The Kennesaw Line: A Casualty at Kolb Farm

Calvin and James Walker
Calvin and James Walker

Among those who fell under the iron hail at Kolb Farm was 40-year-old Colonel Calvin Harvey Walker of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry of Cook’s Tennessee Brigade. Walker, known to his men as “Old Ballie,” was described by a soldier in his regiment as, “an excellent physician, a cheerful, genial companion, [and] an exceedingly kindhearted man.”

Walker resided in Giles County, Tennessee before the war with his wife, Helen, and their three children. Walker was a farmer and physician, owning 12 slaves and holding $18,700 in real estate and $10,000 in personal estate in 1860. Although he had attended West Point for two years (1840-42), he left the Academy to pursue a career in Medicine. When war clouds loomed, he raised a company and was elected its captain, while his brother was made a sergeant. Walker saw service and captivity at Fort Donelson and, upon exchange, was made Colonel of the 3rd while his brother, James, replaced him as Captain of Company H. Walker led his regiment in the Vicksburg Campaign and saw his brother wounded and disabled at the battle of Raymond.

Walker would continue on with his regiment to fight at Chickamauga, where he was wounded, but he recovered in time to lead his regiment in the Atlanta Campaign. At Kolb Farm, Walker led his Tennesseans into the charge from the front. As the iron storm burst over his command, he tried to steady the men—but then a shell exploded and struck him in the face with a large fragment. An eyewitness noted that the shrapnel “blew off all his head except chin and rather long whiskers.” A fragment of his skull struck and wounded another officer nearby. A gruesome death indeed.

Walker’s remains were later sent back to his family in Giles County, joining his friend, the former Major of the regiment, Favel Barber, who fell at Resaca a month before.

4 Responses to The Kennesaw Line: A Casualty at Kolb Farm

  1. He was succeeded by Calvin Clack, who I believe was KIA at Jonesboro. All three were dug up and brought back after the war, Walker and Barber being buried in Giles County, and Clack in Maury County.

  2. I lost an ancestor at the same battle. James Columbus Langston was found gutshot on the battlefield by two of his brothers, Parker and Jasper, but they weren’t allowed to stay with him. His father later went back and found and buried him. (there were 6 Langston brothers in the 20th. Alabama Infantry)

    1. That is amazing–six brothers! How many of them ultimately survived? Where were others wounded or killed?

  3. Walker was returned to Tennessee after the war. His casket was covered by the flag of the 3rd Tenn Infantry. Also oh his casket was his sword, belt, dragoon revolver, personal bible, and his diary.

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