This year begins a three-year celebration of the upcoming Alabama Bicentennial in 2019. For three years, we will celebrate Alabama Places (2017), Alabama People (2018), and Alabama Stories (2019). To help celebrate, Dr. John Kvach (History Professor at UAH) has written several blog posts about several different locations on our North Alabama Geocaching Passport. The passport can be found at Happy reading and hunting for those geocaches

“A brave and simple man who died in a brave and simple faith,” are the remaining words on Thomas Hobbs’s tombstone in a cemetery nestled in the hills of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Hobbs, like thousands of young Alabamians, lay at rest hundreds of miles from their homes because they never made it out of Virginia alive.

Thomas Hobbs had lived a good life and a comfortable one. He had traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Charlottesville, Virginia, to further his education and kept a journal of his travels. Upon returning home to Athens assumed a position in town that allowed him to fill his days with his legal work and his hobbies. Life was good during the 1850s. Suddenly, events around Hobbs began to swirl beyond his control. Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860, Alabama leaves the Union in 1861, and the bombardment of Fort Sumter left Hobbs and the rest of the nation reeling.

Thomas Hobbs became a new type of leader in Athens. Eager to serve his new nation, he raised Company F as part of the Ninth Alabama Infantry. This meant that he had to raise almost a hundred men and the supplies necessary to keep them in the field. Captain Thomas Hobbs had a new job!

The North Alabama Civil War Trail was a much different one for Hobbs than it does for you today. As he marched northward he passed through East Tennessee and into the mountain of Virginia knowing full well that he could die in battle. Yet the march into Virginia proved to be as dangerous as battle. More men died of sickness than gunshots during the Civil War.

It did not take long for war to find Hobbs. During the Spring of 1862 Union forces began a long week of attacks around Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy. On June 27, 1862, a bullet found Hobbs at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill. A month later, after intense suffering, Thomas Hobbs passed from this earth and into the earth of Virginia, never to return home again.