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E.L. Hobson

E.L. Hobson

Confederate (CSA)

Lieutenant Colonel

Edwin Lafayette Hobson

(1835 - 1901)

Home State: Alabama

Education: University of Virginia

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 5th Alabama Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

He was a successful 26 year old planter from Greene County, AL when he enrolled as Captain on 11 May 1861 of Company I, 5th Alabama Infantry. He was appointed Major at the reorganization of April 1862 and Lieutenant Colonel on 15 July.

On the Campaign

He commanded the regiment in action at Turner's Gap on South Mountain on the 14th ...

The Fifth Alabama, which had occupied the left center, got separated into two parts in endeavoring to follow up the flank movement of Gordon's regiment [6th Alabama]. Both parts became engaged again before they could rejoin, and the right battalion was finally cut off entirely. The left and smaller battalion, under Major [sic] Hobson's gallant management, though flanked, wheeled against the flanking party, and, by desperate fighting, silenced the enemy so far as to enable his little command to make its way to the peak ... The men and officers generally behaved well, but Colonel Gordon, Sixth Alabama: Major Hobson, Fifth Alabama, and Colonel Battle, Third Alabama, deserve especial mention for admirable conduct during the whole fight
... and in the carnage and confusion of the sunken road (Bloody Lane) and after at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862:
I [Brigade commander Rodes] met Lieutenant-Colonel Lightfoot, of the Sixth Alabama, looking for me. Upon his telling me that the right wing of his regiment was being subjected to a terrible enfilading fire ... I ordered him to hasten back, and to throw his right wing back out of the old road referred to. Instead of executing the order, he moved briskly to the rear of the regiment and gave the command, "Sixth Alabama, about face; forward march." Major Hobson, of the Fifth, seeing this, asked him if the order was intended for the whole brigade; he replied, "Yes," and thereupon the Fifth, and immediately the other troops on their left, retreated. I did not see their retrograde movement until it was too late ...[shortly after] I again turned toward the brigade, when I discovered it, without visible cause to me, retreating in confusion. I hastened to intercept it at the Hagerstown road. I found, though, that, with the exception of a few men from the Twenty-sixth, Twelfth, and Third, and a few under Major Hobson, not more than 40 in all, the brigade had completely disappeared from this portion of the field. This small number, together with some Mississippians (under Colonel ------) and North Carolinians, making in all about 150 men, I rallied and stationed behind a small ridge leading from the Hagerstown road eastward toward the orchard before spoken of, and about 150 yards in rear of my last position, leaving them under the charge of Colonel ----------.

It is proper for me to mention here that this force, with some slight additions, was afterward led through the orchard against the enemy by General D. H. Hill, and did good service, the general himself handling a musket in the fight. Major Hobson and Lieutenant [J. M.] Goff, of the Fifth Alabama (the latter with a musket), bore distinguished parts in the fight.

The rest of the War

He was wounded in action at Chancellorsville, VA on 2 May 1863, hospitalized in Richmond, VA, and wounded again in action at Spotsylvania Court House, VA on 12 May 1864. He was commissioned Colonel of the Regiment at Greensboro on 30 September 1864. He was conspicuous in action at Cedar Creek, VA in October 1864. He was acting Brigade Commander from then to the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on 9 April 1865.

After the War

He lived in Richmond, VA after the War and worked at his father-in-law's company, the Tredegar Iron Works, and had a farm in Goochland County.

References & notes

Basic information from State of Alabama1, with details from Allardice2. Quotes above are from General Rodes' Official Report. His picture here from a photograph in the Huntsville-Madison County (AL) Public Library Archives, taken in 1862. His gravesite is on Findagrave.


10/13/1835; Greensboro, AL


11/19/1901; Richmond, VA; 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, <>, Source page: various  [AotW citation 15714]

2   Allardice, Bruce S., Confederate Colonels, Columbia (Mo): University of Missouri Press, 2008, pg. 197  [AotW citation 15715]