Robert Augustus Toombs was born to Maj. Robert Toombs (1775-1816) (a Revolutionary War officer) and Catherine Huling (15 January 1789-11 May 1848) in Wilkes County, Georgia on 02 July 1810. He attended Franklin College (now University of Georgia) in Athens, Clarke County, Georgia before graduating from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady County, New York in 1828. Afterwards, he briefly studied law at University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia, was admitted to the bar, and commenced his practice in Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia. He married Julia Ann DuBose (15 May 1813-04 September 1883) on 18 November 1830, and during the Creek War (1836-1837) he commanded a local militia company.

     Toombs was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and served 1837 to 1840, and was again re-elected for the term 1841-1843. In 1844, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and was also selected to represent Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives. Elevated to the U.S. Senate in 1852, he held this position until he withdrew in support of secession on 04 February 1861. He was in favor of the Compromise Of 1850, and with Howell Cobb (07 September 1815-09 October 1868) and Alexander Hamilton Stephens (11 February 1812-04 March 1883) campaigned in Georgia to have it ratified. He, Cobb and Stephens also organized the short-lived Constitutional Union Party.

     Although a firm supporter of Southern issues, he did not support secession until after the election of Lincoln, when he voted in favor of withdrawal as a delegate to the Georgia Secession Convention. He subsequently served as a deputy to the Provisional Confederate Congress, was one of the framers of the Permanent Confederate Constitution, served on the Finance Committee, and was also a potential candidate for the Confederate presidency. Thought of as too radical and a bit of a hard drinker, he was passed over, and reluctantly became the first Secretary of State instead. For the rest of his life, he felt he should have been the choice for chief executive. His frustration caused him to withdraw from his post on 24 July 1861, to become a brigadier general in the Confederate Army.

     He saw action in the Seven Days Campaign (25 June 1862-01 July 1862), but was criticized by Maj. Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill (12 July 1821-24 September 1889) for his brigade's performance at Malvern Hill (01 July 1862). His demands for satisfaction went unanswered. During the Maryland Campaign (03 September 1862-20 September 1862), he was given temporary division command. His brigades fought credibly, and he was badly wounded while making a bold stand at Rohrbach's Bridge (Burnside's) during the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) (17 September 1862). On 04 March 1863, he resigned his commission, disgruntled about being passed over for promotion. He declined re-election to the Senate, but was named Adjutant and Inspector General of the Georgia Militia in 1864.

     To avoid arrest at the close of the war, he fled to Havana, Cuba and then to London, England. He returned to his home in Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia in 1867, and resumed his law practice. In 1877, he was a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention, but his refusal to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, made him ineligible to hold other political office. In his latter years, he suffered from alcoholism and blindness, which eventually led to his death on 15 December 1885. Toombs is buried in Rest Haven Cemetery in Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia.

"I am not loyal to the existing government of the United States and do not wish to be suspected of loyalty."
-Robert Augustus Toombs (1880)

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