CAPTAIN L. D. DOBBS
The Chanute Daily Tribune, Tuesday, May 21, 1918
Died: May 20, 1918
Wounded and Captured Twice,
Esteemed by Foe Because of
Altho he had been ill for a month Capt. L. D. Dobbs of the national military home in Leavenworth, Kas., came here Saturday night to attend the annual state encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic.
“I have never missed one of the state encampments since the first one was held,” he told his comrades, “and I want to do to the thirty-seventh because the sands of my life are running low, and it will probably be the last one I have a chance to attend.
He reported for duty, but was “detailed for service on the other side,” before the session began, dying at 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon at his room in the Oriental Hotel. Death was caused by heart failure, with old age as a contributing cause.
Expected to Get Well
Captain Dobbs was 82 years old. He was taken ill night before last and seemed to be fatally stricken then.
“Don’t worry about me, surgeon,” he told the physician who attended him. “I’m going to get well so I can attend the encampment, for I expect it will be my last.”
Sure enough he rallied, and was able yesterday afternoon to go to the physician’s office. The trip exhausted him, tho, and the physician made him lie down and rest, after cautioning him to conserve his strength. He rested until he thought he was all right, then returned to his hotel. There he was seized by another attack, and expired at 5 o’clock. Members of the Winfield delegation of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic heard his labored breathing and summoned help. He died half an hour afterward.
An Ex-Prisoner of War
Captain Dobbs was for two years senior vice-commander of the National Association of Union Ex-Prisoners of War, and adjutant and quartermaster of the Kansas Association of Union Ex-Prisoners of War, and came here in advance of the encampment to look up ex-prisoners of war in this vicinity.
He was an ex-prisoner of war with an unusual record, displaying so much bravery in the presence of his captors that they held him as a prisoner of honor instead of ordering him executed, according to orders which had been given by the Confederate government.
Subject to Death Sentence
His comrade Captain W. A. Carnahan of the Thirty-Eighth Ohio, gives the following account of the incident as it was told him by an eyewitness---a major in the United States Volunteers:
“Captain Dobbs was a 1st lieutenant in command of the Nineteenth United States Colored Troops. They took part in the blowing up of Petersburg, and he was captured there. The rebel government had issued an order that all captured officers of colored troops should not be treated as prisoners of war, but were to be shot by a firing squad. Because of this such officers usually disguised their ranks when captured.
Refused to Dissemble
“When Captain Dobbs was wounded and saw that capture was inevitable, he made no attempt to disguise his rank. Instead, he retained all of its insignia, including his sword and belt, the same as if he were on duty.
“When he was taken before the brigadier general in charge of the prisoners, the general said to him:
“What is your name and rank?”
“My name is L. D. Dobbs, and I am commander of the Nineteenth Colored Troops,’ the prisoner replied, calmly and without bravado, altho he knew that the order for him to be shot might be given the next minute.
“Bravest I Ever Saw.”
“The brigadier general looked him over and then called his adjutant. Pointing to Captain Dobbs, the general said:
“There’s the bravest Yankee boy I ever saw, and I’ve seen many of them. I am going to turn him over to you as a prisoner of war. I shall hold you personally responsible if so much as a hair of his head is touched, or he is injured in any way.”
In Service Nearly Six Years
Captain Dobbs was taken prisoner twice, both times after having been wounded. He served from April 26, 1861, to March 2, 1867, seeing continuous service for five years, ten months and eight days.
He enlisted at Brookville, Pa., in Company K of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteers, and was in all its engagements as color guard until June 26, 1862, when he was wounded and taken prisoner at Gaines’ Mill, Va., and confined in Castle Thunder and Belle Isle.
A Recruiting Officer.
He was exchanged August 6, 1862, then took part in the battles of Groveon, Bristoe Station, Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Williamsburg, Falling Water, Ashby’s Gap, Mine Run, and New Hope Church.
On December 21, 1863, he was commissioned by President Lincoln as second lieutenant of the Nineteenth United States Colored Troops, and recruited more than 600 men in Maryland in the next three months.
A Barefoot Flight
In 1864 he participated in the battle of the Wilderness campaign, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor and in the storming and capture of three largest forts defending Petersburg.
He was on duty in the trenches at Petersburg until the mine explosion on June 30, 1864, when he was again wounded and taken prisoner, being confined at Danville, Va., Salisbury, N. C., and Columbia, S. C. He escaped from the latter jail by tunneling November 21, 1864, and after tramping forty-one nights thru the mountains of western North and South Carolina and Eastern Tennessee, much of the way barefoot in snow six inches deep he reached the Union lines at Knoxville, Tenn., January 1, 1865. There he found he had been promoted to first lieutenant while in prison.
On February 1, 1865, he was detailed by the secretary of war as a member of the staff of Gen. Lew Wallace of Baltimore. In April of 1865 he rejoined his regiment in Richmond and was appointed acting adjutant. In June, 1865, he was present with his regiment to Brownsville, Tex., on July 5, was appointed Fort Brown at Brownsville, Tex., guarding the property of American citizens at Matamoras, Mexico, during the Caraval rebellion.
He was mustered out at Brownsville, January 15, 1867, and finally discharged at Baltimore, Md., March 2, 1867.
A Great Grand Army Man
“In the passing away of Captain Dobbs the Grand Army losses one of the best workers it ever had.” Captain Carnahan declared. “There are few men in Kansas who could go thru the details of the ritual as Captain Dobbs could go. He was noted Grand Army man from start to finish.”
Captain Dobbs was assistant patriotic instructor of the Kansas department five years, and a member of the National Association of Patriotic Inspectors.
Daughter in Nation’s Service
The body was taken to F. S. Wilson’s undertaking parlors where it is being held awaiting the arrival of word from his daughter, who is a stenographer for the government in Washington. He told Dr. J. H. Light, who attended him, that he had eight children. The daughter in Washington is the only one whose whereabouts were known by any of his comrades here.