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Thomas R. R. Cobb.

Member of the secession Convention of Georgia, of the Provisional Congress, and a Brigadier-General of the Confederate States Army.

Extracts from letters to his wife, February 3, 1861—December 10, 1862.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

The following appeared in the columns of the Athens, Georgia, Banner, during the months of February, March and April, 1897.

They were sent to us a little later by Mr. A. L. Hull, of Athens, Ga., who married a daughter of General Cobb.

Whilst the expressions of General Cobb are his own and may in no wise be endorsed by the editor, yet, from a man admittedly so able and fearless, and so thoroughly earnest and devoted, they have value in aiding in a clear analyses of the characters of the men of the period, and of their agency in determining its momentous events, as well as in definitely fixing these last.

General Cobb, a brother of the statesman, Howell Cobb, was born in Jefferson county, Ga., in 1823, and graduated from the University of that State in 1841.

Having been admitted to the bar, he was the Reporter of the Supreme Court of Georgia from 1849 to 1857. In 1851 he published a new ‘Digest of the Laws of Georgia,’ and in 1858, an ‘Inquiry into the Laws of Negro Slavery,’ a scholarly and extensive research.

He was a Trustee of the University of Georgia; was active in the cause of education in the State, and had a high reputation and large practice as a lawyer. An able and an eloquent member of the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States, he served in this body as Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs.

He was killed at the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., on December 13, 1862.—Editor.

The election of Mr. Lincoln so aroused Mr. Cobb to the dangers which threatened the South, that he urged by pen and voice, a separation from the North as the only course of safety. Chosen a [281] delegate to the State convention, he signed the ordinance of secession and thence went to Montgomery as a member of the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy.

From his arrival there until the fatal battle of Fredericksburg, Mr. Cobb wrote daily to his wife. This series of letters only interrupted by brief visits to his home, form a record of his life in which he freely expresses his opinion of the men and measures of the time. These letters first unfolded after a third of a century, breathe a spirit of deep devotion, of love of home and a desire for peace. The sharpness of their criticisms has been blunted by time and their confidential character robs them of their sting.

Montgomery, February 3, 1861.
We got here to-day two hours late, the delay caused by a bad smash — up on the train about three miles from the city. Mr. Chesnut said: ‘This comes of Sunday travelling.’ Toombs and Stephens met me at Union Point, Bartow joined us at Opelika. Judge Nisbet and Howell1 we found awaiting us here. The full representation from South Carolina are here, a few from Mississippi, and one from Florida. The commissioners from North Carolina are here and the commission from the city of New York. We will have a full representation to-morrow. The universal feeling seems to make Howell President of the convention. As to Provisional President of the Confederacy the strongest current is for Jefferson Davis.

February 7.—The chances are decidedly against war. There may be a little collision and much confusion, but no bloody or extensive war. The action of Virginia decides the question. Peace is certain on her secession.

February 9.—We are now in the presence of a large crowd, electing a President and Vice-President. * * *

Jefferson Davis is elected President and A. H. Stephens Vice-President. The latter is a bitter pill to some of us, but we have swallowed it with as good a grace as we could. The man who has fought against our rights and liberty is selected to wear the laurels of our victory. * * * Howell seized the Bible on which he swore the members, and says he intends to keep it. One man refused to kiss the Bible. It was Judge Withers, of South Carolina. He is an avowed infidel—one of the last of old Dr. Cooper's disciples. [282]

February 1.—On the night the Constitution was adopted and an election ordered for the next day at 12 o'clock, we had a ‘counting of noses,’ and found that Alabama, Mississippi and Florida were in favor of Davis, Louisiana and Georgia for Howell, and South Carolina divided between Howell and Davis, with Memminger and Withers wavering. Howell immediately announced his wish that Davis should be unanimously elected. When the Georgia delegation met, Mr. Stephens moved to give Mr. Toombs a complimentary vote from Georgia. I suggested that four States were for Davis, and it would place Mr. Toombs in a false position. Toombs expressed his doubt that four States were for Davis, and preferred they should be canvassed. Judge Crawford was commissioned to do so. Then came the question as to Vice-President. Mr. Toombs returned the compliment by suggesting Mr. Stephens. Kenan and Nisbet responded in favor of it, but a death-like stillness reigned as to the balance. We saw they had us, so after a few minutes Howell retired. Bartow followed him and I followed Bartow. I was told that no other word was spoken after we retired. When we reached the capitol, we heard that Georgia had presented Mr. Stephens. We placed ourselves right and then let it rock on. Stephens was very anxious to accept in a public speech at 1 o'clock to-day. The crowd of presidents in embryo was very large. I believe the Government could be stocked with offices from among them.

February 12.—I am hard at work on three committees, each of which is charged with important business. I tried to get the name of this republic the ‘Republic of Washington,’ but failed. The name now had, ‘Confederate States of America,’ does not give satisfaction, and I have no doubt will be changed for the permanent Constitution. I am disgusted with old Withers, of South Carolina. Rhett is a generous-hearted man, with a quantity of cranks. Barnwell is a gentlemanly man, full of politeness and modesty, and attracts my kind feeling. Memminger is very shrewd—a perfect Mc-Coy metamorphosed into a legislating lawyer.

February 15.—I am sick at heart with the daily manifestations of selfishness, intrigue, low cunning and meanness among those who at this critical moment should have an eye single to the protection of their people.

* * * The best friends of the Confederacy here are troubled at these continued rumors of President Davis being a reconstructionist. Many are regretting already his election. If he does not come out boldly in his inaugural against this suicidal policy we shall [283] have an explosion here, the end of which I cannot foretell. The most troublesome matters with us arise from the Forts Sumter and Pickens. Whenever a policy is settled I will write you.

February 16.—Stephens and Ben Hill have made friends and are as thick as brothers. When in Milledgeville a proposition for peace was made to Stephens, his reply was ‘If Mr. Hill will acknowledge that he told a lie as he did, then I will speak to him.’ I have received a long letter from Mitchell urging me to put in the claim of Athens for the capital of the Southern Confederacy.

I have had a hint of the Attorney-Generalship. I should promptly and unconditionally decline it if offered. The cabinet is beyond conjecture. Toombs is spoken of for the State department, but says he would not have it. Yancey and Benjamin have also been named but I think no one has the slightest intimation of the President's views.

February 17.—I have stuck to my homespun ever since I have been here. The President arrived here in a suit of homespun. I hope he will be inaugurated in it.

February 18.—The inaugural pleased everybody and the manner in which President Davis took the oath was most impressive. The scene was one worth seeing and I regret more than ever that Sally and Callie were not here. I have not yet called on the President. I hate anything that looks like toadyism.

We signed the enrolled constitution to-day and I have preserved my pen to be laid up again as an heir-loom for my children. They will have but few such memories of me.

February 19.—The President had a grand levee last night. Everybody and his wife were there, except me. I stayed in my room and worked hard on bills until past 1 o'clock. Various rumors are abroad about the cabinet. Mr. Memminger will probably be Secretary of the Treasury. The firm conviction here is that Great Britain, France and Russia will acknowledge us at once in the family of nations. As to the North, the 4th of March will determine its policy.

February 20.—The exciting question now is, ‘Who will constitute the cabinet?’ It is understood that Yancey is to be Attorney-General, Captain Bragg, Secretary of War, and Toombs, Secretary of the Treasury. The State portfolio was offered to Barnwell and declined by him—so says Keitt. From five to twenty letters come to me every day, begging for office. Gwynn, of California, writes that Seward told him there would be no war.

February 22.—President Davis dines at our table every day. He [284] is chatty and tries to be agreeable. He is not great in any sense of the term. The power of will he has, made him all he is.

February 26.—An act was passed this morning, giving to each of the commissioners to Europe $12,000 per annum. Yancey and Slidell are both mentioned. Henry R. Jackson is also spoken of, but Mr. Davis acts for himself and receives no advice, except from those who press their advice unasked.

February 27.—Henry Jackson stands no chance, for Stephens has the ear of Davis, and he will not forgive Henry soon.

March 1.—I declined two invitations to tea last night, and went to prayer-meeting instead, and from my heart I thank God that I went. It was a small company, but we were all melted to tears, and our Lord and Saviour was with us. It was good for us to be there. After the prayer-meeting my friend, Atticus Haygood came to my room, and we had a good religious talk. Yesterday I offered a bill closing our courts to Northern plaintiffs, and I intend to introduce a bill granting international copyright privileges to the authors of France and Great Britain. I am worn out and homesick and starved, and from my heart I can say I am sorry I ever came here. File this letter away, and read it to me whenever hereafter the silly notion takes my head that my services are peculiarly necessary to the safety of the republic.

March 3.—Last night I was summoned to the room of the President. He informed me that he had just received a telegram from Arkansas bringing a Macedonian cry for help; that on consultation they had agreed that I of all others could do most to save that State at this crisis; that a State hung on my appointment as envoy to the State of Arkansas and he begged me to go at once as the convention meets to-morrow. I confess I was nonplussed. I protested against the appointment and gave him three objections which were altogether insurmountable.

We shall adopt a flag to-morrow and raise it on the capitol at 12 o'clock, the hour when Lincoln is to be inaugurated. Our news from Virginia is more promising, but I have no hope of her coming now.

March 4.—The question of pay to members is being discussed. It will settle down on $8 per day and 10 cents mileage. This will pay me the enormous sum of $300 for which I have lost I doubt not in my private business $3,000. I am urging Congress to take no pay and set an example of patriotism. The nomination of Mr. Mallory [285] as Secretary of the Navy was confirmed after a struggle. His soundness on the secession question was doubted.

March 5.—The President appealed to me again to go to Arkansas but I positively refused. This morning he and Mrs. Davis took their seats by me at the breakfast table and were very affable.

A telegram from Washington City just received says the universal feeling there since Lincoln's inaugural is that war must come. I don't believe it yet, though I confess the document is a bolder announcement of coercion than I had expected. Well, I am not afraid of the issue. Last night we passed a bill raising a regular army of 10,000 men and authorizing the President to receive into the service of the Confederate States 100,000 volunters.

Montgomery, Ala., March 5, 1861.—The Texas members here are a very conceited crowd with very little of statesmanship among them. The weakest delegation here is from Mississippi, Wiley P. Harris is the only man of talent among them.

March 6.—I found out yesterday why George N. Sanders was here. He is an agent from Douglas and is working to keep out of the Constitution any clause which will exclude ‘Free States.’ The game now is to reconstruct under our Constitution. There will be a hard fight on this question when we reach it. Stephens and Toombs are both for leaving the door open. Wright goes with them and Hill also we fear. Kenan is with us and thus gives Howell, Nisbet, Bartow and me a majority in our delegation. Confidentially and to be kept a secret from the public, Mr. Davis is opposed to us on this point also and wants to keep the door open. The Mississippi delegation are wax in his hands. I am much afraid of the result. I struggled hard this morning to place in the Constitution a provision which would stop Sunday mails but failed.

His work in the Presidential Congress having been concluded, Mr. Cobb returned to his home in Athens, Georgia. The capture of Fort Sumter, the wild excitement which followed the organization of volunteers and preparations for war filled the interval until the re-assembling of Congress at Montgomery in April.

Montgomery, April 19, 1861.—The atmosphere of this place is positively tainted with selfish ambitious schemes for personal aggrandisement. I see it, hear it, feel it, and am disgusted with it. But I would rather tell you of my journey here. At Maxey's, George Lumpkin's company was drawn up, and would have a speech from me. At Union Point we met the ‘Young Guards,’ and again I had to make a little speech. At Greensboro Oscar Dawson told [286] me he had raised in two days a company of eighty men, and they wanted to be on the field in one week from the day he began. At Conyers they have raised the sixth company in Newton county. In Merriweather they raised three companies of eighty men in three days and $7,000 to equip them. Similar news comes up from the whole country.

At West Point yesterday afternoon a large crowd assembled at the cars, and had speeches from Keitt, Brooks (of Mississippi), Ben Hill and Gus Wright. They called on me, but I declined on the ground it was Sunday, and took occasion to give them a five minute's lecture on Sabbath-breaking. It was the only speech that was not cheered. There is a good deal of talk about going to Richmond. I would not be surprised if the whole Government were moved there as soon as the Virginia delegates arrive and join us. The President favors it decidedly. I sent you a copy of his message. It is a capital document.

The opinion is pretty general here that we shall have to take Washington City, but many are of the decided opinion that there will be no war. Howell insists that this is the true view of the matter.

Frank Bartow says the Savannah companies are outraged at Governor Brown, who refuses to call any of them into service. They are offering themselves direct to Davis, who has agreed to accept them and put them into the field. Bartow wants to form a regiment and lead them himself. Henry Jackson wants to do the same. He is determined to go into the war. I am trying to get the Secretary of War to order the Troup Artillery away from Tybee before the summer begins. Here, again, Brown interferes, in refusing to to permit the cannon to leave the State. Davis holds Brown in great contempt. He says he is the only man in the seven States who has persistently thwarted him in every endeavor to carry out the policy of the Government. Howell has written positively refusing, under any circumstances, to accept any civil office.

April 30.—Yesterday I signed the permanent Constitution of the Confederate States of America, and have thus perfected my ‘rebellion.’ I trust that my children may hereafter recur with pride to it, whether by others I am canonized a saint or hung as a traitor.

The Secretary of War is filling the army with inexperienced boys while he is disgusting the real military men of the country. General Walker, of Augusta, has written saying he couldn't stand on military etiquette any longer and authorized me to tender his services [287] for any appointment. I am going to see the President for him after dinner. Wigfall, of Texas, is here. He promises to be as troublesome to us as he was to the Congress at Washington.

May 3.—We have in the Confederate States at least 100,000 stand of arms and ample ordnance for our necessities. We have powder enough to furnish our troops for a year's active campaign and 2,500, 000 percussion caps. Governor Brown did a dirty trick in Georgia.

The convention ordered the arsenal at Augusta and the arms in it turned over to the government. Brown secretly sent Rockwell up to Augusta and shipped all of the good arms to Savannah before the agent of the government could get there. Under other circumstances it would be wrong, but at present it was disgraceful.

We have delayed declaring war for two days, waiting for the Virginia commission. I wanted to act yesterday. As soon as Congress adjourns Howell says he is going into his old district and raise a regiment for the war.

May 4.—Well we have cast the die and accepted the war forced upon us by Lincoln and the Abolitionists. The bill was passed unanimously and wants only the signature of the President to become the law. The issue is with God. He knows how earnestly I have enquired of him for guidance in this hour of trial. There will be no fight at Fort Pickens for three weeks yet. Some of the most rabid secessionists here counsel delay in making another attack in order to let the fever at the North cool off. Our people are becoming daily more satisfied that they must sustain the government. Leroy Napier took $40,000 in the Confederate loan and gave $10,000 to the volunteers and their families. This is but an index of the popular feeling. We may have a long and hard fought war, but I do not believe it.

May 6.—I made the acquaintance of General Beauregard this morning. He is decidedly Frenchy in his appearance; a small thin man, slightly gray and very pleasant in conversation. Why he was called here is left a secret to the administration.

May 7.—The Virginia delegates who were sworn in to-day have given us more confidence in that State. She is in earnest. In addition to this the good news of the secession of Arkansas and Tennessee have kept the cannon booming all day.

If we could only get rid of Lee Walker and Mallory2 and the Lord would kill off Governor Letcher and his General Gwynn at [288] Norfolk, I should feel like shouting to-night. I am satisfied that General Scott will make no attack on Virginia.

May 10—Would to God that I could infuse some of my restless energy into these executive departments. They move too slowly for me.

Mr. Hunter came last night. He speaks hopefully but urges strongly that we move the government at once to Virginia. He says Letcher is an imbecile with but half a heart in this cause, and this government must be where it can overlook him.

May 11.—There are strong anticipations of an attack on Virginia in the next ten days. This we think is one reason of Scott's concentration of troops at Washington. The points of attack will be Harper's Ferry or Norfolk. He cannot and dare not attack Richmond. Congress passed a resolution to-day to adjourn on the 20th and to meet again on July 20th in Richmond. But this was done in secret session and you must keep it closely to yourself.

There was no application for the Commissary department so the secretary asked us to make recommendations to him. In view of the breaking up of the college, Howell and I at a venture put in Rutherford's name. To my surprise I hear this morning that he is appointed and his commission sent to Savannah. He ranks as Captain.

May 15.—I am more and more satisfied that old Scott is afraid to attack us and is looking for an attack on Washington. Frank Bartow leaves to-morrow. Everybody is preparing to take the field.

May 16.—Governor Brown is interfering again. He refuses to allow any volunteer companies to take their arms out of Georgia unless they are first accepted by him.

Richmond, Va., July 21, 1861.—Nobody here fears anything from an approach of the enemy. Beauregard has plenty of men to repe them.

Rumor says President Davis went to Manassas to-day. The soldiers are pouring in here. I came from Petersburg with 600 and left 2000 waiting for cars to come in.

July 22.—The telegraph has informed you of our victory and our loss. For myself the former is swallowed up in the latter. Poor Bartow is gone. In the last interview I had with him he seemed deeply impressed with the conviction that he should fall in the first engagement. I tried to remove it from his mind, but he reiterated it to the last. His wife is in this house, but her brother has concealed the fact from her to this time. We have no particulars of the mode [289] of Bartow's death, and the accounts of the battle are very confused and contradictory. Toombs will resign as Secretary of State to-day and goes immediately into the field as Brigadier-General of Georgia forces. The Troup Artillery has been ordered off to the North West army, but Secretary Walker has promised me to attach them to my legion just as soon as I get into the field.

July 24.—I have made the circuit of the city to-day visiting wounded Georgians and answering telegrams from anxious friends. This with my congressional duties and fixing up my legion keep me engaged every hour. Ed. Hull is safe, but poor George Stovall is dead. Gartrell is not hurt, but his son is killed. Prof. Venable was in the fight and was wounded slightly. He was reported dead and had to go home to convince his wife that he was alive.

As the smoke arises from the field of Manassas I feel assured it will be estimated as one of the decisive battles of the world. Either Scott will concentrate an army of 100,000 men and try the issue again or the war will be virtually closed. If they are for another trial we shall defeat them again. The battle of Manassas therefore has secured our independence.

July 24.—I have just paid my last sad tribute to the remains of Frank Bartow, and followed them to the cars. * * *

An Englishman named Byng, who was with the Yankees, gives a ludicrous account of the flight of the non-combatants at Manassas. Thurlow Weed's daughter was with the members of Congress on the field with a flag marked ‘Richmond’ which she was to raise over the capitol here. Russell, the correspondent of the London Times, was with Scott's army as a looker on. The crowds from Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama coming in to look after wounded relatives is immense. They keep me going all day to get passports for them.

August 1.—If peace is restored by November as I believe it will be, the year which will have elapsed since Lincoln's election will be the most eventful in the history of America. Troops are coming in every day. I have no idea I will be ordered out of Richmond before September.

August 3.—The news of McCullough's victory in Missouri came to-day. If it is not exaggerated I look upon it as the finishing stroke of this war.

Richmond, January 12, 1862.—Stephens is openly opposing the administration and trying to build up an opposition party. [290]

January 14.—By appointment I spent two hours with the President to-day. He was very cordial. We did not speak of his West Point appointments, especially Harry Wayne. It made my blood boil when I heard that fellow had been made a Brigadier-General.

January 17.—Wayne wrote the President a most insulting letter, refusing contemptuously his commission as Brigadier-General and berating him for not appointing him Major-General. I hear this confidentially and don't want you to speak of it out of the family.

January 18.—The sudden death of Ex-President Tyler has caused an adjournment of Congress. He was a remarkable man and had filled every State and national office. The impression is gaining ground that the Burnside fleet is intended for Savannah. If it proves successful I do hope there will be found patriotic hands enough to set fire to the city and let the enemy be received in a heap of smouldering ruins.

January 22.—I met and was introduced to Governor Wise to-day. I confess I was disappointed in him. He wants stability and solidity in his appearance, while he is almost brilliant in common conversation.

January 24.-We are all depressed this morning over the disaster at Somerset last Sunday. It is attributable entirely to a drunken, Godless general, who in a spree on Sunday morning led our troops to their destruction. Zolicoffer was a noble man and a fine officer. In the effort to redeem the day, I doubt not, he lost his life. Will the President learn wisdom from this? I doubt it. He is as obstinate as a mule. Mr. Davis has lost his power in Congress, but Howell, Toombs and I have agreed that we will boldly condemn his errors but generously uphold him when he is right. Stephens on the contrary, a poor selfish demagogue, is trying to ride on the wave of popular clamor and create factious opposition to everything.

January 26.—A grander rascal than this Jew Benjamin does not exist in the Confederacy and I am not particular in concealing my opinion of him.

January 27.—Scarlet fever is prevalent here. General Longstreet's family reached here ten days ago. Two of his children are to be buried to-day and another is at the point of death.

January 28.—Among the guests at Toombs' I met Prince Polignac who holds a commission as lieutenant-colonel in our army. He seems to be a clever little fellow, but lowers ones opinion considerably of a Prince of one of the noblest houses of France. [291]

February 2.—General Longstreet buried his third child to-day, a boy of twelve summers—all victim's of scarlet fever. Although a stranger to him I felt acutely which carried me to join my sorrow with his stricken heart.

February 13. Lanier, who kept the hotel at Athens, was taken prisoner at Hatteras and died in Fort Warren. The New York Herald says the rebellion must be crushed in the next thirty days or the Northern government is bankrupt. If so we may expect a struggle by McClellan at every point. The spring campaign will evidently settle the issue of this war.

March 16.—Davis vetoed the bill making a commanding general yesterday on constitutional grounds and it is raising a perfect storm in Congress. I heard last night that the House of Representatives were debating secretly the propriety of deposing him. He would be deposed if the Congress had any confidence in Stephens. General Lee is acting as commanding general and is doing good. He seems determined to concentrate our forces, undertake less and do it better.

March 20.—Kellock Davenport is reported to have been on the Cumberland and to have gone down with her. I can't say I am sorry; I have more feeling against Georgians who have decided against us than I have about the Yankees. General Lee is showing considerable activity in his new office, and I have great hopes of him.

Lee's Mills, April 13, 1862.—General Joe Johnston came last night, and is passing down our lines. It is said he comes to supersede Magruder.

April 15.—The conscription act is raising a stir among the twelve months men. The date of service of Cash's South Carolina regiment expired to-day. More than three hundred of them wanted to go home with the enemy in our front, The Troup Artillery, to a man, said they would stay.

Dam No. 2, April 19.—The enemy has kept up a constant fire for six days along our lines, and several of my men have been killed. General Johnston is very taciturn, and keeps his counsel to himself, so I do not know whether I may be ordered to cross or to commence a retreat.

April 28.—The colonel who led the assault on us the 16th is named Lord, the son of Professor Lord, of Dartmouth College, who has written so much in favor of slavery. These people are incomprehensible to me. [292]

April 30.—The reorganization of the regiments under the conscription act is working better than we feared, but the men have defeated almost every good officer, and elected privates and corporals to their places.

If McClellan opens by land and water on Yorktown that place is obliged to fall. But don't tell this as coming from me.

May 1.—Poor Frank Cone was killed in the trenches to-day by a sharpshooter. He and Oscar Dawson came to see me last night. I mourn the loss of such men.

On the Chickahominy, May 10, 1862.—We have been drawn up in line of battle all night, expecting an attack.

May 12.—To every argument to reunite my legion, the President and General Lee replied with State reason of ‘military necessity,’ and now the cavalry is at Guinea depot, forty-five miles from Richmond, the artillery away, and the infantry with me.

May 13.—Everybody is running away from Richmond. The destruction of the Merrimac has dispelled all hope of saving the city.

Camp one mile from Richmond, May 23.—I am again face to face with the enemy. Their camp fires are on the opposite line. They opened fire with six guns on one of our pieces this afternoon. Mr. Davis and General Lee had ridden over and we witnessed the duel without being within range. Some of the balls passed over their heads and the papers will no doubt make much ado about the President being under fire.

May 30.—For two days and nights my men have been ready awaiting an order to march. Stovall has resigned and Delony becomes Major and Young, Lieutenant-Colonel; Williams and Ritch will be Captains in Delony's Old Squadron; John Rutherford remains Adjutant of the Legion.

June 5.—Since Johnston was wounded Lee is in command, and he is as reticent as Johnston.

June 10.—The papers say that Andy Johnson has been killed. Righteous death! And that Butler has been assassinated. Glorious if true! Would that it were by the hand of a woman. Did you think I could ever rejoice in an assassination? Yet it is true and I think I can meet my Maker with my justification.

Nine Mile Road, near Richmond, June 13, 1862.—Seven generals have visited this point to-day and each brought his train and stayed from one to three hours. They were Lee, Hill, Magruder, McLaws, Jones, Toombs and Semmes. I don't like Hill, much to my surprise, for I was ready to love him for his Christian character. There [293] is much bad blood among these high officers, jealousies and backbitings. I never heard Magruder abuse but one man and that was Hill.

June 17.—I am sick of the despicable favoritism here. My cavalry are doing nearly all the picketing, but when Stuart wants to make a brilliant and daring exploit he takes some of the Potomac pets and never lets us know his intentions until he returns in triumph to Richmond.

June 21.—Brisk cannonading has been going on from both sides. Eight men in the 8th Georgia Regiment were sitting around playing cards when a shell fell in their midst, killing four and wounding three others. Generally shells do little harm. Several bursted over me this afternoon as I returned from Stuart's headquarters, but did not even frighten my horse.

June 21.—Wright has been made Brigadier-General. Hal Billups becomes Lieutenant-Colonel of the 3rd Georgia. Wright deserves the promotion and I am glad he got it.

June 24.—Affairs are drawing to a crisis here. A general battle cannot be postponed long. There is no doubt that Stonewall Jackson's army is near Richmond to join us in the attack.

(The seven days fight occurred at this time.)

July 3.—I got hold of a Yankee candle and camp candle-stick today, and though I am very tired, I don't know when I will get another chance to write. The battle is about over. The enemy has retreated in good order. Their loss is very heavy. Their army is whipped, but not cowed. They fight well to the last, and their discipline is admirable. My battalion brought in fifty prisoners and a great number of arms. It is nine days since we left our camp. We have had a hard time of it—sometimes thirty-six hours without a morsel to eat, and all the time nothing but what we captured from the enemy. So it has been a feast or a famine.

July 5.—Evidences of the retreat of the Yankees are very profuse all along the road—dead horses, broken wagons, cast-off arms and clothing, sick soldiers deserted, strew the way. I have had about 2,000 guns picked up and sent to Richmond, and there are wagon loads of ammunition, engineering instruments, tents, knapsacks, etc. We have captured hundreds of horses and mules, and are picking up stragglers every day. Old Magruder made no reputation in this battle. He lost rather than gained. He was depressed, and I fear was drinking. [294]

July 8.—I have just rejoined my infantry. A good Providence has watched over my command of the artillery. John Lauson, Columbus Wilkerson and John Edwards were wounded. Three of my cavalry were wounded and one taken prisoner. The only two charges made during these battles by cavalry were made by my men under Delony and one under Wright. I was shocked to hear of the death of Willie Billups in the hospital. The last I heard of him he was much better. Willie Whitehead, too, was among the killed in the battle.

July 16.—Yesterday Colonel Benning got into a controversy with General Lee and Secretary Randolph about the conscript law, Benning saying it was unconstitutional, and refused to obey orders based upon it. He was about to be placed under arrest, and his men about to mutiny. He came to get my advice and counsel. In the point at issue, Benning was right. I agreed to go and see Randolph, which I did, finding him, as usual, reasonable and courteous. After presenting my views, I succeeded in convincing him, and am happy to believe it will ward off a bitter war between Georgia and the Confederacy, for Brown was backing Benning.

Toombs challenged D. H. Hill, who refuses to fight, and a bitter correspondence is going on. Hill did most wantonly charge Toombs with cowardice to his face. He now makes many excuses for not fighting him. Toombs is denouncing Hill as a poltroon. I don't know how it will end, but I think you will hear that Toombs is under arrest in less than a week.

July 23.—I went this afternoon to pay my respects to the old lady near whose house I am camped, and whose husband has been very kind to me. She told me she despised soldiers and hated the sight of one—that she hoped she never would see another, and was for stopping the war any way, so she got rid of soldiers. At the same time she was selling tomatoes to the men at $1 per dozen.

General Howell Cobb having gone home on furlough, Colonel Cobb was placed in command of his brigade.)

Near Richmond, July 28, 1862.—General McLaws reviewed Howell's brigade to-day. I confess I was a little annoyed this morning by the announcement of the promotion of Fitzhugh Lee to be brigadier general of cavalry. I suppose in a few days we will see the balance of the Lees promoted also. This man has been colonel about three months. Now I am to be under him whenever I go out with my cavalry. [295]

July 30.—Large reinforcements are being sent to Stonewall Jackson, and I shall look anxiously for news of an engagement with Pope. Would it not be glorious if God would so order that this man of faith should be our chief deliverer?

August 4.—To-day, as General McLaws and I were about to inspect the camps, General Lee rode up. I asked him to accompany us. He replied: ‘Colonel, a dirty camp gives me nausea. If you say your camps are clean I will go.’ I said: ‘Using the words of a better man, come and see.’ The legion's camp was very nice. The 24th Georgia was swept as clean as a parlor, and the others were very good. General Lee was high in his praises. Returning to headquarters, I found a jug of buttermilk which had been sent me. Taking the jug, I told the General that it was said drinking was the curse of the army, and I supposed I must fall in and offer him a drink. The old fellow laughed and drank a tumbler full. While we were riding I had a singular conversation with General Lee. He commenced by saying he relied on Howell and me more than any two officers in the civil part of the army. He then asked me why I did not raise my legion to a brigade—that he was troubled at its separation, but it was impossible to keep it together, and he would be delighted if I would raise it to a brigade. I listened to him, but shook my head and said: ‘General, six months ago I did that very thing under authority of President Davis, and he repudiated it. I cannot go through that again.’ ‘But,’ said he, ‘there is no objection now. There was a difficulty then—Governor Brown claimed your regiments. The President told me so.’ I replied: ‘General, the President was not candid with you. My regiments went into the Governor's camp by his express permission. The President did not give you the true reason. He gave me a very different one. It was my brother's appointment.’ The conversation was interrupted here and was not resumed.

August 6.—The Yankees have retaken Malvern Hill and the object of this expedition seems to be to drive them away. General Lee and General Stuart have both written very complimentary letlers about the manner in which my cavalry behaved.

August 7.—Last night we were ordered out to advance on Malvern Hill. We were on the right flank and our column was the only one which engaged the Yankees. They soon skedaddled and we took possession of the hill. There were 20,000 of them on the hill. They left in such a hurry that our men found a good quantity of crackers which is all they have had to eat in two days. [296]

August 10. Toombs came over to see me yesterday. He is very smart and amused me much by his pungent remarks. I was congratulating myself on not being bothered by an engineer in fortifying my position. He joined in and expatiated on their limitless ability to find more digging to put the troops to work at. He finally swore he believed one engineer could find work for all the men that had been sent to hell since Adam sinned, ‘and according to scripture, Tom,’ he added, ‘that is a big pile.’

Colonel Cobb was granted leave of absence to visit his home. While there the battle of Sharpsburg occurred. Cobb's Legion was actively engaged in this battle and afterwards suffered severely at Crampton's Gap.)

September 24.—I have just heard from one of my men who was paroled that poor Jeff. Lamar is dead. He died the second day of a wound in the groin. He was a noble man, and his last words were cheering on his men. I mourn every time I look at my infantry. I estimate the killed at fifty; wounded, eighty-five to one hundred; taken prisoners, fifty—but these were the flower of my battalion; my best and truest men, never sick, never off duty, always ready. One of my cavalrymen with a squad of thirty men charged a Yankee regiment, captured the Colonel, ran his sword through a Captain so he could not draw it out, then got another and killed two other men. This man was a private. Stuart told General Lee that my cavalry was one of the best regiments he had and objected to their being taken away. We are now under Jackson, whose headquarters are about two hundred yards from mine. Belle Boyd, the celebrated girl, is at an adjoining house.

October 2.—General Jackson told one of his aides the other day that he was anxious to make my acquaintance, so I went yesterday to see him. He was extremely kind and pleasant and made a very agreeable impression on me.

Howell found Joe Keno in one of the camps near him and took him for his cook. Charley said he had a French dinner yesterday.

October 7.—General Lee complained the other day of being unable to get any vinegar, and expressed a wish for pickles. I told him I would send him some that you had sent me. He objected, and said I must not do so. Nevertheless, I sent them, and in reply received the enclosed note. It is very clever, is it not?

October 9.—I have in my pocket General Lee's order to transfer my legion to Georgia for the winter. Generals Hampton, Longstreet, Stuart and McLaws all joined in cordially endorsing my application, [297] and General Lee was exceedingly kind and complimentary. The order is to take effect as soon as the present campaign is ended, which, General Lee says, cannot extend beyond December 1.

Let me but get away from these ‘West Pointers.’ They are very sociable gentlemen and agreeable companions, but never have I seen men who had so little appreciation of merit in others. Self-sufficiency and self-aggrandizement are their great controlling characteristics.

My friend, General Garnett, was not killed, but is commanding Mahone's brigade, in which are the Athens Guards.

Winchester, October 10, 1862.—I have been appointed president of a court-martial, which is sitting here. The town is so crowded that for thirty-six hours I could not find a lodging place. Yesterday I took the streets in desperation, determined to ask a shelter in every respectable lodging-house until I found one. At the second house an elderly lady—a Mrs. Seevers—cordially welcomed me. General Banks made this house his headquarters, when he was occupying the same room I have. My hostess gave me an amusing account of how the Yankees scattered when old Stonewall attacked them here. General Williams dropped his hat in the retreat, and would not stop to pick it up, but galloped out of town bareheaded.

October 13.—I went down to camp to-day. Stuart has gone into Maryland with I,000 troopers. He sent for 150 of my men, but Jackson had them all out scouting. General Lee has taken pains to show and express his confidence in me as an officer, and personally he has been as kind as I could ask or desire. He has ordered me to take command of Howell's brigade on a march this morning. My impression is that we are about to fall back towards the Rappahannock.

October 20.—The returned prisoners give a glowing account of their treatment in Baltimore. They came back loaded with presents from the ladies and clothed anew from head to foot. I still hear some news of our casualties in battle. Ben. Mell was not killed, and is still alive. He was severely wounded, and is in the house of a clever family in Maryland. I do hope he will recover. Reuben Nisbet was not killed, as reported; only slightly wounded.

McLaws told me his report of Howell's Brigade in the fight at Crampton's gap would be satisfactory to him. The truth is McLaws didn't know there was such a gap until after the battle.

October 27.—Harry Jackson came to the camp to see me to-day. He is a fine youth, intelligent, quick, brave and frank, and made a [298] very favorable impression on me. On dit, General Lee wishes to cross into Maryland. The army are unanimously opposed to it. The men say they have had enough of Maryland.

November 5.—Howell has been ordered to duty in Georgia and has telegraphed for all his staff and horses. A camp rumor that I had been appointed Brigadier-General over this brigade has annoyed my men no little, but I assured them that Mr. Davis would never tender me the appointment. General Barksdale came to see me a few days ago and said it was a shame that the President had not promoted me to the rank of General, and he and other officers were going to protest against the injustice. I begged him to say nothing about it, but to let the matter drop.

November 8.-I was notified to-day of my appointment as Brigadier-General.

November 10.—In spite of General Lee's assurance my men seem to think my appointment will prove their disappointment. I have not as yet sent in my acceptance and think I will withhold it awhile to see how things work.

November 14.—One of my couriers brought me a sweet potato the other day. I roasted it last night and found it a great treat after a diet of beef and liver. I could not help thinking of Sumter and the English officer and envying Sumter his luxurious living. Did you see that Henry Jackson's piece to his wife and child is published and attributed to old Stonewall?

November 12.—My cavalry suffered nothing in the last skirmish. Deloney behaved most gallantly in the first. He was in considerable peril at one time. He was rescued by young Clanton, of Augusta, who was afterwards severely wounded. I fear that Jack Thomas, of Augusta, will die. I shall make Willie Church adjutant of the Cavalry, and I have forwarded a recommendation of Camak to be made major of infantry.

November 14.—I was surprised to-night by the appearance of General Wm M. Browne. He came to see General Lee on business and makes my camp his home while here. He has strong hopes of intervention. I do not look for it myself. Captain Berrien brought me a cap from Richmond, for which he had to pay the nice little sum of eighteen dollars. I hear that A. P. Hill whipped the Yankees at Snickersville yesterday.

November 15.—We are speculating on the consequence of Mc-Clellan's removal. It will demoralize to a great extent the army of the Potomac, with whom McClellan was a great favorite. I should [299] not be surprised if Burnside would attempt a dashing movement on Richmond. If he does we may have a heavy battle. General Longstreet feels perfectly confident of the result and so does General Lee. This morning I was petitioned to delay the drill for an hour to which I consented. When I was called to dinner, instead of the usual repast of bread and liver, imagine my surprise to see a splendid turkey with oyster sauce, a nice piece of shoat, stewed oysters, fried oysters, fine pickles, sauces and preserves with potatoes, served before me, and afterwards a magnificent pound cake—all brought from Richmond. The mess had prepared this dinner in honor of my promotion. It gave me more sincere pleasure than the promotion itself.

November 17.—Browne told me that Joe Davis, the President's brother, had been made a Brigadier-General. The senate rejected him but Ben Hill got the vote reconsidered provided Joe Orr would be made postmaster at Athens. Don't mention this as it would get Browne into trouble.

Near Fredericksburg, November 22, 1862.—My camp is on the hills immediately in the rear and west of old ‘Federal Hill.’ I can see the house plainly about one mile and a half distant, there being a level plain between it and my headquarters. In that house my mother was born and was married.

The abolitionists gave notice last night that they would shell the city at nine o'clock this morning. Consequently during the entire night the women and children were thronging the road to Richmond. It was a pitiable sight—gentle ladies dressed in furs trudging through the mud, poor little children huddled in go-carts and ox-wagons, many with little bundles of valuables leaving their homes, expecting them soon to be in flames. The time was extended this morning to three P. M. and this scene of distress has continued all day.

We are camped just behind our line of battle. The balance of Longstreet's Corps has come up and we feel fully able to cope with the enemy. I believe my brigade can whip ten thousand of them attacking us in front. We have a magnificent position, perhaps the best on the line.

November 24.—The Yankees seem to be moving away from Stafford Heights across the river. I think this campaign is closed. There will be a good deal of manoeuvering, some skirmishing, but no other great battle before spring in this State.

November 27.—My brigade was ordered into Fredericksburg last night to do picket duty. Nothing separates us from the Yankees [300] but the Rappahannock. Their pickets line one bank while ours occupy the other. During the day the men walk about in plain sight of each other, but by tacit consent there is no firing. I heard that Burnside is over the river in person seeking a place to throw across a pontoon bridge. This looks more like an attack than anything heretofore.

November 28.—I do not think the present state of things can last ten days longer. Burnside must attempt an advance unless his army is demoralized. Jackson is in supporting distance of us and I feel certain we can whip them.

November 29.—Both armies are in statu quo. I find that Lieutenant-Colonel Ruff, of the 18th Georgia Regiment, married a Miss Varner, who is related to you. I was much surprised at the reputation which tradition in Fredericksburg gives to the mother of Washington. It represents her as much inclined to the Tory side and as saying ‘George had better come home and attend to his business or the British will catch him and hang him.’ The poetry which has invested her memory with the American people is not felt by the descendants of her neighbors here. I confess this was painful to me. The halo around the memory of Washington's mother was a sacred thing to me and I grieved to have it dispelled.

November 30.—I heard directly from Joe Gerdine and George Atkisson yesterday. They were so much improved that they intended leaving for home soon. The General and Mr. A. are still with them. I incline to think, from certain movements of the artillery, that the Yankees have sought in vain for a crossing above, and intend to try forcing a crossing at the city. If they attempt it poor old Fredericksburg is doomed.

December 2.—I have been hard at work to-day preparing my lines for any attack by the enemy. General Pendleton visited my works, and was very much pleased. Though we have no tents, and the men are poorly clothed, we have very little sickness among them. Did you read the New York Post's article about exterminating the negroes? Was there ever such shameless meanness?

December 6.—I returned from picket last night in a beating snow storm, and reached my camp half frozen. My men, God bless the brave fellows, came in with a cheer, and not a murmur was heard from them. The snow this morning was four inches deep, and tonight it is bitter cold. Yet, we are all cheerful, and the health of the troops is good. For this we thank God.

December 8.—We have had two nights of intense cold. The [301] snow lies on the ground unmelted, and what is worse, the commissary department has failed to furnish any rations for two days, except some flour. The river is frozen over here, and in two days more the Yankees will not need pontoon bridges.

December 10.—I do not now anticipate a battle at this place, at least for some time. Do not be uneasy about my being ‘rash.’ The bubble reputation cannot drag me into folly. God helping me, I will do my duty when called upon, trusting the consequences to Him. I go on picket again to-morrow, and hence cannot write regularly.

Three days later the attack was made. Standing behind the stone wall in the Telegraph road, General Cobb was struck by a shot fired from a gun in the yard of ‘Federal Hill,’ placed, it was said, beneath the windows of the very room in which his mother was married. The femoral artery was severed, and death soon ensued.

1 His brother, Hon. Howell Cobb.

2 The Secretaries of War and Navy.

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