Coxon, Coxen and Coxson were soldiers in the Union Cavalry. This article is more detail of their role and Regiments and adds to our previous post on ‘The American Civil War’.
The role of the cavalry at the beginning of the Civil War was very limited. Horsemen of both armies were initially used for patrolling and scouting, guarding supply trains and railroads, and providing escorts to generals. They were initially only used in battle as shock troops. As the war progressed this changed.
Soldiering on horseback became a hard life with plenty of danger. The cavalry’s role dramatically changed and by 1863 the armies were making use of their horse soldiers in combat situations. Cavalry divisions were used by commanders as advance scouts and as a mobile fighting force.
Cavalry were dependent on fast movement so a cavalryman’s first priority was care of his horse. Each cavalry regiment had a blacksmith who shod and cared for the animals in camp.
On active campaign, a trooper had to look out for his own animal and care for it. If the horse was disabled, it was easier for a northern soldier to get a new mount from the herd which usually accompanied the army.
Southerners brought their own mounts with them into service and woe be to the man whose horse pulled up lame or was injured. It sometimes meant the trooper became a foot soldier until another horse could be obtained.
The armament of a typical cavalryman included a light steel saber, a pistol and a carbine. By the time of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1863) breech-loading carbines were standard issue in all Union cavalry regiments.
Confederate cavalrymen traveled lighter than their Union counterparts and were not usually armed with the more modern weapons. Short, muzzle-loading carbines were common in southern regiments. Some southern troopers preferred to leave their sabers behind and carried extra pistols instead of sabers, for close work.
Coxon, Coxen and Coxson
[Where the name is shown with alternates in the military record then both names are listed e.g. Coxson (Coxen)]
- Emanuel R. Coxon (Coxen) – 9th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry
- George Coxon – 12th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry
- George R. Coxen (see appendix) – 1st District of Columbia Cavalry
- John P. Coxson (John B Coxon) – 9th Regiment, Kansas Cavalry
9th Regiment Illinois Cavalry – Emanuel R. Coxon (Coxen)
The 9th Illinois Cavalry was mustered into service at Chicago, Illinois on November 30, 1861. The regiment was mustered out on October 31, 1865 at Selma, Alabama.
Campaigns were (in time order):
- 1862 – Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee
- 1863 – Tennessee, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama
- 1864 – Tennessee, Missouri
- 1865 – Alabama, Illinois
One officer and 45 enlisted men were killed in action or died of their wounds, and 6 officers and 241 enlisted men died of disease, for a total of 293 fatalities.
“The 9th Illinois Cavalry had done good service, and always bore a fine reputation. Through swamps and across rivers it had followed the enemy, amid the heat of summer and snows of winter, and was entitled to the thanks of the State, as well as the gratitude of the Federal Government. To have participated in the Arkansas and Nashville campaigns, and received the thanks of Generals Curtis and Thomas, was something to be proud of and reflected honor upon Illinois.”
12th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry, Company ‘F’ – Private George Coxon
The 12th Kentucky Cavalry was organized at Caseyville and Owensboro, Kentucky, and mustered into service on November 17, 1862. the Regiment was mustered out of service on 23rd August 1865.
Campaigns were (in time order):
- 1862 – Kentucky
- 1863 – Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee
- 1864 – Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina
- 1865 – Tennessee, Kentucky
The Regiment started with over 2,000 men and lost a total of 233 men during service; 3 officers and 22 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 4 officers and 204 enlisted men died of disease.
“The 12th Kentucky Cavalry received the highest praise from all the officers with whom it had served, a daring prompt and efficient discharge of duties and high soldierly bearing.”
1st District of Columbia Regiment, Company ‘B’ – Private George R. Coxen
George R. Coxen, drafted June/July 1863, Maryland aged 28 years. Discharged 1865.
The 1st District of Columbia Regiment was mustered in at Washington, D.C., between June and December, 1863, for service in the defenses of Washington, D.C. and was organised in 4 companies.
In November 1863 it was transferred to the Department of Virginia and North Carolina. Eight companies which had been raised in Augusta, Maine were attached to the regiment in early 1864.
The regiment participated in the Siege of Petersburg (see photo at top of page) during the remainder of 1864 and early 1865. In August 1864, seven companies were transferred to the 1st Maine Cavalry, while the rest of the regiment was consolidated into two companies.
After fighting in the Appomattox Campaign (see photo), one of the last battles of the Civil War, the regiment served in garrison roles in Virginia until mustering out on October 26, 1865.
9th Regiment Kansas Cavalry – Private John P. Coxson (John B. Coxon)
John P. Coxson from Lawrence, Kansas. Mustered in: Sept 20th 1861. Mustered out: Nov 19th 1864, Leavenworth
Kansas was susceptible to attack along her southern and
At the outset of the Civil War there was much excitement along the
eastern border of Kansas due to anticipated invasion by Confederate forces.
Kansas knew Missouri still harbored strong feelings over abolitionist raids and in the
southwest corner of Missouri lead mines were important to the Southern war effort.
The 9th Kansas Cavalry was organized at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on March 27, 1862 by consolidation of several “independent battalions”, squadrons, and detachments originally formed for other regiments. The 9th Kansas Cavalry mustered out of service at Little Rock, Arkansas on July 17, 1865.
Campaigns were (in time order):
- 1861 – Missouri
- 1862 – Missouri
- 1863 – Missouri
- 1864 – Arkansas, Missouri
- 1865 – Arkansas
The Regiment had a total enrolment of 1,538 men and lost 195 men during service; 1 officer and 52 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 2 officers and 140 enlisted men died of disease. 158 men were discharged for disability.
[Acknowledgement: U.S National Park Service, Gettysburg National Military Park, civilwar.illinoisgenweb.org, Adjutant- General’s report 12th Kentucky Cavalry, Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, Vol. 1. – 1861-1865, richardsolomon.com, Miami County, Kansas Historical Museum, History of Kansas War Regiments – Christopher Cox, William Brown, Wikipedia]
APPENDIX – FURTHER INFORMATION OF INDIVIDUAL SOLDIERS
George R. Coxen – 1st District of Columbia Cavalry
George R. Coxen was born about 1830 to Tresa and Washington Coxen (b. about 1786, Maryland). He had five sons and one daughter with Elizabeth A Franks between 1855 and 1874. He died on December 20, 1889, in Hampton, Virginia, at the age of 59, and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia. (Government Headstone at Range 16 Site 69)
[Acknowledgement and thanks: William Brown]