Robert B. Cox

(Perquimans County)

Featured Character – A Soldier's Life

Haverford College

Courtesy of "Haverford College,”  Haverford College Alumni Association, A History of Haverford College, (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1892), 326-327.

Robert Barclay Cox was born in Hertford, North Carolina, on January 31, 1842, to a slave owning family of Quaker ancestry. He was sent to Haverford College in Pennsylvania in 1857, but returned after two years as the country was “so much disturbed” and his father’s health was failing. When volunteer companies were being organized, Cox was 19 years old, and his father asked him not to enlist until he was needed. When Roanoke Island fell to Union forces on February 8, 1862, Cox enlisted with a family friend, Jesse B. Brewer, into the 13th Virginia Cavalry.  In an autobiography, Cox wrote that he had been active during the entire war, getting paid $25 per month, but sometimes paying $10 for one meal if it could be had. In July 1863, Cox and his squadron were captured at Hagerstown, Maryland and sent to Point Lookout, where he stayed until he was exchanged the next May. He wrote of having little food and of living in unsanitary conditions, but having an amount of freedom as well. His company began with 80 men and ended the war with 18. Cox took the Oath of Allegiance in July 1865 and returned home.