Alexander H. Stephens and Howell Cobb letters

Alexander H. Stephens and Howell Cobb letters

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Cobb, Howell, 1815-1868
Creator: Stephens, Alexander Hamilton, 1812-1883
Title: Alexander H. Stephens and Howell Cobb letters
Dates: 1848-1880
Quantity: 0.1 Linear feet (1 portfolio)
Abstract:The collection consists of miscellaneous letters of Alexander H. Stephens and Howell Cobb, and includes several pictures and a small map.
Coll. Number: ms2226

Biographical/Historical Note

Howell Cobb was born on September 17th, 1815, the son of Sarah and John Cob. His younger brother, Thomas Cobb (or T.R.R. Cobb), was born several years later in 1823. 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 would have twelve children, only six of whom would survive to adulthood.

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 the governor of Georgia from 1851 to 1853. He 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.

"Most famous for serving as the vice president of the Confederacy, Alexander Hamilton Stephens was a near-constant force in state and national politics for a half century. Born near Crawfordville [Georgia], in Taliaferro County, on February 11, 1812, to Margaret Grier and Andrew Baskins Stephens, the young Stephens was orphaned at fourteen, which intensified his already melancholic disposition. He graduated from Franklin College (later the University of Georgia) in 1832 and gained admittance to the bar two years later. There followed a steady and uninterrupted rise to political prominence...Georgians returned Stephens to the House of Representatives in 1877, and he served there until 1882. That same year he was elected governor of the state but died in office on March 4, 1883." - "Alexander Stephens." New Georgia Encyclopedia. (Retrieved September 4, 2008)

Index Terms

Cabinet officers--United States--Correspondence.
Cabinet officers--United States--History--19th century.
Cobb, Howell, 1815-1868 -- Correspondence
Confederate States of America--Officials and employees--Correspondence.
Generals--Confederate States of America--Correspondence.
Legislators--United States--Correspondence.
Pictures (object genre)
Politicians--Georgia--History--19th century.
Stephens, Alexander Hamilton, 1812-1883 -- Correspondence
Vice-Presidents--Georgia--History--19th century.

General Notes

Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online as part of America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Alexander H. Stephens and Howell Cobb letters, MS 2226. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11-19Letters View online.