He was born in Accomack County, Virginia,
October 17, 1843; was educated at private schools and at the
Virginia Military Institute, where he graduated in 1864. With
other cadets at that institution he took part in the Battle
of New Market, May 14, 1864. Soon after his graduation he
was commissioned as a Captain in the Confederate Army and
remained in that service until the surrender of Johnson's
Army at Greensboro, North Carolina, April 26, 1865.
Mr. Colonna was appointed in the Survey in
July 1870, and passed through all grades in the service during
14 years of strenuous activity both on the Atlantic and Pacific
Coasts. While engaged in trigonometric work in northern California
in 1878, he spent 9 days on the summit of Mount Shasta, 14,400
feet in height, and wrote an interesting account of that experience
which has recently been republished. An accident while engaged
in field work on the Strait of Fuca resulted in paralysis
from which he never completely recovered.
On his return he was assigned to duty as
assistant in charge of the Coast and Geodetic Survey office
in Washington, which position he held until his resignation
from the service in March 1895. From that time until failing
health necessitating retirement from active pursuits he was
engaged in private business at Norfolk, Virginia, and in Washington.
Mr. Colonna was married November 1890, to Miss Fannie B. Bailey,
and is survived by his widow and five children.