Howell Cobb family papers

Howell Cobb family papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Cobb, Howell, 1815-1868
Title: Howell Cobb family papers
Dates: 1824-1888
Quantity: 0.2 Linear feet (36 items in 1 half box)
Abstract:The collection consists of the papers of Howell Cobb and the Cobb family of Athens, Georgia from 1824-1888. Includes mainly correspondence and receipts. Contains several letters between Cobb and Harry L. Flash pertaining to Cobb arranging the sale of the MACON TELEGRAPH. Correspondence to Howell from T.R.R. Cobb discusses forming a legion (later know as Cobb's Legion) for the Confederate States of America. Correspondence from Cobb to his wife, Mary Ann, comments on the battle of Bull Run and lists people killed in battle. Also contains a letter of introduction for Cobb to General Geary written by H.K. Jackson. After Cobb's death, correspondence concerns Mary Ann Cobb and mainly discusses social life in Georgia.
Coll. Number: ms1367

Biographical/Historical Note

Howell Cobb was born on September 17th, 1815, the son of Sarah and John Cobb. His younger brother, Thomas Thomas Reade Rootes (or T.R.R.) Cobb, was born in 1823 and also became a noted figure during the Civil War. About 1819, the Cobb family moved to Athens, Georgia, where Howell attended the University of Georgia and graduated in 1834. He married within a year to Mary Ann Lamar. With some experience, he became a lawyer in 1836. He and Mary Ann had twelve children, only six of whom survived to adulthood.

Howell Cobb excelled in both law and politics, though the latter was his real passion. He served as a Congressman from 1843 to 1851 and then again in 1855 to 1857. He was the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1849 to 1851. He was also the governor of Georgia from 1851 to 1853 and served under President Buchanan as the Secretary of Treasury from 1857 to 1860. When Georgia seceded in 1861, he also left, and served as the president of the Provisional Confederate Congress from 1861 to 1862.

Notably, Cobb strove to secure the passage of the Compromise of 1850 and often led committees and coalitions to keep the nation together. Due to this, however, he garnered hostility with other Southerners and had to restore his reputation within the Democratic Party.

Yet by 1860, due to secession, he abandoned the Union and joined the Confederacy. He was briefly considered for the Confederate presidency, but his former politics blocked him from the position. When he concluded his provisional term, Cobb turned to the military branch of the Confederacy. He started as a colonel of the Sixteenth Georgia Infantry, but by the end of the war, he would become a major general.

Like almost all other military leaders, Cobb was eventually forced to surrender in 1865 and waited for the next few years for a pardon. When he finally received one, he spoke out against the politics of the Radical Republicans. He died on vacation in 1868 in New York.


Arranged in chronological order.

Index Terms

Athens (Ga.)
Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861.
Cobb family
Cobb, Mary Ann Lamar, 1818-1889
Cobb, Thomas Reade Rootes, 1823-1862
Confederate States of America. Army. Cobb's Legion. Cavalry Battalion.
Flash, Harry Lynden
Generals--Confederate States of America.
Georgia--Social life and customs--19th century.
Macon telegraph (Macon, Ga. : Newspaper)
Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns.

General Notes

Cataloged as part of the Georgia Archives and Manuscripts Automated Access Project: A Special Collections Gateway Program of the University Center in Georgia.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Howell Cobb family papers, MS1367. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Material

Related collections in this repository: Other Cobb family papers.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11Correspondence - Lamar, 1824
2Papers, Receipts
3Correspondence, 1858
4Correspondence, 1861
5Correspondence, 1865
6Correspondence, 1866 - 1867
7Correspondence, 1879
8Correspondence, 1881
9Correspondence, 1884
10Correspondence, 1885
11Correspondence, 1888