General Howell Cobb had had a full political career prior to the Civil War. He had served as a five term member of the United States House of Representatives and Speaker of the House from 1849 to 1851. He served as President James Buchanan’s Secretary of the Treasury and was the 40th Governor of Georgia.
The following is General Cobb’s appeal to his fellow Georgians to stand up to the Union soldier’s invading their state. It was published in “The Confederate Union” of Milledgeville on November 1, 1864.
Several days later on November 22, 1864, General Sherman and his men spent the night at Hurricane Plantation located ten miles northwest of Milledgeville. The next morning a slave told General Sherman the plantation was owned by General Cobb. He then ordered the home and all of the buildings except for the slave dwellings to be burned.
I’ve reproduced Cobb’s appeal here as it appeared in the paper….I find it a bit ironic that he was sending out this rallying cry to Georgians to stand tall and fight the Yankees, and then just a few days later his home was burned.
Let it echo from the mountains to the seashore, and from the eastern to the western limits of the Empire State answer back to the battle cry.
Georgians rally as one man and end the war.
You can do it.
Your homes invaded – your friends and neighbors have been insulted, turned out of your houses and driven as outcasts over the state, in poverty and distress. You meet them at every step – living graphic witness of the fiendish brutality of your enemies – and of what you may all expect should Sherman, with his myradons, overrun your territory.
Why then should it be necessary to make appeals to your patriotism? Would you submit and become more than slaves? Would you sully your proud name by listening to any propositions, with a cruel and relentless enemy burning and laying waste your own and your sister states?
Look at Virginia, that good old state, torn and bleeding at every pore, her citizens murdered in cold blood, her fields lay laid waste, her rich valley given up to the flames, by over of the Commander-in-Chief of the Yankee Army – see her sons marching by the thousands to defend Richmond and Petersburg. See her people suffering for two long bloody years on short rations, and now threatened with famine – et, they are more resolved and determined this day than ever before to perish or be free.
You will avenge their wrongs – they are fighting your battles.
Virginia did not secede until Lincoln called on her glorious Governor for men to force you back into the accursed Union – she was striving to prevent the bloody war that she forsaw would be the result of secession, but when she was called upon to furnish young men to force you into a longer union with the hateful Yankees she indignantly spurned the call, and swore to defend you to the last and noble defense it has been.
Some of your best blood of Georgia has been poured out on her soil, and uniting with that of the noble slain from every state in the Confederacy, rises like incense on high, and calls upon every son of the South to rise up in their might and hurl the dastardly invader from their homes they died to defend.
Will you let their blood call to you from this ground in vain? The fate that has been meted out to others will surely be yours unless you do respond an strike for your wives, your daughters and your homes.
Your President calls you your Governor calls you, your slain sons, your wounded sons, your heartbroken mothers, your weeping daughters, your outraged sisters, God and humanity, all urge you to rush to the field, and as a mighty host, armed in the holiest cause that ever nerved the arm of patriots, strike the cruel cowardly foe until he shall sue for peace, flee from your boarders and acknowledge your independence.
Of course....we know the outcome. The rallying cry fell silent on inch after inch of Georgia soil the Union possessed as they finished their March to the Sea.