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Major-General Howell Cobb, a distinguished son of Georgia, was born at Cherry Hill, Jefferson county, September 7, 1815. His father, Col. John A. Cobb, was from Greenville, N. C., and his mother was Sarah Rootes, of Fredericksburg, Va. Howell Cobb was graduated at the University of Georgia in 1834, and in 1836 was admitted to the bar. He began at the same time a career of great distinction in politics, as an elector on the Van Buren presidential ticket. He was elected solicitor-general in 1837, and served in Congress four consecutive terms from 1842, being chosen speaker of the House in 1849. In Congress he won general attention as a bold champion of Southern views, an ardent believer in State rights, and at the same time an earnest advocate of the Union. In the heated contest which resulted in the compromise of 1850, Mr. Cobb demanded the extension of slavery into California and New Mexico. Upon the compromise of 1850, he boldly antagonized the extremists of his State, accepted the nomination of the Union party for governor, stumped the State vigorously, and after a hot contest was triumphantly elected over Gov. Charles J. McDonald, who was the candidate of the ultra State rights men. At this time Robert Toombs also stumped the State for the Union ticket. In 1854, Cobb was again a representative in Congress. In 1856 he traveled in the North, speaking in behalf of James Buchanan, Democratic nominee for President, and when Mr. Buchanan entered upon the duties of his office in 1857, he called Howell Cobb to his cabinet as secretary of the treasury. His able administration of the duties of this office continued until his resignation. After the election of Mr. Lincoln to the presidency, Mr. Cobb, like many other hitherto Union men, feeling that a purely sectional party had gotten possession of the government, came to the deliberate conclusion that there was no longer hope for peace or equality for the South in the Union. He declared, "The hour of Georgia's dishonor in the Union should be the hour of her independence out of the Union." He and his brother, T. R. R. Cobb, aided largely in bringing about the secession of Georgia. The Congress of the seceded Southern States, which met in Montgomery, Ala., elected Howell Cobb permanent president of that body. He was spoken of for President of the Confederate States, but Mr. Davis was elected. At the time of the organization of the permanent government of the Confederate States, February 22, 1862, he had withdrawn from political affairs, and held a commission as brigadier-general in the provisional army of the Confederate States. He had been commissioned a colonel of the Sixteenth Georgia infantry, July 15, 1861, and on the 13th of February, 1862, was promoted to brigadier-general. In the campaigns of 1862, in Virginia and Maryland, he and his command participated with credit. In 1863 he was sent to Georgia to take charge of the reserve forces of that State, and on September 9th of that year was commissioned major-general. He was in command of the force which defeated Stoneman at Macon in 1864, and part of his command, pursuing the defeated raider, received the surrender of Stoneman and 500 of his men. After the close of the war General Cobb vigorously opposed the congressional plan of reconstruction, and in company with Toombs and B. H. Hill, at the celebrated "Bush Arbor" gathering in Atlanta, July 4, 1868, aroused the people of Georgia to make a manly effort to control by every constitutional method the destinies of their State. He died at New York City on the 9th of October, 1868. Georgia never had a citizen of greater administrative ability. On the hustings and in the assembly he was pre-eminent, both as orator and statesman.
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