(c. 1842 - 1863)
Home State: Alabama
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 4th Alabama Infantry
He was 17 years old at the 1860 US Census. He was an unmarried student from Huntsville, AL when he enlisted as Private on 26 April 1861 in Company I, 4th Alabama Infantry. He was present at most engagements from First to Second Manassas, VA. He was promoted Corporal by April 1862.
On the Campaign
Present in action on South Mountain.
The rest of the War
He was promoted to 5th Sergeant by December 1862. He was at Suffolk and Fort Huger, and reduced to Private by June 1863. He was mortally wounded in action at Gettysburg, PA on 2 July 1863 in the third assault on Little Round Top:
There was Rube Franks ... just returned from his home in Alabama, his new uniform bright with color, the envy of all his comrades, his gladsome face beaming as if his sweetheart's kiss had materialized on his lips, calling to his comrades; "Come on, boys; come on! The Fifth Texas will get there before the Fourth! Come on, boys, come on!" He shortly afterwards met the fatal shot.Shot through the bowels, he was removed to the Plank Farm and died that day or the next. He was buried at the back of Plank's barn.
After the War
His were among a group of 98 soldiers' remains removed from burial on the field and taken in 11 boxes to Richmond, VA in August 1872 and buried in a mass grave at Hollywood Cemetery.
References & notes
Basic information from State of Alabama1, which has him as R.B. Franks. Further details from the Buseys.2 The quote above from W.C. Ward, also of the 4th Alabama at Gettysburg, in a speech at Birmingham in 1900; found in Reardon and Vossler's Field Guide to Gettysburg (2013). His gravesite is on Findagrave. There may also be a stone for him in Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, AL. Family genealogists have him as Rufus D. Franks, probably from the spelling in the 1860 Census. His middle initial is also "B" in the 1850 Census and in the Huntsville City Directory for 1859-60.
c. 1842 in AL
07/02/1863 Gettysburg, PA; burial in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA
1 State of Alabama, Dept. of Archives & History, Alabama Civil War Service Database, Published 2004, first accessed 01 January 2010, <http://www.archives.state.al.us/civilwar/index.cfm>, Source page: various [AotW citation 15735]
2 Busey, John W., and Travis W. Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg: A Comprehensive Record, Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Company, 2017, pp. 45-46 [AotW citation 15764]