Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb



Source: Walter R. Hill, The Supreme Court of Georgia
4 The Green Bag 18, 19 (1892)(pt. 1)

"Lawyer and Confederate general Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb was born on Cherry Hill Plantation in Jefferson County, Ga. When he was young, Cobb and his family moved to Athens, where he attended the University of Georgia, graduating at the top of his class. Cobb was admitted to the bar in 1842 and took the position of reporter for the state Supreme Court. While manning this position, he published a number of legal works, most notably a Digest of Georgia Laws (1851). Known for his religious zeal as a revivalist, Cobb brought the same intensity of spirit to his demand for better schools—which he believed should not only educate, but shape the morals of young men and women. To serve the educational needs of young women, he helped establish the Lucy Cobb Institute, named for his recently deceased daughter, in 1859. He also established the Lumpkin Law School at the University of Georgia that same year. Early on Cobb was a Unionist in his political sentiments, though he vigorously defended slavery. But when Lincoln was elected and secession became inevitable, Cobb joined the chorus calling for separation from the Union. On November 12, 1860 he delivered a powerful speech before the Georgia legislature calling for secession. Elected to the Provincial Congress of the Confederate States of America, he served on the judiciary and printing committees, and the committee which drafted the Confederate Constitution, the original draft of which is thought to be in his handwriting. But Cobb was argumentative and did not get along well with many of the other legislators, not understanding why his suggestions were not immediately implemented. He raised his own regiment of troops—the Cobb's Legion—and led them into war as a commissioned colonel, serving in the battles of Seven Days, Second Manassas, and Sharpsburg. In October of 1862 he took command of a brigade formerly led by his brother Howell Cobb, and was promoted to brigadier general. He was killed defending a wall at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Cobb is buried in Oconee Hills Cemetery in Athens."

[This biographical sketch of Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb appears with the gracious permission of Ed Jackson, at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia. It is reprinted from the Institute's This Day in Georgia History] [See also: Edwin Anderson Alderman & Joel Chandler Harris (eds.), Library of Southern Literature 89 (New Orleans: Martin & Hoyt Co., 1910)(1907)(Vol. 15, Biographical Dictionary of Southern Authors, 1929, Lucian Lamar Knight ed.)]

Thomas R.R. Cobb
The New Georgia Encyclopedia

Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb

Thomas R.R. Cobb

Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb, An Historical Sketch of Slavery from the Earliest Periods (Philadelphia: T. & J. W. Johnson, 1858)(Miami: Mnemosyne Pub. Co., 1969)

______________________, An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States of America: To Which is Prefixed, an Historical Sketch of Slavery (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999)(Paul Finkelman introd.)


William B. McCash, Thomas R. R. Cobb: The Making of a Southern Nationalist (Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1983)

Research Resources

Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb Family Papers
Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia