Fear and the Longing to be Home; a typical letter

On June 24, 1864, soon after the “Atlanta Campaign” had begun, General Jacob Cox of the 23rd corps wrote home about his experiences in narrowly escaping death during the war in a way which likely echoed that of many men during this war.  In it he told his wife Helen that he had had many narrow escapes from death, but hadn’t told her about them because he didn’t want her to be worried.  Looking ahead, he assured her that he would recount all of those events at home “by the fireside” when the war was over.  In fact, Cox would also recount them in his four histories of the war, which today are still seen as objective analyses of every aspect of this conflict.  His “Military Reminiscences” are considered among the best memoirs of the participants.

He wrote, “I did not tell you that I was stunned by the explosion of a shell at Resaca [Georgia, during the Battle of Resaca], because it was not true…i ws simply deafened for a few seconds.  it was a providential escape…The bystanders thought we were all killed, &it was for a time so reported.  If I told you all the narrow escapes you would be kept uneasy all the time, & it is much better that you should only reflect upon the fact that so far  am unhurt, & the escapes will do to talk about at home, when the war is over, & I can fight my battles over again by the fireside.”

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