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[image ALT: A photograph of a man of about sixty with a somewhere drooping brush mustache and an air of command. He is Beverly Holcombe Robertson, a West Point graduate whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

General Beverly H. Robertson.

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Forty-Second Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12th, 1911.

 p91  Beverly Holcombe Robertson
No. 1431. Class of 1849.
Died, November 12, 1910, at Washington, D. C., aged 83.

General Robertson, one of the distinguished cavalry officers of the Army of Northern Virginia, died at his residence in Washington, November the 12th. He was one of the type of military men whose education and training beginning with West Point, prolonged by campaigns and skirmishing with the red men of the western plains, concluded his military career with the stirring scenes of the Civil War.º

Son of Dr. William H. Robertson, he was born at The Oaks in Amelia County, Virginia, June 5, 1827. He graduated at West Point in the Class of '49 and was assigned as Second Lieutenant to Col. Chas. A. May's Company E, Second Dragoons, stationed at Socorro, New Mexico. After six months at the Carlisle Cavalry School, he joined his regiment in 1850 in the Territory of New Mexico, where he remained three years, scouting and skirmishing among the Apache, Comanche and Navajo Indians. In the summer of 1855, he commanded Company E, Second Dragoons, in an expedition against the Sioux. He saw active engagements with the Sioux, Apaches and Ute Indians along the La Platte River and was commended for gallantry on more occasions than one. He was mentioned for exhibiting marked bravery in the Battle of Ash Hollow, when, with 300 soldiers, he held at bay a band of Indians numbering over 3,000 till reinforcements arrived.

General Robertson took part in the Battle of Blue Water (Meme-to-nak‑pala) fought September 3rd, against the Brule Sioux under Little Thunder. An incident of this portion of his western military life is related by Patrick McEneany of this city, who served General Robertson in the Nebraska  p92 campaigns, and who states on one occasion the Brules to the number of thousands put the members of Troop E on their mettle. The battle was one no member of the Second Dragoons ever forgot. They fought the Indians stubbornly from four o'clock in the morning till five o'clock at night. The Indians persisted, but the overwhelming number of hostiles finally had to yield to the tactful, well-organized charges of Company E on the firing line.

Colonel Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Philip St. George Cooke in immediate command of all the mounted troops, in his orders, especially complimented Company E, Second Dragoons, in the battle with Little Thunder, and General Robertson was made adjutant of the regiment till promoted to Captain in 1861. When Colonel Cooke received orders to relieve Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Albert Sydney Johnston in Utah in 1860, General Robertson accompanied him as Assistant Adjutant-General, remaining in that Department until early in June, 1861, when he resigned from the U. S. Army, and was commissioned Colonel of Cavalry in the Volunteer and Captain in the Adjutant-General's Department of the Confederate States Service. He organized the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, which he commanded till the death of Turner Ashby, whom he succeeded as Brigadier-General, relieving Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley.

General Robertson commanded Jackson's Cavalry in the fight with Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Pope at Slaughter's Mountain, was in the raid which captured Pope's Hd. Qr. wagon train at Catlett's Station, commanded a brigade at the Second Battle of Manassas, and fought the Battle of White Hall. He has left interesting notes of the battles in which he participated from this time on (for which I wish I had space) till the Gettysburg Campaign, where he did able service against General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Pleasonton, and later in the war commanded the coast line assigned to him between Charleston and Savannah, also interesting facts in regard to the engagements on John's Island and at Honey Hill.

 p93  At the close of the Civil War, or a few years after his return from Memphis, General Robertson came to Washington and engaged in the real estate business. He held a high and honored position for many years among men of business and of affairs of this city and socially was one of the most loved and popular of men. He died very quietly in his own home, his body returned to its own in Amelia County, Virginia. His wife, who was Miss Virginia Neville Johnston, a cousin of General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Joseph E. Johnston, and a famous southern beauty, left him four sons. Two, Lieut. Churchill Robertson, U. S. A., and Julius Robertson dying some years ago; two, Henry Robertson, at present Consul-General to Peru, and John C. Robertson, professor of languages at St. Stephen's College, Annandale, New York.

A touching tribute to the memory of General Robertson was the presence at his funeral, from St. John's Church, of two troopers who were in his old regiment during the Indian wars.

Requiescat in pace.

L. L. L.

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Page updated: 13 Jan 11