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Our Founders: Thomas R.R. Cobb

Additional Resources

Paul Finkelman, Thomas R.R. Cobb and the Law of Negro Slavery, 5 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 75 (1999).



Cobb's Legion

A "legion" consisted of a single integrated command, with individual components from the infantry, cavalry, and artillery. When it was originally raised, the Georgia Legion comprised seven infantry companies, four cavalry companies, and a single artillery battery. The list indicates the initial commander and the county where the unit was formed.

A famous fictional member of Cobb's Legion was Ashley Wilkes, of Gone with the Wind, who was supposedly captured during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in 1864.


  • Co. A - Lamar Infantry, Jefferson M. Lamar, Newton
  • Co. B - Bowden Volunteers, C.A. McDaniel, Carroll
  • Co. C - Stephens' Rifles, Luther Judson Glenn, DeKalb
  • Co. D - Mell Volunteers, Thomas U. Camak, Clarke
  • Co. E - Poythress Volunteers, W.S.C. Morris, Burke
  • Co. F - Tom Cobb Invincibles, F.S. Powell
  • Co. G - Panola Guards, Gazaway B. Knight, Morgan


  • Co. A - Richmond Hussars, Thomas P. Stovall, Richmond
  • Co. B - Fulton Dragoons, Benjamin C. Yancey, Fulton
  • Co. C - Georgia Troopers, William G. Delony, Clarke
  • Co. D - Dougherty Hussars, W.J. Lawson, Dougherty


  • Troup Artillery, Marcellus Stanley, Clarke

Thomas Reade Root Cobb (1823 - 1862)

April 10, 1823 - born at Cherry Hill plantation in Jefferson County. His family moved from their prosperous plantation to Athens.

1837 - enters Franklin College at age fourteen. Cobb's older brother Howell also attended UGA.

1841 - graduates first in his class and delivers the valedictory address at commencement.

1842 - admitted to practice law in the Western Circuit of Georgia at the age of eighteen. He had read law under William L. Mitchell an Athens attorney. In November Cobb begins working as a clerk to the secretary of the Georgia Senate in Milledgeville. He is elected as an assistant secretary of the Georgia Senate in 1843. At the end of the term in December 1843, he declares that he is finished with politics. But in November 1845 he is elected secretary of the Georgia Senate.

January 9, 1844 - marries Marion McHenry Lumpkin, daughter of Joseph Henry Lumpkin

1848 - becomes the Reporter for the Supreme Court of Georgia Supreme Court and publishes fifteen volumes of Georgia Reports, Volumes 6-20. He had previously served as assistant reporter to James M. Kelly.

1849 - compiles the first set of court rules and forms for the Supreme Court of Georgia, The Supreme Court Manual

1851 - compiles A Digest of the Statute Laws of the State of Georgia

1852 - compiles A General Digested Index to Georgia Reports

1858 - establishes the Lucy Cobb Institute, a girls' school in Athens, named for Cobb's daughter who died of scarlet fever. Cobb had already developed an interest in public education, believing schools should protect and mold the morals of young men and women.

That same year he became a trustee of Franklin College.

1859 - along with Joseph Henry Lumpkin, his father-in-law, and William Hope Hull, a family friend, founds the Lumpkin School of Law.

January, 1861 - elected to Georgia's secessionist convention and appointed to the committee to draft the ordinance of secession. He was also selected to represent Georgia's Sixth District at a convention of seceding states scheduled to meet in Montgomery, Alabama. The convention was headed by Howell Cobb. A committee was appointed to frame a provisional constitution which was adopted on February 7, 1861. Under this constitution Jefferson Davis was elected president of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America. Cobb was selected to serve on the committee which began work on the permanent Confederate constitution which was adopted on March 11. The emphasis on states rights was one of the chief differences from the U.S. Constitution. Georgia ratified the Confederate constitution on March 16.

May 1861 - Organized the Georgia Legion, later known as Cobb's Legion (mentioned in Gone With the Wind). Cobb continued to serve in the Confederate Congress which was moved to Virginia in July. On August 28 Cobb was commissioned a colonel in the Confederate Army. At the adjournment of the Confederate Congress on August 31, he assumed full-time command of the legion.

December 13, 1862 - killed at Marye's Heights in the Battle of Fredericksburg. His promotion to brigadier general had been effective November 6.

1863 - publication of the Georgia code established Cobb's reputation as a legal editor; He contributed a codification of the penal and civil sections of the general code.

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