cobb Dead," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jun 1895, shows he was captain in charge of pontoon bridges, most youthful captain of that department.
  35. [S1027] "A Tribute to a Hero," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 13 Jun 1895, shows he was youngest man of that rank in the corps.
  36. [S1027] "A Tribute to a Hero," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 13 Jun 1895, describes organization of pontoonier corps, support of Gen. Hood, and Cobb's role, noting that the author was the senior captain of the unit.
  37. [S1028] "In Memorandum," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jul 1895, describes and Cobb's role capturing pontoon boots in support of Gen. Hood's retreat.
  38. [S2965] United States Congressional Serial Set, Senate Doc. No. 234, 58th Congress, 2nd session, Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, vol 4, 24 May 1864, pp 87-9, shows Robert L. Cobb of Kentucky nominated to rank of captain; pg 165, Congress consented.
  39. [S4413] R. L. Cobb grave marker, Greenwood Cemetery, shows Capt. C.S.A.
  40. [S3364] Advertisement, Cobb & Tapscott, Clarksville Weekly Chronicle, 27 Oct 1865.
  41. [S2305] Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, pg 546.
  42. [S1024] "Capt. R. L. Cobb Dead," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jun 1895, shows he engaged in civil engineering after the war, and removed to Little Rock.
  43. [S4540] Tuft and Cobb, Patent No. 149,002.
  44. [S390] R. L. Cobb household, 1880 U.S. Census, Pulaski Co., Arkansas, shows his occupation as civil engineer for the L. R. & F. S. RR.
  45. [S1024] "Capt. R. L. Cobb Dead," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jun 1895, shows he removed there shortly after their marriage and he stayed until after her death.
  46. [S1024] "Capt. R. L. Cobb Dead," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jun 1895, shows service with Louisville & Nashville.
  47. [S645] Titus, Picturesque Clarksville, pg 268, shows he held L&NRR position in 1887, when the book was published.
  48. [S3425] Rennick, Kentucky Place Names, pp 63, 120, and 156, shows location and date of establishment of each station, and who named for, in the case of Cobb showing "either for the superintendent of the rr or a prosperous and influential family in neighboring Lyon Co." However Julian Gracey was superintendent, and the prominent Cobb's in Lyon county had mostly died or moved away some two decades before.
  49. [S1024] "Capt. R. L. Cobb Dead," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jun 1895, shows service with Ohio & Southwestern.
  50. [S1025] "Springfield, Ohio Directories, 1890-94," Ancestry.com, record for R. L. Cobb, 1893, 94, shows location NEC Limestone and Washington, Springfield, OH, Occupation: chief engineer, Business Name: Ohio Southern Railroad.
  51. [S1025] "Springfield, Ohio Directories, 1890-94," Ancestry.com, record for R. L. Cobb, 1893, 94, shows second location: boards Arcade Hotel.
  52. [S2305] Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, pg 546, shows he had an attack of grip in the winter of 1894, returned South in May 1895.
  53. [S1024] "Capt. R. L. Cobb Dead," Daily Tobacco Leaf, 3 Jun 1895.
  54. [S1025] "Springfield, Ohio Directories, 1890-94," Ancestry.com, shows funeral at 10 o'clock "this morning" with interment following, gives account of funeral.
  55. [S1018] "Local News," Semi-Weekly Tobacco Leaf, 4 May 1886.
  56. [S49] Freeman, Family File "David and Deborah.GED," 31 Jul 1998.
  57. [S1067] Robt L. Cobb Jr., Record of Births in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.
  58. [S1069] Dr. Robert Linah Cobb, Certificate of Death.