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Thomas Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb
(September 7, 1815 – October 9, 1868) was an American political figure. A southern Democrat, Cobb was a five-term member of the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
and Speaker of the House from 1849 to 1851. He also served as the 40th Governor of Georgia (1851–1853) and as a Secretary of Treasury under President James Buchanan
James Buchanan
(1857–1860). Cobb is, however, probably best known as one of the founders of the Confederacy, having served as the President of the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States. Delegates of the Southern slave states declared that they had seceded from the United States and created the Confederate States of America. Cobb served for two weeks between the foundation of the Confederacy and the election of Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
as its first President. As the Speaker of the Congress, he was provisional Head of State at this time.

Contents

1 Early life and education 2 Career

2.1 Congressman 2.2 Speaker of the House 2.3 Governor of Georgia 2.4 Return to Congress and Secretary of the Treasury 2.5 A Founder of the Confederacy 2.6 American Civil War

3 Later life and death 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

Early life and education[edit] Born in Jefferson County, Georgia
Jefferson County, Georgia
in 1815, Cobb was raised in Athens. He attended the University of Georgia
University of Georgia
where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Literary Society. He was of Welsh American ancestry.[1] He was admitted to the bar in 1836 and became solicitor general of the western judicial circuit of Georgia. He married Mary Ann Lamar on May 26, 1835. She was a daughter of a Lamar family with broad connections in the South. They would have eleven children, the first in 1838 and the last in 1861. They were John Addison, Zachariah Lamar, Howell, Henry Jackson, Basil Lamar, Mary Ann Lamar, Laura Rootes, Sarah, Andrew Jackson, Elizabeth Craig, and Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb. Several did not survive childhood, including their last, a son who was named after Howell's brother, Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb. Career[edit] Congressman[edit]

Lucy May Stanton, Howell Cobb, 1912, Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

He was elected as Democrat to the 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st Congresses. He was chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Mileage during the 28th Congress, and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives during the 31st Congress. He sided with President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
on the question of nullification (i.e. compromising on import tariffs), and was an effective supporter of President James K. Polk's administration during the Mexican-American War. He was an ardent advocate of extending slavery into the territories, but when the Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
had been agreed upon, he became its staunch supporter as a Union Democrat.[2] He joined Georgia Whigs Alexander Stephens
Alexander Stephens
and Robert Toombs
Robert Toombs
in a statewide campaign to elect delegates to a state convention that overwhelmingly affirmed, in the Georgia Platform, that the state accepted the Compromise as the final resolution to the outstanding slavery issues. On that issue, Cobb was elected governor of Georgia by a large majority. Speaker of the House[edit] After 63 ballots,[3] Cobb became Speaker of the House on December 22, 1849.[4] In 1850, as Speaker he would have been next in line to the Presidency for two days due to Vice Presidential vacancy and a president pro tempore not being appointed yet, except he did not meet the minimum eligibility for the presidency of being 35 years old. When Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
died on July 9, Vice President Millard Fillmore
Millard Fillmore
became President. The president pro tempore of the Senate was not appointed until July 11 when William Rufus de Vane King took that position. Governor of Georgia[edit] In 1851, Cobb left the House to serve as the Governor of Georgia, holding that post until 1853. He published A Scriptural Examination of the Institution of Slavery
Slavery
in the United States: With its Objects and Purposes in 1856.[5] Return to Congress and Secretary of the Treasury[edit]

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
portrait of Cobb as Secretary of the Treasury.

He was elected to the 34th Congress before being appointed as Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of the Treasury
in Buchanan's Cabinet. He served for three years, resigning in December 1860. At one time, Cobb was Buchanan's choice for his successor.[6] A Founder of the Confederacy[edit] In 1860, Cobb ceased to be a Unionist, and became a leader of the secession movement. He was president of a convention of the seceded states that assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4, 1861. Under Cobb's guidance, the delegates drafted a constitution for the new Confederacy. He served as President of several sessions of the Confederate Provisional Congress, before resigning to join the military when war erupted.[7] American Civil War[edit]

Cobb in his postbellum days

Cobb joined the Confederate army and was commissioned as colonel of the 16th Georgia Infantry. He was appointed a brigadier general on February 13, 1862, and assigned command of a brigade in what became the Army of Northern Virginia. Between February and June 1862, he represented the Confederate authorities in negotiations with Union officers for an agreement on the exchange of prisoners of war. His efforts in these discussions contributed to the Dix-Hill Cartel accord reached in July 1862.[8] Cobb saw combat during the Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
and the Seven Days Battles. Cobb's brigade played a key role in the fighting at Crampton's Gap
Crampton's Gap
during the Battle of South Mountain, especially at Crampton's Gap, where it arrived at a critical time to delay a Union advance through the gap, but at a bloody cost. His men also fought at the subsequent Battle of Antietam. In October 1862, Cobb was detached from the Army of Northern Virginia and sent to the District of Middle Florida. He was promoted to major general on September 9, 1863, and placed in command of the District of Georgia and Florida. He suggested the construction of a prisoner-of-war camp in southern Georgia, a location thought to be safe from Union invaders. This idea led to the creation of Andersonville prison. When William T. Sherman's armies entered Georgia during the 1864 Atlanta Campaign
Atlanta Campaign
and subsequent March to the Sea, Cobb commanded the Georgia Reserve Corps as a general. In the spring of 1865, with the Confederacy clearly waning, he and his troops were sent to Columbus, Georgia to help oppose Wilson's Raid. He led the hopeless Confederate resistance in the Battle of Columbus, Georgia
Columbus, Georgia
on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865. During Sherman's March to the Sea, the army camped one night near Cobb's plantation.[9] When Sherman discovered that the house he planned to stay in for the night belonged to Cobb, whom Sherman described in his Memoirs as "one of the leading rebels of the South, then a general in the Southern army," he dined in Cobb's slave quarters,[10] confiscated Cobb's property and burned the plantation,[11] instructing his subordinates to "spare nothing."[12] In the closing days of the war, Cobb fruitlessly opposed General Robert E. Lee's eleventh hour proposal to enlist slaves into the Confederate Army. Fearing that such a move would completely discredit the Confederacy's fundamental justification of slavery, that black people were inferior, he said, "You cannot make soldiers of slaves, or slaves of soldiers. The day you make a soldier of them is the beginning of the end of the Revolution. And if slaves seem good soldiers, then our whole theory of slavery is wrong."[13] Cobb's opposition to Lee's proposal is dramatized in the opera Appomattox (composer Philip Glass, librettist Christopher Hampton), which debuted in Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center in November 2015. Cobb's role was sung by Timothy J. Bruno. Cobb surrendered to the U.S. at Macon, Georgia on April 20, 1865. Later life and death[edit] Following the end of the Civil War, Cobb returned home and resumed his law practice. Despite pressure from his former constituents and soldiers, he refused to make any public remarks on Reconstruction policy until he received a presidential pardon, although he privately opposed it. Finally receiving the pardon in early 1868, he began to vigorously oppose the Reconstruction Acts, making a series of speeches that summer that bitterly denounced the policies of Radical Republicans in the U.S. Congress. That autumn, Cobb vacationed in New York City, and died of a heart attack there. His body was returned to Athens, Georgia, for burial in Oconee Hill Cemetery.[14] Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb
Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb
was a younger brother of Howell Cobb, and Thomas Willis Cobb was a cousin. His uncle and namesake, Howell Cobb, had been a U.S. Congressman from 1807–1812, and then served as an officer in the War of 1812. A niece was Mildred Lewis Rutherford.

See also[edit]

Biography portal Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia (U.S. state)
portal Politics portal American Civil War
American Civil War
portal

List of signers of the Georgia Ordinance of Secession List of American Civil War
American Civil War
generals (Confederate)

Notes[edit]

^ A memorial volume of the Hon. Howell Cobb, of Georgia, edited by Samuel Boykin, p. 14 ^ Brooks, R. P. (December 1917). " Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb
and the Crisis of 1850". The Mississippi
Mississippi
Valley Historical Review. 4 (3): 279. JSTOR 1888593.  ^ Jenkins, Jeffery A.; Stewart, Charles Haines (2012). Fighting for the speakership the House and the rise of party government. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. p. 167. ISBN 9781400845460.  ^ Hamilton, Holman (2015). Prologue to Conflict : The Crisis and Compromise of 1850. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. p. 42. ISBN 978-0813191362. Retrieved 14 June 2016.  ^ NIE ^ Klein (1962), pp. 11. ^ Davis, Ruby Sellers (1962). "Howell Cobb, President of the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy". The Georgia Historical Quarterly. 46 (1): 20. JSTOR 40578354.  ^ Official Records, Series II, Vol. 3, pp. 338-340, 812-13, Vol. 4, pp. 31-32, 48. ^ Seibert, David. " Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb
Plantation". GeorgiaInfo: an Online Georgia Almanac. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 4 November 2016.  ^ Hanson, Victor Davis (1999). The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny. New York City, New York: The Free Press. p. 211. Retrieved March 8, 2016.  ^ Mitchell, Robert B. (November). "Terrible beyond endurance". America's Civil War. 27 (5): 37. Retrieved 14 June 2016.  Check date values in: date= (help) ^ "Memoirs, ch.21". William Tecumseh Sherman. Retrieved 2010-05-20.  ^ Encyclopædia Britannica ^ "Howell Cobb", New Georgia Encyclopedia

References[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cobb, Howell". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 606.   This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

United States Congress. " Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb
(id: C000548)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.  Retrieved on 2009-04-17 Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1. Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4. US Department of War (1880–1901). The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: Government Printing Office.  Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana
Louisiana
State University Press, 1959. ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9.

Further reading[edit]

Montgomery, Horace, Howell Cobb's Confederate Career. (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Confederate Publishing, 1959). Simpson, John E., Howell Cobb: the Politics of Ambition. (Chicago, Illinois: Adams Press, 1973).

External links[edit]

Find more aboutHowell Cobbat's sister projects

Media from Wikimedia Commons Quotations from Wikiquote Data from Wikidata

Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb
entry at the National Governors Association Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb
(1815–1868) entry at The Political Graveyard Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb
at Find a Grave Joseph Emerson Brown letters, W.S. Hoole Special
Special
Collections Library, The University of Alabama. New Georgia Encyclopedia: Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb
(1815-1868) "The Late Howell Cobb", Southern Recorder, November 10, 1868. Atlanta Historic Newspaper Archive. Digital Library of Georgia U.S. Treasury - Biography of Secretary Howell Cobb Cobb, Howell. "[Letter] 1858 Jan. 20, Treasury Department [to] J[ames] W[harey] Terrell, Qualla Town [i.e., Quallatown], North Carolina". Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 21 February 2018. 

Offices and distinctions

U.S. House of Representatives

Preceded by James Meriwether Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's At-large congressional district (Seat 5) 1843–1845 Constituency abolished

New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 6th congressional district 1845–1851 Succeeded by Junius Hillyer

Preceded by Junius Hillyer Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 6th congressional district 1855–1857 Succeeded by James Jackson

Political offices

Preceded by George Towns Speaker of the United States House of Representatives 1849–1851 Succeeded by Herschel Johnson

Preceded by James Guthrie United States Secretary of the Treasury 1857–1860 Succeeded by Philip Thomas

New office President of the Provisional Confederate States Congress 1861–1862 Succeeded by Thomas Bocock as Speaker of the Confederate States House of Representatives

Succeeded by Robert Hunter as President pro tempore of the Confederate States Senate

Articles related to Howell Cobb

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R. Toombs Francis S. Bartow Martin J. Crawford E. A. Nisbet Benjamin H. Hill Augustus R. Wright Thos. R. R. Cobb A. H. Kenan Alexander H. Stephens

Florida

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Richard W. Walker Robt. H. Smith Colin J. McRae Jno. Gill Shorter William Parish Chilton Stephen F. Hale David P. Lewis Tho. Fearn J. L. M. Curry

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Category Commons

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Signatories of the Confederate States Constitution

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R. Barnwell Rhett C. G. Memminger Wm. Porcher Miles James Chesnut Jr. R. W. Barnwell William W. Boyce Laurence Keitt T. J. Withers

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R. Toombs Francis S. Bartow Martin J. Crawford Alexander H. Stephens Benjamin H. Hill Thos. R. R. Cobb E. A. Nisbet Augustus R. Wright A. H. Kenan

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Richard W. Walker Robt. H. Smith Colin J. McRae William P. Chilton Stephen F. Hale David P. Lewis Tho. Fearn Jno. Gill Shorter J. L. M. Curry

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Muhlenberg Trumbull Dayton Sedgwick Macon Varnum Clay Cheves Taylor Barbour Stevenson Bell Polk Hunter White Jones Davis Winthrop Cobb Boyd Banks Orr Pennington Grow Colfax Pomeroy Blaine Kerr Randall Keifer Carlisle Reed Crisp Henderson Cannon Clark Gillett Longworth Garner Rainey Byrns Bankhead Rayburn Martin McCormack Albert O'Neill Wright Foley Gingrich Hastert Pelosi Boehner Ryan

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19th century

Gallatin Campbell Dallas Crawford Rush Ingham McLane Duane Taney Woodbury Ewing Forward Spencer Bibb Walker Meredith Corwin Guthrie Cobb Thomas Dix Chase Fessenden McCulloch Boutwell Richardson Bristow Morrill Sherman Windom Folger Gresham McCulloch Manning Fairchild Windom Foster Carlisle Gage

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Secretary of State

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(1857–1860) Jeremiah S. Black
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Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 56459642 LCCN: nr90013668 US Congress: C000548 SN

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