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 Jacob Dolson Cox

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Jacob Dolson Cox

Civil War Union Major General, 28th Ohio Governor, US Congressman, Presidential Cabinet Secretary. Born in Canada to American parents, he graduated Oberlin College in 1851, and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1853. An ardent proponent of the abolition of slavery, he was an early member of the Ohio Republican Party, and served in the Ohio State Senate from 1859 to 1861. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he offered his services to his home state, and was made a Brigadier General of Ohio State Troops in April 1861. Less then a month later he was accepting into the growing Union Army with a commission of Brigadier General, US Volunteers (May 17, 1861). His first served was as a brigade commander under General George B. McClellan in western Virginia, where he took part in the September 1861 Rich Mountain Campaign. He served as Commander Virginia's Kanawha Valley Department until August 1862, when he was transferred to serve under Major General John Pope in his Army of Virginia. After the Union debacle at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, he served as a division commander in the subsequent battles of South Mountain (assuming command of the IX Corps after Major General Jesse Reno was killed) and Antietam (where his Corps fought to take what was to become known as "Burnside's Bridge). He was appointed as Major General of Volunteers in October 1862, but reverted back to Brigadier General in March due to an overabundance of officers at that rank (which exceeded the numbers set by law). He was assigned to command the District of Ohio, which he did throughout 1863, then was sent to command a division in the XXIII Corps in Major General William T. Sherman's 1864 operations to capture Atlanta, Georgia. After that city capitulated in September 1864, his division was detached and left with General George Thomas' forces in Tennessee while General Sherman took the bulk of his Army in its famed March Across Georgia. General Cox fought in the resounding Union victories at the Battles of Franklin (where he was in charge of building the defensive fortifications that ultimately proved to be impregnable) and Nashville. Reappointed as Major General, US Volunteers in December 1864, he was confirmed as such by Congress. He led his division at the Battle of Kingston, North Carolina (March 15, 1865) and through operations in North Carolina that resulted in the surrender of Confederate forces under General Joseph E. Johnston in April 1865. Despite still serving on active duty, he was elected as Governor of Ohio to succeed Charles Anderson, and served in that office from 1866 to 1867. Becoming a moderate in terms of Reconstruction politics and African American suffrage (he opposed giving African Americans the right to vote, which was in stark contrast to his earlier abolitionist leanings), he supported President Andrew Johnson though is impeachment, anger many members of the Ohio Republican party, which post-War as a polarized and divisive group. He subsequently did not attempt to win re-nomination as Governor (fellow Union General and future United States President Rutherford B. Hayes received the nomination), knowing that it would be futile. Appointed as Secretary of the Interior by President Ulysses S. Grant, he frequently clashed with the Administration over many issues, include civil service reform and the proposed annexation of Santo Domingo. He eventually resigned from his office in 1870. Reviving his law practice upon his return home, he served as a railway president, and was elected as a Republican to represent Ohio's 6th District in the United States House of Representatives, serving from March 4, 1877 to March 3, 1879. From 1881 to 1897 he first as dean of the Cincinnati Law School, then as President of the University of Cincinnati. He wrote a number of historical works dealing his Civil war campaigns and his experiences, some of which were heavily criticized for biased interpretations of events (his more well known books were "Atlanta" (1882), "The Battle of Franklin" (1897), "The March to the Sea" (1898), and "Military Reminiscences of the Civil War" (1900). He passed away while vacationing in Massachusetts in 1900, and was interred in Cincinnati, Ohio. His son, Kenyon Cox, became a well known artist and painter, which works that still hang in Museums today.

Bio by: Russ


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 2 Feb 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4443
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jacob Dolson Cox (27 Oct 1828–4 Aug 1900), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4443, citing Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .