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Capt Peter Francis Alba
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Birth: Feb. 13, 1833
Pensacola
Escambia County
Florida, USA
Death: Dec. 23, 1915
Mobile
Mobile County
Alabama, USA

Captain Alba was born in Pensacola,Florida. His father, John F. De Alba was of Spanish ancestry. His mother Eugenia Souchet, was of French heritage. His family settled in the Florida Panhandle during the 17th century. He was named after his paternal grandfather Pedro Francis De Alba.

He moved with his mother, and three sisters to Mobile, Alabama at the age of 8. They lived just north of Mobile in the community of Toulminville. Peter attended an all boys school in Springhill, where he rode by horseback daily. This began his affection for animals, horses in particular. Even as a young boy he was very skilled as a horseman, a superior swimmer and an excellent marksman with firearms and a bow and arrow.

As a teenager, his yearning for adventure led him to quit school at the age of 15 and set out on his own. He removed first to New Orleans and then to Saint Louis Missouri. At the age of 20 he joined the U.S. Army. He achieved the rank of Sergeant and worked as a Ranger on the Southwest Plains fighting Indians.

"SECOND UNITED STATES CAVALRY." The Second United States Cavalry, one of four new regiments approved by Congress on March 4, 1855, was organized specifically for service on the Texas frontier. It was an elite organization. The troopers rode the finest horses and were issued the latest equipment and firearms. The officers were hand picked by Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War for President Franklin Pierce. Thus the regiment was known as "Jeff Davis's Own."

Most of the officers, like Davis, were West Point graduates and Southerners. The regiment was known for the outstanding quality of the sixteen general officers it produced in the 6 years of its existence. Eleven of these men became Confederate Generals, and the Second Cavalry supplied one-half, or four, of the full generals of the Confederate Army; Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, Edmund Kirby Smith, and John Bell Hood.

Although Pierce had first promised the command to Benjamin McCulloch, Davis named Albert Sidney Johnston the first commander of the Second Cavalry. The unit was commanded at various times by George H. Thomas, Earl Van Dorn, and Robert E. Lee. Lee commanded the regiment on three occasions-first during the spring of 1855, when the unit was organizing; second during the fall of 1857, when Colonel Johnston was reassigned to campaign against the Mormons in Utah; and finally in the winter of 1860-61. The Second Cavalry was Robert E. Lee's last command in the United States Army before the outbreak of The American Civil War.

The regiment left Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, Missouri on October 27, 1855, and after riding through Missouri, a corner of Arkansas, and the Indian Territory, crossed the Red River into Texas near the Preston Supply Depot on December 15, 1855. When the unit reached Fort Belknap in Young County the command was divided; Maj. William J. Hardee took a detachment of four companies to establish Camp Cooper on the Clear Fork of the Brazos in what is now Throckmorton County, and the rest of the regiment continued south to establish regimental headquarters at Fort Mason in January 1856."

Captain Alba fought Indians along side Colonel Robert E. Lee and became friends with one of his daughters to whom he made a gift of a horse.

Upon the outbreak of the American Civil war, Alba resigned from the U.S. Army and joined the Confederate Army to train cavalrymen in the state of Texas. He subsequently joined company K of the 15th Alabama Cavalry and later enlisted in Murphy's Cavalry Brigade as a private. He was shortly promoted to Sergeant.

Captain Alba returned to Mobile following the war and evolved into a popular and prosperous business man. He was famous for his ability to handle horses and even studied veterinary medicine. He also ran a livery stable and "Alba's Pasture" for the care and boarding of horses near downtown Mobile. He traveled the world and shipped exotic horses from foreign lands, home to Mobile. He was an undertaker, a cabinet maker and served as the City Sexton for Mobile, Alabama in 1890 & 1891. He established Mobile Transfer Company (a baggage handling company). He was king of the Mobile Carnival festival in 1875 and instrumental in the forming of the Mobile Humane Society.

Captain Alba was well known for sharing his prosperity with local charities. He donated land in Grand Bay, Alabama for the building of a Rosenwald School, which was a foundation for establishing educational institutions for African American children in the early 20th century. Alba High School (Now Alba Middle School) in south Mobile County was named in his honor. U.S. census records indicate that his latter days were spent in residences in Coden, Dauphin Island and downtown Mobile, Alabama.

He was laid to rest in beautiful Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama along with his son John F. Alba who died November 5, 1898 at the age of 33 and daughters Mary A. Alba who passed away on February 21, 1892 and Sophia H. Alba who died on September 28, 1900.

Captain Alba went to his reward in 1915,two days before Christmas. His funeral was conducted in the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception by the Bishop of the Mobile diocese, Rev. Edward P. Allen. Graveside services were conducted by Rev. Father Gerow. Prayers were said by Father Kennedy, Pastor of the church in Bayou La Batre.

A Confederate Flag was draped over his coffin. Joseph Hermann Jr., bugler for the Raphael Semmes camp of United Confederate Veterans, played taps and camp drummer Louis Rafield sounded the last tattoo. Members of the camp led the muffled drum procession from the cathedral to the cemetery.

Pallbearers were:

Honorary; Mayor P.J. Lyons, City Commissioners Pillans and Scwartz. Messers R.V.Taylor,James W. Little,Fredrick J. Thompson, Capt. A.C. Danner, Judges Safford Berney, O.J. Semmes and S.B. Browne.

Active: Dr. W.M. Mann, Dr. E. CraIghead, Capt. G.M. Van Liew, Rabbi Alford G. Moses, Colonel Thomas M. Stevens and Mr. P.E. Diruib

He was interred in historic Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama.

 
 
Family links: 
 Children:
  John F Alba (1865 - 1898)*
  Mary A Alba (1868 - 1892)*
  Sophia Alba Smith (1889 - 1966)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Magnolia Cemetery
Mobile
Mobile County
Alabama, USA
 
Created by: David Cahoon
Record added: Oct 24, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 43466970
Capt Peter Francis Alba
Added by: Tim Childree
 
Capt Peter Francis Alba
Added by: Tim Childree
 
Capt Peter Francis Alba
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Thomas
 
 
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Click on image for full size.


- Billie T
 Added: Jun. 16, 2013

- Hutch
 Added: Mar. 12, 2013
"Toujours Pret" ALWAYS READY was the Motto of the U.S. 2ND Cavalry of which you were a very important part. This unit furnished 1/2 of the Full Generals of the C.S.A. including General R.E. Lee.Thanks for your service to your Country, your State and you...(Read more)
- David Cahoon
 Added: Oct. 29, 2009
 
 
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