Letters of W. H. A. Cox 1848-1864
March 28, 1848
I received yours dated the 10th of Feb. with great satisfaction and now commence to answer it. I am well at this time and have been ever since I landed in Mexico with a little exception of cold, etc. You inquired in yours of Uncle Green and W. Dickerson, I heard Uncle Green & Wiley both at Sanwon about a month after he arrived of the diorea which is very fatal in Mexico particular at Sanwon and on the National road there is some sickness in camps, at this time we have lost 3 of our men since we left Mobile, 1 by the name of Wiggins of Henry City & Vickers & Bradley of the same County.
I do not know of what disease. Old Mr. Mergowen brought me word from Uncle Green & said he was as hearty as he ever saw a man. You may tell Aunt Mary that the letter she gave me for Uncle I kept it until I wore it out in my knapsack & had no chance to send it to him as I am on one road to the city & he on another. So there is no chance of communication between us. It is hardly necessary for me to say that I have not received a letter from home since I left there except the one I answer now. You stated if I wanted money to write for it, I thank you for your proposition, but I do not need and if I did there is ten chances to one whether I would ever receive it or not in a letter for the mail is so irregular. So I just ask you to take care of what little I have there for me until I come home, if I ever do. There is a great talk of peace in camps, but I think it is mostly conjectures. The boys are getting dissatisfied. Some of them on account of our fare it is bad & composed of Sugar & coffee & Beef & Bread. It is light flour bread. You may tell Ma that I have not gotten tired of flour bread yet. I am very well satisfied as yet. Mr. Carrol is well with the exception of his finger and it is not sore to hurt. He says that he wants some bacon and greens & that he wants you to write oftener. I am very glad to hear that you have caught the merderers of Mr. Yancy. tell Mr. Rea that my boots are worn out. I shall have to buy of the Mexicans. Mr. Carrol says the Wm. Todd was to pay him $4.50 cts for the use of the tools that he had in his possession when we left there. I am sorry to hear that Mr. Martin is dead. I have heard that Edward Bayzor was dead for which I was very sorry to hear. The reason I did not receive your letters was that we left Mobile on the 31st of Dec. and landed at Verra Cruz on the 7th of Jan/48. Mr. E. D. Croft is in good health at this time and indeed all of the Riddle Squad, except Mr. Dirden, Mr. Willton and John Dickson. Mr. Dickson is not very bad off I do not think, the rest we left at Verra Cruz.
Description of the Country.
The country from Verra Cruz towards this place is almost an entire perrarie with a few small bushes which is called the Shaperell & it is almost entirely level with a few slough after having passed over some 40 miles of the ways we came to the Mountains which seemed to be a bank of green trees as it is warm all of the time here, though it is pleasant. When we came to the mountains, we crossed a river and the bridge was about 125 feet high and built entirely of rock, after having crossed it the road was paved with rock and about 25 feet wide and run angling up the side of the mountain. Very often one side the mountain overhung us while on the other side was a precapice from 100 to 700 hundred feet. After passing this, we came to another perrarie of about ten miles, I suppose, and then to a little town about as large as Tuskegee though not so handsome though in a beautiful place. We staid there 3 days and then moved on for Arizava which is about 15 miles. We took it without the firing of a gun, it is as large as Mobile and there are a great many more inhabitants. This place is the most beautifully situated I have ever seen. The mountains from 1 to 2 miles high are close at hand all around it. The highest are caped with snow which adds to the scene. There are large creeks come out from the foot of them and the water is very clear and cool. There is some 10 or 20 Churches in this place. As I have neither paper nor time, I must quit and bid you adieu.
Your most obt.
W. H. A. Cox
Feb. 18, 1862
I write to inform you that I am well and trust that this may reach you and find all well. There is very little news although the news from Tenn. is very discourageing. We learn by telegraph that the federals has whipt us badly at Fort Donalson and taken many Prisinors. Two Regiments left this place two days ago for Knoxville to reinforce Gen. Johnson. Gen. Cloadeur, who has Command here still thinks we will have a fight. We have drawn our arms, they are Smoth Bore Muskets, so we are ready for them.
I received a letter from home a few days ago. Gus was still having chills every other day. Elizabeth was not very well. It has rained here for three days incesantly and is likely to continue. The high water has cut off communications by land. Capt. Armstrong is very sick, I think of Typhoid fever but I will not send this until his case takes some regular Course. (evening) The Captain is much better. I have tried for a furlough and failed. We cannot even go to Mobile. I think that there is but little danger or a fight here. We expect to be ordered off but do not know yet.
Feb. 19th, at night
Captain Armstrong, I think, is better and he is
going to the Hospital at Mobile tomorrow for a few days. We learn by telegraph that
Nashville, Tenn., is in the hands of the Yankees. We are still awaiting the appearance of
the Yankees and our officers seem to think that we will have a fight here yet, trust they
would receive very warm tokens in the Shape of Blue pills if they were to come on us now.
Our men are anxious to meet them and the news we receive only serve to make them more
The health of our Regiment is much better than it has been. I think now that the Capt.'s sickness is caused by colds.
I received a letter from Mary yesterday and was glad to hear that she was improving.
If I could have a few days I think I could raise some troops for the service though Ala. has never flinched yet, and I think she will turn out her 12 right soon.
Write soon and let me know all the news Direct as before.
Your affectionate Son etc.
W. H. Cox
1st Sergt Co. F. 18 Regt. Ala. Vols.
Feb. 26, 1862
Dear Father and Mother,
I write to inform you that I am well and trust that this may find you all well. The reason I wright this so soon is that I have just learned that we are ordered away from here and will start in a few days to Corrinth, Miss., I suppose. And if Ma has not sent those things she spoke of to me she had better not send them as it is doubtful whether I get them or not.
Capt. Armstrong is still in Mobile in the Hospital. We have had the worst storm here last night I most ever saw. It blew down nearly every house and those that were not blown the tops were blown off. There was one man killed. He was a guard at the Hospital and was killed by it falling on him, it was a large two storied building and there was about 200 men in it. A good many of the men was hurt but none of them died yet, if had been day time we should have had a good many killed. I think there was not a tent left standing and many of the troops who were in the tents were hurt, some of them badly. Our men are exulting a good deal at the news of our orders we have just recd. Orders to cook ten days rations. I am in such a hurry about my business that I must close.
I will write again when we stop.
Your affectionate son,
W. H. Cox
Feb. 23, 1862
I received your letter a few days ago and was glad to learn that you had improved and trust that this may find you in still better health. I wrote Pa a letter a few days since and suppose that you have Recd it ere this time. This leaves me well. You wrote in reference to sending me some things. If you wish to send them still, you will have to send them by express as it is impossible to get off on furloughs. So there will be no one passing soon who are soldiers. Mark the Box W. H. Cox, Co. F. 18 Regt. care of Capt. Armstrong and it will come safe. Direct it to Mobile.
We are still receiving some troops, and they have quit removing them from here, it is said that there is sixty five vessels at Shipisland and it is firmly believed that the Yankees will make a demonstration against Mobile this week. I am quite lonesome to as it is Sunday. You may set down lonesomeness as half the cause of this letter.
Capt. Armstrong was improving when I last heard from him. I did not want him to go to the Hospital, but others thought it best for him to go. I think he will be up in a few days. I fear Sloan has written home and caused his parents to be uneasy, but I do not think there is any cause of uneasness. Our fare is not as good as it has been. Our Company has missed drawing any bacon or pork for three weeks. We can draw salt beef, but the men wont have it. We draw pickle pork every other week, we have pretty plenty of meal, flour, rice, syrup, etc., but without meat it is pretty hard at any time. My shoes are about worn out. My paper is out and I must give out myself.
Your affectionate son,
Wm. H. Cox, 1st Sergt., Co. F.
Camp Near Corinth, Miss.
May 15th, 1862
I write you again thinking that this may not be unimportant to you although it has been but a short while since I wrote.
I am still well also Enas Haterway, Alex Moore, Willis Edwin are all well, so far as I can learn, though Enos was in the fight the other day at Formingtons which was a small affair and I have not heard from him since. We are closely kept in camp as we are looking for the fight to come off any day. The Federals are within two miles of our Line of intrinchments advancing as it were feeling their way, our Pickets and out Posts are skirmishing nearly all the time and have been for two or three days and nights. The Yanks are advancing on thru different points slowly but very steadily making from 1/2 to 1 mile per day. We would not be surprised at any time hear the fight open. Our men caught one of them yesterday who says that they are 166,000 strong, which of course we do not believe. I do not know how many we have but I recon enough to entertain them. I learned today that they had sent in a flag for the purpose of exchanging prisoners but cannot vouch for the report. I have just learned that one of the
Lieuts. of our Co. who has been home that I ran from the Company at the Shiloh fight, but I could not look for more from a hog than a grunt. I was acting Commissary for the Regt. by order of Col. Shorter at the time and was not expected to engage in it, only by volunteering which I should have done indoubtedly from the fact that I had been on severe fatigue duty for 36 hours and did not feel hardly able to stand alone. I remained in the rear and went to sleep as I had not slept any for 36 hours and traveled all the time. Capt. Armstrong has been dropped from our Roll by order of some of our Leuts. and is now gone to Richmond to try to be reinstated. There was a boy about 18 years old appointed over us. I do not know how he will do but suppose from appearance that he is a better chance than any of our Lieuts. The Company of course is not satisfied. I am now detached from the Company and have as little to do with it as possible, though the men seem anxious for me to return. I shall soon go back as I learn that there has been a man appointed Commissary, but until he comes, I shall continue. I have to draw seven Thousand Rations tomorrow and it is now late so I must close. Give my respects to all of the Reletives and friends.
I am very much oblige to Ma for the presents sent by Mr. Goings, and sorry to learn that Pa was so unwell but trust ere this he is well again.
Wm. H. Cox
July 5th 62
Dear Father & Mother,
I again write to inform you that I am in good health and trust that this will reach you and find you well.
I read a letter from home a few days ago and learned that my family was well and doing very well, or at least I had no complaint as to want, though I know my folks are needing or will be soon but think I can assist them soon, perhaps before they are entirely out. We were ordered paid at Corinth but have not yet received it, but shall be able to send all of my money home as I have traded some and made at least expenses by swaping & selling Pistols and some other such trades. I now have some money on hand of my own besides Commissary money which I am oblige to keep. I am still at work in the Brigade Commissary department and shall remain at it until I am dismissed from it which I do not think will be soon.
We learn that we have defeated McClellans Army at Richmond, but do not yet know. You will learn the straight of it sooner than I will. Gen. Chalmers left here the other day for Ripley, Tippots Co., and we learned he had a skirmish with the Feds who are said to be concentrating there or near there. Runners say that our men fought them there at Ripley yesterday and 5 or six Canon but the report needs confirmation. We expect to go daily to Ripley or some other point towards the State of Tenn. It is thought by those who ought to know that this army will invade Ky. or Tenn. and but upon what grounds I can't say.
Write me often. I have but little time to write on account of business. I still am annoyed with Diarhea but it is so common that we disregard it in camps as sickness. I walk a good deal and my heel pesters me some, but I do not think it will discommode me much. I also have slight pains in my legs some times but think it caused by hard walks. I am anxious to hear from Walter since the hard fighting of the last few days but suppose he will write soon if he lives through the fight and is able. Our men have just fired thirteen guns in honor of the victory won at Richmond.
Your affectionate son,
W. H. Cox
P.S. Direct your letter to Tupelo, Miss. care Capt. Thomason.
Camp Bulah (near Mobile Ala)
Aug. 10th, 1862
My dear parents,
I according to promise, seat myself to write you a few lines which will inform you that I am very well at this time. We left Tupelo on the 1st day of Aug. and a great many expected we would go to Chattanooga but our Regt. had done so much Picket Duty since we got to Corinth that it was thought best to let us rest awhile, consequently we were left here but we have not gained much as our Regt. furnished fifty men per day as Provost Guard, which takes the whole of the Regt. in about six days. We have had other duties to perform besides.
It is four miles to Mobile so you see the walk is pretty heavy to get there.
We are camped on the Spring Rail Road, near Major Evans, who is the father of Augusta the author of the Book called Bulah which gives rise to the name of the camp. Miss Beulah, as the soldiers all call her, was in our camp yesterday evening with her father and three sisters. Perhaps it will not be uninteresting to the girls to give a description of her (ie) Miss Bulah, she seems to be about 20 years of age, thin visage and is about as tall as Sister Mary N. Black eyes and hair, cut short. She looks
pale......fair skin if she was not so pale so........quite intelligent but does not look so........ Sisters look much more like authors than she does. She seem the oldest indeed there is but one other of them grown.
We are pleasantly situated but it is so mighty hot here. I have been assigned to duty as second Lieutenant of the Company but have not got my commission yet. Col. Holteclaw requires all of the officers to uniform themselves. I have bought mine, which cost me $115.00 for coat, pants, and hat, about 5 times what they ought to have cost but we all have to get them. The uniform is gray Casimier. Swords but little better than mine, that is a little larger, sells for $50.00. I shall not buy one. I also have a sash which I picked up on the Shiloh Battlefield. My sword and sash will save me at least $80.00 this time. Every thing is very high, that is such as soldiers want, a fine good pair of shoes sells for $20, boots $35, hats from $8 to $20 and everything else in proportion. Col. Holteclaw has promised me that I should have the first furlough of any officer in our Company, so I expect to get off home as soon as we are paid off which [missing portion of letter].
The officers who I work with in the Brizzard Commissary are gone so I did not get but 5.75 of that pay. I shall incur no more expenses, only for my provisions. We left Gen. Price at Saltillo, who I think will stir up the Feds at Corinth pretty soon, if I am not mistaken in the man. We apprehended no danger of an attack at this place, we are all anxious to hear from Chattanooga.
If you have any good Black leather on hand, please have me a pair of fine good shoes made and send them to me by the first one passing. I want them with a single sole. Some of the shoes you had made for us at Auburn is now very good shoes and good many of the men are after me to send to have them some made. If you can furnish 15 or 20 pair, let me know and I will send you the money and numbers for them. Indeed I could sell 100 pair, but do not care to pester you for mare than the Company would want. Write soon, address me as Lieut. W.H. Cox, Co. F 18 Regt, Ala Vols. Nothing more, but ...
Your affectionate son,
W. H. Cox
In the woods in the Rear of the Line of Battle, Paulding Co., Georgia
June 2, 1864
Dear Father and All,
I write again to inform you that I am still well and unhurt. I do not now recollect when I wrote you last, but I have been in all the fights from the beginning to the present time. Our Co., was in quite a severe skirmish the day before yesterday and night before last we had one more killed and 8 wounded in all since we left Dallas. Our right line suffered severly. One officer, Lt. Cohill killed, Capt. Darby and Lts Walker, Linn, Jones and Stephens wounded. Sixteen men killed, 80 wounded and about 80 captured. Yet our men are cheerful and sanguine of success when the struggle comes and are anxious for the fray.
Daniel has turned up at last all safe and sound. Has been faring well. My clothing is dirty and I want them washed and shall employ him for a day or two and then perhaps send him to the rear again. I saw young Mr. Carlisle the other day, two of his brothers has been wounded in these fights, both slight. I suppose our men are skirmishing in front now but little doing. We have some artilery fighting of an evening but not much execution done. Our Gen. Officers seem to think that a general engagement will come off soon, but I think that the fight will consist in skirmishing and maneuvering. But Johnston seems to have headed the yanks here as we occupy the same ground we did a week ago. My paper is out so I must close. Write soon. Direct to Lt. W. H. Cox, 18 Ala. Regt. Clayton's Brigade, Stewart's Division. A. T. Yams Corps.
W. H. Cox
Sept. 10th, 1863
You perceived by the above that we have been on the move. We marched 9 days and got here two days ago. The dust was very disagreeable. I can give no idea of what will come next. I learn that a good many via Troups are here but do not know. This leaves me very well.
I wish you to send me a goat or deer skin, if you have a large one, when you send me Daniel or two small ones to make me a haversack, as cloth ones grease my clothes so badly.
We have no mail communications here now nor do not know when I will get this off, but suppose by some waggoner.
I will try to write more fully when we get settled.
My love to all, I am as ever,
W. H. Cox
Johnsons Island, Ohio
August 19th, 1864
You perceive that I am a prisoner of war, was captured near Atlanta, Ga. on the 4th and reached here on the 16th. I find some friends here in like condition with myself. I am scarce of clothing and without
If we have any relatives or friends that you know, please let me know them and their addresses. I am well except a cold which I took on my trip to this place. I wish you to either write or send this to my family. You can write anything relative to family or domestic affair, but nothing relative to the war or contraband as our letters are inspected.
Write soon & instruct my wife how to write. Address me Block 5, Mess 3, Johnson's Island, Ohio.
I am as ever,
your affectionate son,
W. H. Cox
Johnsons Island, Ohio
Oct. 2, 1864
My dear Father,
I write again though I have not heard from you. I am in better health than I have been. If you have not already done so, please ship me by express, 100 lbs of flour, 50 lbs bacon, 20 lbs chewing tobacco, and 10 lbs smoking tobacco, also sugar, coffee, honey or anything of the kind. Box it up and band it with hoops or secure it. Mark it to Lt. W.H. Cox, Prisoner of War, Johnson's Island, Ohio care of Express, Richmonds Via Flag of Truce Boat. Please send it right away if you have any chance, procure me some money, Green Backs or gold or silver and express to me to buy paper and stamps as this is the last I have. I need the above articles very much tho we can live on the rations we draw, but they are short enough. Our quarters are comfortable enough for the time being. Let Lizzie hear from me every time you get a letter. We are allowed to write two letters a week. Perhaps brother Walter can help to forward me a box. If I have a chance I will send to Richmond by exchange prisoners and give them an order on you or any one of our relatives as I am as much in need now as I ever will be.
Write soon. I am as ever,
Your affectionate son,
W. H. Cox, 1st Lt. Co. A 18 Ala. Reg.
Direct to Lt. W. H. Cox, Prisoner of War, Johnson's Island, near Sandusky
(Helen Evelyn Cox, sister of W.H. Cox, says that their father prepared a
steel case and packed it with most of the items requested.
The case was shipped, but it never got to his son.)
Johnsons Island, Ohio
Oct 16, 1864
I have been looking several days for a letter from you, but as yet have received none. My health is on the decline, yet I trust that I may improve when I receive a box from you which I am anxiously looking for. My diet does not agree with me. We have light flour bread, salt pork, beef and fish and fresh beef three days in the week. We draw hominy or rice or beans, vinegar and salt in abundance. We are allowed to buy from the Sutler a few articles such as brushes, combs, soap and stationary but nothing to eat, but as I have no money I am easy for I could not buy if they sold anything that we might fancy.
In writing or sending anything to me, be sure to mark it by flag of truce or via Fortress Monroe. I have written to several but have not yet received a response to any of my letters. I shall address all my letters to you and wish you to write or get one
of the girls to write to Lizzie immediately so that she may hear from me through you. We are allowed to write twice a week. I will write you at least twice per month when I get paper. Do not write more than one page at the time for more is considered contraband. I shall keep on foot. I am as ever,
W.H.Cox, Blk 5, Mess 3
Prisoner of War
(1st Lt. Co. A. 18th Ala Regt.)