Skip to main content

William Tell Cobb Papers

Identifier: Mss. 98 C63

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Letters of William Tell Cobb (1840-1913), of Mauricetown, New Jersey, and his brother, Edwin Cobb (b. 1838), also of Mauricetown, New Jersey. William Cobb participated in the battles of Fair Oaks and 2nd Manassas while in the Army, and the battle of Fort Fisher while in the Navy; he describes these battles in his letters. Edwin Cobb provides an eyewitness account of the battle between the "Monitor" and the "Merrimac". Other topics dealt with in the letters are camp conditions and everyday life in the Army and Navy, interaction between Union and Confederate soldiers, and the financial difficulties faced by William Tell Cobb and his family during the war. The collection also includes a photo of William Tell Cobb, his copy of "The Soldier's Guide" and a collection of typescripts of the letters


  • Creation: 1802-1965

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

William Tell Cobb (1840-1913) served in the Union Army during the Civil War, as a private in the 20th Pennsylvania Infantry, an orderly sergeant in Company F, 5th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers from 1861- 1862, and as a private in Company B, 2nd U.S. Cavalry from 1862-1864. He also served in the U.S. Navy as an ordinary seaman on the ships Allegheny, Daylight, Shenandoah, and Princeton from 1864-1865.

Edwin Cobb (b. 1838), younger brother of William Tell Cobb, served in the U.S. Navy as well, as a 1st Lieutenant on the ship C. W. Holmes in 1862.


0.50 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

This collection is organized into three series. Series 1 contains letters and typescripts; Series 2 contains miscellaneous material; and Series 3 contains transcripts. Theis collection is arranged into series by item description and then by chronologically by date.

Acquisition Information:

Acc. No. 1993.45A; Purchased: 188 items, 7/01/1993.  (Same as 98 C63).

Physical Description

188 items


Additional information may be found at

Processing Information:

Processed by Kathy Feeney in 1998.


Guide to the William Tell Cobb Papers
Kathy Feeney
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository