Jacob Dolson Cox
|Jacob Dolson Cox|
|28th Governor of Ohio|
January 8, 1866 – January 13, 1868
|Preceded by||Charles Anderson|
|Succeeded by||Rutherford B. Hayes|
|10th United States Secretary of the Interior|
March 5, 1869 – October 31, 1870
|President||Ulysses S. Grant|
|Preceded by||Orville Hickman Browning|
|Succeeded by||Columbus Delano|
|Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 23rd district
January 2, 1860 – January 5, 1862
|Preceded by||Robert Walker Tayler, Sr.|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Quinby|
October 27, 1828|
|Died||August 4, 1900
|Spouse(s)||Helen Clarissa Finney Cox|
|Alma mater||Oberlin College|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Years of service||1861 - 1866|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
Jacob Dolson Cox, (Jr.) (October 27, 1828 – August 4, 1900) was a lawyer, a Union Army general during the American Civil War, and later a Republican politician from Ohio. He served as the 28th Governor of Ohio and as United States Secretary of the Interior. As Governor of Ohio, Cox sided with President Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction plan and was against African American suffrage. Secretary of Interior Cox implemented civil service reform into the Department of Interior. However, Cox was opposed by Republican Party managers. President Grant and Secretary Cox were at odds over the fraudulent McGarahan Claims and the Dominican Republic annexation treaty.  Without the support of President Grant, Cox resigned as Secretary of Interior. Cox returned to politics in 1876 and was elected to and served one term as United States Congressman of Ohio. Congressman Cox supported President Hayes reform efforts, however, his term as Congressman was unsuccessful at establishing permanent Civil Service reform. Cox retired and did not return to active politics. Cox wrote several books on Civil War campaigns.
Jacob Dolson Cox was born on October 27, 1828 in Montreal, Canada. His father and mother respectively were Jacob Dolson Cox, of Dutch descent, and Thedia Redelia Kenyon Cox, both Americans. The elder Jacob was a New York building contractor and superintended the roof construction of the Church of Notre Dame.  Cox returned with his parents to New York City a year later. His early education included private readings with a Columbia College student. His parental family suffered a financial setback during the Panic of 1837, and Cox was unable to afford a college education and obtain a law degree. New York State law mandated that an alternative to college would be to work as an apprentice in legal firm for seven years before entering the bar. In 1842, Cox entered into an apprenticeship for a legal firm and worked for two years. Having changed his mind on becoming a lawyer, Cox worked as bookeeper in a brokerage firm. During his off hours Cox studied mathematics and classical languages. In 1846 Cox enrolled at Oberlin College in the prepratory school having been influenced by the Reverends Samuel D. Cochran and Charles Grandison Finney, leaders of Oberlin College  He graduated from Oberlin with a degree in theology in 1850 or 1851. He became superintendent of the Warren, Ohio, school system as he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1853.
Marriage and family
While attending Oberlin, Cox married the eldest daughter of college president Finney in 1849; at age 19, Helen Clarissa Finney was already a widow with a small son. The couple lived with the president, but Cox and his father-in-law became estranged due to theological disputes. Cox was the father of the painter Kenyon Cox; his grandson, Allyn Cox, also won fame as a muralist.
Political and military career
Cox was a Whig and had voted for Winfield Scott in 1852 having strong family abolitionist ties. As the Whig part dissolved, in 1855 Cox helped to organize the Republican Party in Ohio and stumped for its candidates in counties surrounding Warren. Cox was elected to the Ohio State Senate in 1860 and formed a political alliance with Senator and future President James A. Garfield, and with Governor Salmon P. Chase. While in the legislature, he accepted a commission with the Ohio Militia as a brigadier general and spent much of the winter of 1860–61 studying military science.
At the start of the war, Cox was in poor health and was the father of six children (of the eight he and Helen eventually had), but he chose to enter Federal service as an Ohio volunteer. His first assignment was to command a recruiting camp near Columbus, and then the Kanawha Brigade of the Department of the Ohio. His brigade joined the Department of Western Virginia and fought successfully in the early Kanawha Valley campaign under major general George B. McClellan. In 1862 the brigade moved to Washington, D.C., and was attached to John Pope's Army of Virginia, but did not see action at the Second Battle of Bull Run with the rest of the army. At the beginning of the Maryland Campaign, Cox's brigade became the Kanawha Division of the IX Corps of the Army of the Potomac. When corps commander Maj. Gen. Jesse L. Reno was killed at the Battle of South Mountain, Cox assumed command of the IX Corps. He suggested to Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, formally the commander of IX Corps, but who was commanding a two-corps "wing" of the Army, that he be allowed to return to division command, which was more in keeping with his level of military expertise. Burnside refused the suggestion, but at the Battle of Antietam, kept Cox under his supervision. The poor showing of the corps around "Burnside Bridge" at Antietam is generally attributed to Burnside, not Cox.
After Antietam, Cox was appointed major general to rank from October 6, 1862, but this appointment expired the following March when the United States Senate felt that there were too many generals of this rank already serving. He was later renominated and confirmed on December 7, 1864. Most of 1863 was quiet for Cox, who was assigned to command the District of Ohio, and later the District of Michigan, in the Department of the Ohio.
During the Atlanta, Franklin-Nashville, and Carolinas campaigns of 1864–65, Cox commanded the 3rd Division of the XXIII Corps of the Army of the Ohio, under Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield. His 3rd Division was main effort in the assault at the Battle of Utoy Creek, GA August 6, 1864. After the fall of Atlanta during Hoods Tennessee Campaign, Cox and his troops narowwly escaped being surrounded by Hood at Spring Hill, Tennessee and he is credited with saving the center of the Union battle line at the Battle of Franklin in November 1864. Cox led the 3rd Division at the battle of Wilmington in North Carolina then took command of the District of Beaufort and a Provisional Corps which he led at the battle of Wyse Fork before officially being designated the XXIII Corps.
Governor of Ohio
Before mustering out of the Army on January 1, 1866, Cox was elected governor of Ohio. He served from 1866 to 1867, but his moderate views on African-American suffrage and his endorsement of President Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policy caused the Ohio Republicans to reject him for renomination. He then moved to Cincinnati to practice law.
Secretary of the Interior
Cox was appointed Secretary of the Interior by Ulysses S. Grant upon his inauguration in March 1869, serving until November 1870. He was an effective advocate of civil service reform and introduced a merit system for appointees. However, after President Grant failed to back him up against party politicians, who thrived on the patronage system then rampant in the Interior Department, Cox resigned. Grant's own view on Cox's resignation however was that, "The trouble was that General Cox thought the Interior Department was the whole government, and that Cox was the Interior Department."
After leaving the Interior Department, Cox was considered as a U.S. Senate candidate in the 1872 election, but the Ohio legislature selected a less conservative candidate. From 1873 to 1878 he served as president and as receiver of the Toledo and Wabash Railroad. He was elected as a reform Republican to the United States House of Representatives from Toledo in 1876. He served a single term from 1877 to 1879 and declined to be renominated. He then returned to Cincinnati, serving as Dean of the Cincinnati Law School from 1881 to 1897 and as President of the University of Cincinnati from 1885 to 1889. After retiring from his position as dean, President William McKinley urged him to accept the position of U.S. ambassador to Spain, but Cox declined.
During his later years, Cox was a prolific author. His works include Atlanta (published in 1882); The March to the Sea: Franklin and Nashville (1882); The Second Battle of Bull Run (1882); The Battle of Franklin, Tennessee (1897); and Military Reminiscences of the Civil War (1900).
- Hockett, p. 476.
- Hockett, p. 477.
- Ohio Historical Society web site.
- Eicher, p. 187; Warner, p. 97.
- Ohio Historical Society.
- Ohio Historical Society. Military records quoted by Eicher and Warner show his appointment to the militia as of April 23, 1861, a couple of weeks following Fort Sumter. His commission as a brigadier general of U.S. Volunteers was May 17, 1861.
- Warner, p. 98.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
- Hockett, Homer Carey (1930). Allen Johnson & Dumas Malone, ed. Dictionary of American Biography Cox Jacob Dolson. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
- Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964. ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.
- Biography at Ohio Historical Society
- Reid, Whitelaw (1895). "Jacob Dolson Cox". Ohio in the War Her Statesmen Generals and Soldiers 1. Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Company. pp. 770–777.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jacob Dolson Cox.|
- "Jacob Dolson Cox". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
- Works by Jacob Dolson Cox at Project Gutenberg
- The Department of Everything Else: Highlights of Interior History (1989)
- Oberlin Alumni Association article on Finney's children
- Cox's article on Antietam in Battles and Leaders
- "Cox, Jacob Dolson". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
- "Cox, Jacob Dolson". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
- "Cox, Jacob Dolson". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900
|Offices and distinctions|