George B. Cosby

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George Blake Cosby
George Blake Cosby.jpg
Brig. Gen. George B. Cosby
Born(1830-01-19)January 19, 1830
Louisville, Kentucky
DiedJune 29, 1909(1909-06-29) (aged 79)
Oakland, California
Buried
AllegianceUnited States of America
Confederate States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Confederate States Army
Years of service1852–1861 (USA)
1861–1865 (CSA)
RankUnion army cpt rank insignia.jpg Captain (USA)
Brigadier General (CSA)
Unit2nd United States Cavalry
United States Mounted Riflemen
Commands heldCosby's Cavalry Brigade
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War
Other workFarmer, sutler, engineer, government official

George Blake Cosby (January 19, 1830 – June 29, 1909), was a Confederate States Army Brigadier General during the American Civil War. He was an 1852 graduate of the United States Military Academy and served in the United States Army until May 10, 1861. In his antebellum years, he was a farmer in California, a sutler in Oregon and held several government positions.

Early life[edit]

George Blake Cosby was born on January 19, 1830 in Louisville, Kentucky.[1][2] He graduated 17th of 43 in the 1852 class of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.[1][2] He was assigned as a brevet Second Lieutenant to the U.S. Mounted Riflemen Regiment on July 1, 1852 and was appointed a full Second Lieutenant on September 16, 1852.[1] Cosby was wounded fighting Native Americans (Indians) at Lake Trinidad, Texas on May 9, 1854.[3] Cosby transferred to the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Regiment on March 3, 1855.[1] He was promoted to First Lieutenant on May 1, 1856 and to captain on May 8, 1861.[1] He taught cavalry tactics at West Point before his resignation to join the Confederate States Army.[4] Cosby resigned on May 10, 1861 in order to join the Confederate Army.[1]

American Civil War[edit]

On May 16, 1861, George B. Cosby was appointed Captain and assistant adjutant general in the regular army of the Confederate States.[1] On June 20, 1861, he was promoted to Major with the same duties.[1] He also became assistant adjutant general of the Army of the Peninsula until the following month. Between November 9, 1861 and February 16, 1861, he was assistant adjutant general and chief of staff for Brigadier General Simon B. Buckner.[1] As such, Cosby brought the note that opened negotiations for the surrender of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, on February 16, 1862, from Brigadier General Buckner to Union Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant.[2][3] Cosby was captured as a result of the surrender of the Fort Donelson. He was not exchanged until August 15, 1862.[1]

Upon his return to duty in August 1862, Cosby was appointed Colonel of cavalry.[1] In October, 1862, he was appointed chief of staff of the Army of Mississippi and on December 23, 1862, chief of staff for the District of the Gulf, Department No. 2. Cosby was promoted to Brigadier General on January 20, 1863[5] and given command of a cavalry brigade in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana.[1] In February and March, 1863, his brigade was assigned to the Army of Tennessee.[1] They served under General Joseph E. Johnston in the campaign around Jackson, Mississippi which was planned to relieve the Siege of Vicksburg.[2] In March 1863, Cosby's brigade was assigned to the division of Brigadier General William H. Jackson in the Army of Mississippi and then to the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana.[1] The brigade was assigned to Major General Earl Van Dorn in August and September, 1863, then returned to the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, which became the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana.[1] While under Van Dorn's command, Cosby fought in the Battle of Thompson's Station, Tennessee.[3][6]

In February 1864, Cosby and his brigade were assigned to the Department of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee until September 1864, when they were assigned to the Department of West Virginia and East Tennessee until the end of the war.[1] Cosby had between 2,000 and 4,000 men under his command at various times during this assignment.[7] Cosby was paroled in Kentucky in May, 1865.[1] He had disbanded his men when he heard about the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.[7]

Bronze bust of Gen. Cosby at Vicksburg

Aftermath[edit]

After the Civil War, Cosby moved to Butte County, California where he was a farmer.[1][2] For a period of time, he also was a sutler in Oregon.[1] He held several government positions, including Secretary of the Board of State Engineers and member of the West Point Board of Visitors.[2]

General Cosby committed suicide on June 29, 1909 at Oakland, California, allegedly due to continuing pain from his old war wounds.[1][2][3][8] George Blake Cosby was buried in the City Cemetery, Sacramento, California.[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 186
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959. ISBN 0-8071-0823-5. p. 64
  3. ^ a b c d Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 0-8160-1055-2. p. 145
  4. ^ Boatner, Mark Mayo, III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: McKay, 1988. ISBN 0-8129-1726-X. First published New York, McKay, 1959. p. 204
  5. ^ He was officially appointed a Brigadier General on April 23, 1863. Boatner, 1988, p. 204.
  6. ^ Boatner, 1988, p. 204.
  7. ^ a b Stanchak, John E. "Cosby, George Blake" in Historical Times Illustrated History of the Civil War, edited by Patricia L. Faust. New York: Harper & Row, 1986. ISBN 978-0-06-273116-6. p. 108
  8. ^ While Warner refers to Cosby's Confederate war wounds, Eicher does not list any significant wounds in the summary of Cosby's Confederate record and Sifakis states that the wounds probably were his severe wounds from Indian fighting.

References[edit]

  • Boatner, Mark Mayo, III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: McKay, 1988. ISBN 0-8129-1726-X. First published New York, McKay, 1959.
  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Stanchak, John E. "Cosby, George Blake" in Historical Times Illustrated History of the Civil War, edited by Patricia L. Faust. New York: Harper & Row, 1986. ISBN 978-0-06-273116-6. p. 186.
  • Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 0-8160-1055-2.
  • Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959. ISBN 0-8071-0823-5.

External links[edit]