Riley Bradford Roberts

Submitted by Greg Curtis

Click photo for full image

Riley Bradford Roberts was born in Blount County, Alabama, around the year 1823. He stood 5 feet 5 inches tall, had gray eyes and dark hair. His Grandfather was Isaac H. Roberts, a member of TN General Assembly in the years of 1837-39 representing Franklin then, 1845-47 representing Coffee County.

On 29 April 1861, at the age of 37. R. B. Roberts enlisted at Altamont into the 1st TN Infantry Co. A. He was given the rank of First Sergeant and went with his company to Richmond Virginia, where the cadets from the Virginia Military Institute drill and trained the Tennessee Soldiers. He was sent back to Winchester, Tennessee on special orders to recruit more volunteers.

Special order 264 was sent from Richmond transferring him from the 1st Tennessee, located in Virginia, to the 35th Tennessee located in his home state of TN. He was under Col. Hill during the Battle of Shiloh. Col. Hill's regiment received high remarks from it superiors.

After Shiloh Sgt. R.B. Roberts was promoted to Captain. During the fighting at Corinth Miss. His men were on picket duty and engaged the enemy and routed them. The 35th was a part of Hardee's Corps during the battle of Perryville KY. Capt. Roberts states that his men were in considerably fighting around Richmond Ky. During the battle of Murfreesboro for his actions Captain Roberts was put in for the Medal of Honor general order number 131/3. While at Tullahoma Capt. Roberts was promoted to Lt. Col.

Beginning November 20th 1863 his division was part of John C. Breckenridge's Corps. At the battle of Chattanooga Lt. Col Roberts was captured at Missionary Ridge and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner.

Of any Grundy County soldier in the Civil War Lt. Col. Riley Bradford Roberts attained the highest rank. By the end of war, He had moved up the ranks from enlisted man to Lt. Col. A feat unmatched by anyone else from the county fighting for the North or the South. Riley Bradford Roberts died in the home of Marion Sweeton in early 1889. He is buried along the road beside the Sweeton Hill Church.

Back to the Grundy County Home Page