Colonel William Todd Robins
Who is Colonel William Todd Robins?
William Todd Robins was the father of General Augustine Warner Robins, for whom the Air Force Base, Air Logistics Center and City of Warner Robins were named.
William Todd Robins enlisted June 17, 1861 as a private in Lee's Rangers, a cavalry company recruited by W.H.F. Lee, which became Company H of the 9th Virginia Cavalry. As the text below will attest, Robins rose through the ranks quickly to command a regiment by mid-way through the war.
Born 11/22/1835. Attended VMI and was employed as a lawyer. Enlisted 6/17/61 in Co. H. Appointed acting Sgt.-Major of the regiment, 7/3/61. Appointed acting Adjutant of the regiment, 4/15/62. Robins was especially distinguished during Stuart's June 1862 ride around McClellan. Became Assistant Adjutant General to (colonel) W.H.F. Lee in Oct. 1862, and was later Lt. Col. of the 40th Va. Cav. Bn. and the 42nd Va. Cav. Bn., then Col. of the 24th Va. Cav. Robins died 10/26/1906 in Richmond, Virginia. W.T. Robins is buried at Ware Episcopal Church cemetery in Gloucester County Virginia. [ Find-A-Grave Gravestone memorial ] Details on his service, units, links and sources are list below.
The following tribute to William Todd Robins was written by Maryus Jones (on behalf of the Magruder Camp of United Confederate Veterans) and sent the editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, dated December 1, 1906.
A Confederate Hero
Editor of the Times-Dispatch:
Sir:--You will find accompanying this note a brief sketch of the life and services of Colonel William Todd Robins, which the Magruder Camp of Confederate Veterans requested me to enclose you for publication in the Confederate column.
Very truly yours,
William Todd Robins
The ranks of the veterans of the great war between the States are thinning with fearful rapidity. The Confederate veterans have illustrated, no less in the peaceful avocations of life than on the battlefield, that heroism which astonished the world. When the end came and all hope seemed crushed, they returned to their desolated homes, and by patient industry built up the waste places. They had no government to pension them. The same men who, amid screaming shells and hissing bullets, had carried the banner of constitutional freedom to so many victories, went to the peaceful pursuits of life with such indomitable patience and quiet industry, that ere a generation had passed their beloved Southland began to bloom and blossom like the rose. As we contemplate the heroic lives and the honored graves of such men we can say--On fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.
Among these heroic men, William Todd Robins bore no inconspicuous part. Born at the home of his maternal grandfather in the county of King and Queen, on the 22d day of November, 1835, he was in his twenty-sixth year when the War between the States  began. His father was Agustine Warner Robins, of Gloucester county, Va. He was a lineal descendant of John Robins, who came to Virginia in 1622. This John Robins was a member of the House of Burgesses in 1646. In 1642 there had been patented to him 3,000 acres of land in Gloucester county. The peninsula between the Ware and Severn Rivers is still known as 'Robins' Neck.' Agustine Wrner Robins at one time represented Gloucester in the Legislature. The mother of the subject of this sketch was from King and Queen county, and died at his birth. He was reared at the old Robins homestead, 'Level Green,' in Gloucester, by his grandfather, William Robins.
When the first tocsin of war sounded in 1861, William Todd Robins enlisted as a private soldier in the Lee Rangers--a cavalry company recruited by W. H. F. Lee, who was its first captain. The company was attached to the Ninth Regiment of the Virginia Cavalry, of which Captain Lee became the Colonel. In January, 1862, William Todd Robins was made sergeant-major of the regiment. In April, 1862, he became its adjutant, with the rank of first lieutenant. In October, 1862, he was made assistant adjutant-general and chief of staff of Brigadier-General W. H. F. Lee, with the rank of captain. In August, 1863, he was made the commander of the Forty-eighth Battalion of Virginia Cavalry, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and in January, 1864, he was made the colonel of the Twenty fourth Regiment of Virginia Cavalry. Colonel Robins had eight horses shot under him in battle, and was wounded three times. He was riding by the side of Captain Latane when he (Latane) was killed.
In his report of the celebrated ride around McClellan's army, Colonel Lee says: 'I should like to call your attention to the conduct of my adjutant, Lieutenant W. T. Robins, who conducted in a very handsome manner the advance of my regiment when it was in front, and the rear when it was in the rear. He was also in both of the charges.' General Stuart, in his report, says: 'The regiment in front was the Ninth Virginia Cavalry (Colonel W. H. F. Lee), whose advance guard, entrusted to the command of the adjutant (Lieutenant Robins) did admirable service. Lieutenant Robins handled it in the most skillful manner, managing to clear the way for the march with little delay, and infusing by a sudden dash at a picket such wholesome terror that it never paused to take  a second look. On, on, dashed Robins--here skirting a field, there leaping a fence or ditch and clearing the woods beyond. First-Lieutenant W. T. Robins, adjutant of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry, would be a valuable addition to the regular army.'
In the famous charge at Samaria Church, on the 24th of June, 1864, Colonel Robins was wounded. It was there that, with eight companies from the Twenty-fourth Regiment, dismounted from their horses, he led a charge on the enemy, heavily entrenched in a pine woods. The entrenchments were scaled and the enemy driven out. A captain in the Federal army told the writer that a division of men were behind those entrenchments. If Colonel Robins' modesty had not equalled his valor, that charge would have immortalized him. He took it merely as a matter of course. The writer served with Colonel Robins, and can testify of his own knowledge of his gallantry and devotion.
He was twice married, first to Miss Martha Smith, of Gloucester, a niece of Mr. Alexander Seddon, and second, to Miss Sally Berkeley Nelson, also of Gloucester.
About twelve years ago Colonel Robins moved from Gloucester to Richmond, where he died on the 28th day of October, 1906. He left a widow and six children.
His body was carried to Gloucester for interment. He had requested that there should be no display at his funeral, but that his coffin should be wrapped in the Confederate flag. His wishes were respected. The crowd that met the body at the steamer attested the affection his people bore him. Tenderly his comrades laid the body of the old hero to rest to await the resurrection morn.
Stuart's Ride Around McClellan
by Colonel W.T. Robins, C.S.A.
Read W.T. Robins' Account of Stuart's Daring Ride June 1862 (4 pages)
From "BATTLES & LEADERS OF THE CIVIL WAR", Johnson & Buell, eds., pp. 271-75
9th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
About 9th VA Cav
Rosters reference: 9th Va. Cavalry by Robert K. Krick. 4th Edition 1982.
9th Cavalry Regiment was formed in January 1862, using the 1st Battalion Virginia Cavalry as its nucleus. Its companies were from the counties of Stafford, Caroline, Westmoreland, Lancaster, Essex, Spotsylvania, Lunenburg, King William, King George, and Richmond. The unit served in W. H. F. Lee's, Chambliss', and Beale's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. It fought in the Seven Days' Battles and the conflicts at Gainesville, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Dumfries, Rapidan Station, Brandy Station, Upperville, Hanover, Gettysburg, Williamsport, Funkstown, and Culpeper Court House. The 9th went on to fight at Bristoe, Mine Run, The Wilderness, and Todd's Tavern. Later it skirmished around Richmond and Petersburg, then was active in the Appomattox operations. This unit reported 32 casualties at Upperville, lost four percent of the 490 engaged at Gettysburg, and had 22 disabled at Williamsport. It surrendered 1 officer and 26 men. The field officers were Colonels Richard L. I Beale, John E. Johnson, William H. F. Lee, and Thomas Waller; Lieutenant Colonel Meriwether Lewis; and Major Samuel A. Swann.
A good roster for Company H, 9th VA Cav is here: 9thvirginia.com/coh.html
From the alphabetic muster roll for 9th VA Cav, by ranger95.com, we have the following summary for Robins:
ROBINS, WILLIAM TODD: b. 11/22/1835. att. VMI. Lawyer. enl. 6/17/61 in Co. H. Appointed acting Sgt. Major of the regiment, 7/3/61. Appointed acting Adjutant of the regiment, 4/15/62. Robins was especially distinguished during Stuart's June 1862 ride around McClellan. Became a.a.g. to W.H.F. Lee in Oct. 1862, and was later Lt. Col. of the 40th Va. Cav. Bn. and the 42nd Va. Cav. Bn., then Col. of the 24th Va. Cav. d. 10/26/1906 in Richmond.
40th Virginia Cavalry Battalion
40th Cavalry Battalion was organized in July 1863, with six companies. It served in the Department of Richmond and confronted the Federals in southeastern Virginia. During September it merged into the 42nd Battalion Virginia Cavalry. Lieutenant Colonel William T. Robins and Major John F. Wren were in command.[The 42nd VA Cav was consolidated into the 24th VA Cav June 1864]
42nd Virginia Cavalry Battalion
42nd Cavalry Battalion was organized in September 1863, by consolidating the 32nd and 40th Battalions Virginia Cavalry. The unit contained eight companies and served in the Department of Richmond. During May 1864, it contained 216 effectives and in June merged into the 24th Regiment Virginia Cavalry. Lieutenant Colonel William T. Robins and Major John R. Robertson were in command.
24th Virginia Cavalry Regiment
24th Cavalry Regiment was organized in June 1864, by consolidating eight companies of the 42nd Virginia Cavalry and two companies of Dearing's Confederate Cavalry. This unit served in General Gary's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia, and fought in various conflicts around Richmond. Later it was involved in the Appomattox Campaign and surrendered with 19 officers and 144 men. Its commanders were Colonel William T. Robins, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore G. Barham, and Major John R. Robertson.
REFERENCE and more reading:
History of the 9th Virginia Cavalry, in the War Between the States by Richard Lee Tuberville Beale
Twenty-fourth Virginia Cavalry Regiment by Darryl Holland
MEMOIRS of the Stuart Horse Artillery Battalion: Volume 2 - Breathed's and McGregor's Batteries University of Tennessee Press/Knoxville, 2010, Edited by Robert J. Trout. Voices of the Civil War: Peter S. Carmichael, Series Editor
Lee's Colonels: A Biographical Register of the Field Officers of the Army of Northern Virginia by Robert Krick (Dayton: Morningside House, 1991)
Southern Historical Society Papers Volume 34
9th Virginia Cavalry website
Ranger95.com on Virginia Units
Wiki: 24th Virginia Cavalry
Wiki: Augustine Warner Robins
Find-A-Grave: William Todd Robins