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Sgt. John H. Cobb

Sgt John Humphrey Cobb
Phillips Legion Cavalry, Company B

John Humphrey Cobb was born on Christmas Day of 1840 at Stilesboro, Cass (now Bartow) County, Georgia. His parents, Humphrey W. and Mary Grace (Black) Cobb, had recently arrived from South Carolina and settled on what would later be known as the Dr. Beazley farm. The Cobbs moved from their farm to the county seat, Cassville, in 1847, where John's father was involved in the mercantile trade and civic affairs. Young John attended the town's Cherokee Baptist College and afterwards clerked at H W Cobb's business "at the brick store....".

After Georgia seceded from the Union, John and his younger brother, George Seaborn Cobb, joined a local militia unit, the Cherokee Cavalry, at Cassville. Called into state service in June 1861, their company became Company B of the 4th Georgia State Brigade's Cavalry Battalion, and twenty year old John was sworn in as 2nd Corporal by Governor Joseph E Brown at Camp McDonald, Big Shanty, Georgia. When the 4th Georgia State brigade was disbanded near the end of July, the four company Cavalry Battalion was attached to the newly formed Phillips Georgia Legion, a combined infantry/ cavalry unit under command of Colonel William M Phillips of Marietta.

The infantry companies of the Legion were lettered A through F while the cavalry became companies G, H, I and K. John's company was now Company H of the new Legion. Shipped north to Lynchburg, Virginia, the Legion was mustered into Confederate service there on August 9th, 1861. In early September the Legion was ordered into the rugged mountains of western Virginia to join General John B Floyd's Army of the Kanawha at Big Sewell Mountain. In operations there and near Gauley Bridge in October and November the Legion suffered heavy losses from disease and exposure to horrific early winter storms. In late December the Legion was ordered to the coast of South Carolina to recover and recruit new troops to replenish the ranks. Colonel Phillips had returned to Marietta to recover from a near fatal bout of typhoid and while there gained approval to increase the size of the Legion with the addition of three infantry companies (L,M & O) and two cavalry companies (N & P). These new companies were raised and forwarded to the Legion near Hardeeville, South Carolina during March, April and May of 1862. The veterans of the Legion patrolled the Savannah & Charleston Railroad to protect it from Federal raiders operating inland from the coast and also trained the new recruits. This respite came to an end in July when the Legion was brigaded with the 15th SC, 3rd SC Battalion, 50th and 51st Georgia under Brigadier General Thomas F Drayton and ordered to report to Richmond, Virginia. After arriving in Richmond, the cavalry battalion was detached from the Legion infantry in September and assigned to Wade Hampton's cavalry brigade of J E B Stuart's famed cavalry. Thereafter, the Legion's infantry would serve with Longstreet's I Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia while John and brother George's Cavalry Battalion would serve in the ANV's Cavalry Corps under such notable officers as Wade Hampton, Matthew Calbraith Butler and Pierce M B Young. This would involve them in most of the major campaigns of that great army until war's end.

In a reorganization which occurred in 1864, Company H was redesignated to Company B. John was promoted twice for bravery and by April 1864, was Company B's 1st Sergeant. Shortly after the key southern victory at Trevillian Station, John was wounded in fighting at Nance's Shop (aka Samaria Church), Virginia on June 24th, 1864. Struck by balls in the neck and right shoulder, he was taken to Richmond where he recovered at Camp Winder Hospital, rejoining his company in September.

Meanwhile John's brother George was also promoted to 3rd Corporal. He and John rode together until September 1864 when he was furloughed home on "horse detail". Southern cavalrymen were responsible for providing their own mounts so when their horse died or was killed, they were often given leave to return home to obtain a remount. Many soldiers who returned to Georgia during this period found it difficult, if not impossible, to return to Virginia due to the presence of Federal troops in Georgia and "threw in" with Confederate forces in Georgia. George and other Legion soldiers were serving under General William T Wofford in north Georgia at war's end and surrendered at Kingston, Georgia on May 12th, 1865. Back in Virginia, Sgt John Cobb rode with his unit when it was reassigned to North Carolina in January 1865. They fought on as the war drew to a close, fighting in the last major battle of the war at Bentonville and then surrendering at Greensboro, North Carolina on April 26th, 1865.

Returning home, Sgt Cobb found Cassville in ruins and Georgia under Federal occupation. Nonetheless, John and George settled down in Bartow County and tried to return to a normal life. George married immediately after the surrender to Miss Buena Vista Cooper. They would live out their lives in Bartow county, raising a family as respected members of the community. John married in 1872 to Miss Ida Virginia Douglass of Virginia and they raised a family of five children. After a two year relocation to Texas in the 1870s, they returned to Bartow county where they were respected members of the community. John worked for the railroad from 1880 until 1894 and then became County Treasurer from 1895 until 1904. George passed away in 1909 and John lived on until 1921. Today both brothers and their wives rest at Cartersville's Oak Hill Cemetery not far from their old commanders, Lt. Colonel W W Rich and General P M B Young.

Thanks to Mr John H Cobb III for Sgt Cobb's photo and the biographical information for both Cobb brothers

Written by:Kurt Graham

Phillips Legion