Since I have been working on the Chickamauga section of the book, I have done a little more digging into the life of Lt. Col. Edmund Kirby, 58th NCT. Edmund was a cousin of Colonel Palmer’s wife, Fanny M. Kirby. They are all a part of the large, New England Kirby family. As a side note, Fanny Kirby Palmer’s brother is the Edmund Kirby that was in charge of a battery at Chancellorsville, where he was mortally wounded. He was breveted brigadier general on his deathbed by Lincoln.
Here is what I have found:
Edmund Kirby was born March 13, 1839. His father was Maj. Reynolds Marvin Kirby, a member of the 1st United States Artillery. Major Kirby lost his life in 1842 during the Seminole Wars. Edmund was educated at school in Richmond before entering the Virginia Military Academy. While at VMI, he was one of the cadets who witnessed the execution of John Brown.
Following his graduation from VMI in 1861, Kirby was a drill master at Camp Lee near Richmond. He then worked with a Tennessee regiment, but while at Harper’s Ferry, became ill and was forced to return home. Once Kirby regained his health, he joined R. Lindsay Walker’s Artillery battalion, and was soon a sergeant, drilling his new comrades.
In 1862, John B. Palmer asked that Kirby be assigned to the 58th North Carolina Troops. He first served as adjutant of the regiment, and was undoubtably the regiment’s drill master. On the eve of the battle of Chickamauga, probably on September 17, Kirby was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He clipped his stars out of tin and affixed them to his collar. As the 58th North Carolina advanced toward the Federal works at Chickamauga, they came out of the woods at an angle. Kirby’s side of the regiment was but a dozen yards from the Federal lines. The left side of the regiment was 60 yards from the Federal line. The right of the regiment was giving way, and Kirby was attempting to rally his men when struck by four bullets.
Kirby was buried on the battlefield with other officers from the 58th North Carolina. He was disinterred and on October 30, 1863, he was buried in Shockoe Cemetery in Richmond.
The Daily Dispatch had this to say the day after the funeral:
"Young, brave, of fine intellect, and with a noble disposition, he was a great favorite in the army, and had the brightest prospects in the profession he had chosen"