Edward Henry Hobson was born in Greensburg, Kentucky, on July 11, 1825. He was educated in the common schools of Greensburg and Danville, Kentucky. He worked for his father who was a successful merchant in Greensburg. In 1846 Hobson enlisted for service in the war with Mexico (1846-47), serving in Co. A of the 2nd Kentucky Infantry. During the war he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant for bravery. Following the war, he returned home, going into banking in the 1850s.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hobson enlisted in the Union army and began recruiting a regiment of soldiers in the Green River area. This regiment became the 13th Kentucky Infantry and Hobson its colonel. The 13th moved south with Gen. Don Carlos Buell and fought at the Battle of Shiloh. In November 1862, Abraham Lincoln made Hobson a brigadier general. After service in Mississippi and Tennessee, he returned to Kentucky.
On July 6, 1863, Hobson was ordered to leave Munfordville, where he had been training troops, to find Gen. John Hunt Morgan, the "Thunderbolt of the Confederacy." After a skirmish at Marrowbone, Kentucky, he pursued Morgan through Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio (July 6-26, 1863). On July 26th, Hobson's force defeated Morgan at Buffington Island, Ohio, ending Morgan's Great Raid into the North.
On June 11, 1864, Hobson
and Morgan met again at Cynthiana, Kentucky. After a spirited resistance, Hobson's outnumbered force of 900 was captured. It is said that when Morgan approached Hobson, he smiled and said, "General, we meet again!" as Hobson handed over his pistols. Though Hobson was defeated, his defense allowed Union soldiers to catch up and defeat Morgan the following day.
Hobson was mustered out of service in September of 1865 and returned home to Greensburg to engage in business. He died at a Grand Army of the Republic Reunion in Cleveland and is buried at the family cemetery in Greensburg.