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Robert Kyle, born abt 1847
Home Up Charles Kyle, born 1840 Ellis Kile/Kyle, born abt 1845 Robert Kyle, born abt 1847 Lewis Kyle, born abt 1853 George Kyle I Albert Kyle, born abt 1860 Meloen Kyle Mather Kyle George Kyle Edmon Kyle

Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.

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President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation effective January 1, 1863 and in December of that year forces under command of Brig. General William Averall are believed to have included at least one U.S. Colored Troops regiment sent on a raid into Salem, Virginia to disrupt/destroy the railway network therein.

It is logical to assume the force would have included persons in uniform knowledgeable of the railway and depots located in Salem.  Our reasoning is that 44th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops  organized at Chattanooga in months before and possibly Ellis and Robert Kyle, his younger brother had enlisted therein likely as runaway slaves from working on the confederate railway lines.

We believe this is the same Robert Kyle, brother of Ellis Kyle cited by great nephew William Thomas Atkins as escaping slavery in Salem via a Union Regiment in which he had enlisted, fell from a mule and broke his leg in vicinity of Winchester, Virginia, ...

... was captured by pursuing Confederate forces around Winchester and returned to re-enslavement in Salem, sentenced by County Court to punishment of whipped each day for one year in front of Salem Courthouse as a warning to other potential slave runaways.  Confederate policy was to either kill Black troops or if captured, return them to their places of enslavement for punishment. 

Crippled by the beatings/torture and leg that never fully healed, Robert reportedly was "tough as nails" and survived a number of years afterwards.

William Averell's Cavalry Raid on the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad HistoryNet

And, both his father and mother were subsequently punished with the father being sold down river to Mississippi, leaving Robert behind and after the Union Army in 1864-1865 returned and captured Salem, he obviously was alive and well enough to be listed as a Union soldier. 

R. Kyle is the name carved into the breech loading musket now in the possession of William Thomas Atkins, Jr. handed down from father William Thomas Atkins, Sr. received from his great uncle Ellis Kyle; and, we thus assume Ellis inherited upon his brother Robert's death that preceded his own.

It is reasonable to assume that though R. Kyle was captured by confederates soon after enlisting in the Union forces, he was still carried on their records as either missing in action, presumed dead or prisoner of war though confederates categorized and classified him as a runaway slave.  Jefferson Davis had threatened to try such men as "traitors" and have them executed as such but Abraham Lincoln warned him the same treatment would be reciprocated against rebels captured by the Union forces.

Kyle, R. S.UnionInfantry44th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry

44th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry Regiment history follows:

Organized at Chattanooga, Tenn., April 7, 1864. Attached to District of Chattanooga, Dept. of the Cumberland, to November, 1864. Unattached, District of the Etowah, Dept. of the Cumberland, to December, 1864. 1st Colored Brigade, District of the Etowah, Dept. of the Cumberland, to January, 1865. Unattached, District of the Etowah, to March, 1865. 1st Colored Brigade, Dept. of the Cumberland, to July, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, District of East Tennessee, July, 1865. Dept. of the Cumberland and Dept. of Georgia to April, 1866.

SERVICE.-Post and garrison duty at Chattanooga, Tenn., till November, 1864. Action at Dalton, Ga., October 13, 1864. Battle of
Nashville, Tenn., December 15-16. Pursuit of Hood to the Tennessee River December 17-28. Post and garrison duty at Chattanooga, Tenn., in District of East Tennessee, and in the Dept. of Georgia till April, 1866. Mustered out April 30, 1866.

It is interesting to note that of the reported 97 Union soldiers captured by Confederates during period of Robert's possible engagement and capture, 79 (likely White men) would perish in the infamous Andersonville prison in Georgia. 

We are inclined to believe Robert secured his rifle during or after confederate forces were defeated and driven out of Salem.
 

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Last modified: 12/29/16