|Title:||Alexander B. Coxe, Sr., Papers|
|Creator:||Coxe, Alexander B., 1872-1965|
|Repository:||ECU Manuscript Collection|
|Abstract:||Papers (1866-1874, 1899-1964) including correspondence, diaries, daybooks, reports, certificates, photographs, manuals, clippings, an army register, notebooks, etc.|
|Extent:||3.2 Cubic feet, 1223 items, Papers (1866-1874, 1899-1964) including correspondence, diaries, daybooks, reports, certificates, photographs, manuals, clippings, an Army Register, notebooks, and miscellaneous|
January 20, 1972, 150 items; Papers (1871-1873, 1899-1924), including correspondence, photographs, an Army Register, and a notebook. Deposited by Capt. A. B. Coxe, Jr., Chapel Hill, N.C.
June 4, 1973 (addition), 700 items; Papers (1866-1874, 1899-1964), including correspondence, diaries, daybooks, reports, certificates, photographs, manuals, clippings, and miscellaneous. Deposited by Mrs. David D. Hawkins, Corte Madera, California, and Capt. A. B. Coxe, Jr., Chapel Hill, N.C.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Alexander B. Coxe, Sr., Papers (#193), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Processed by R. Doubet, May 1974
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Alexander Bacon Coxe was born in December 1872 and died in February 1965 at the age of ninety-three. He was born at Fort Seldon, New Mexico, and claimed to be the first white child born in that state. His parents were Lt. Robert E. Coxe (U.S. Army) and Helen Bacon Coxe. Coxe was a member of the Minnesota National Guard, which was mobilized during the Spanish-American War. With the 39th Volunteer Infantry, Coxe saw active duty in the Philippine Insurrection and later with the Allied Forces in subduing the Boxer Rebellion in Peking, China. Upon completion of these duties he was commissioned an officer in the Regular Army. Coxe served in the cavalry at various Army posts until 1917. Just prior to U.S. entrance into World War I, he assisted Col. Ralph H. Van Deman in setting up the first United States Army Intelligence organization, G-2. Coxe served on the General Staff in France during the last year of the war. He was subsequently involved in military intelligence on the domestic front including the Mexican border crisis of 1919. From 1920 to his retirement in 1936 Coxe held various duties including secretary of the cavalry school at Fort Riley, Kansas; commander of the 13th U.S. Cavalry; Chief of Staff, U.S. Military District, Washington, D.C.; and Chief of Staff, Army Headquarters, Ft. Bliss, Texas. Coxe was brought out of retirement on 1940 and ordered to Washington to help reestablish and expand the Army Intelligence System. He retired for good by order of the President on March 15, 1941.
The first section of the collection contains Coxe's personal correspondence, the majority of which pertains to the Philippine Insurrection. One letter (1899) describescamp life at Camp Thomas, Georgia, and several letters describe the transporting of troops from Washington to the Philippines. While in the Philippines, Coxe wrote numerous letters home describing troop attitudes towards fighting the Filipinos (Dec. 7, 1899); the opinion of the volunteers toward the Regular Army troops (Dec. 30, 1899); the attitude of native Filipinos toward the Americans (Mar. 1, 1900; July 26, 1900; Feb. 17, 1901; Jan. 11, 1901); and the reaction of American troops to President McKinley's proposal for Philippine autonomy (August 23, 1900). In all of the correspondence Coxe comments on weather conditions, camp life and living conditions of the American soldiers, the Philippine countryside, and the many battles and skirmishes in which he was involved.
Of particular interest are letters written from the Philippines in which Coxe discusses the possibility of United States troops going to China and his desire to go (August 11, 18, 1900). One letter (April 5, 1901) tells of a return trip from the Philippines to the United States and the medical steps taken to prevent an epidemic outbreak of smallpox. A letter of considerable interest was written by Coxe from Shanghai, China, in November, 1906. Coxe describes his journeys through China, including a bicycle trip to Shau Lai Kuau. He comments that the Chinese like Americans and Englishmen but hate all other foreigners, especially Japanese.
The remainder of the personal correspondence is primarily of a general nature. One letter of interest was written by Major General Dickman on September 2, 1917, in which he is critical of everything considered un-American. He contends that all foreign activities should by sternly repressed and objectors assisted to leave the country. On the international scene, he expressed opposition to Austrian and Prussian nobility. In other correspondence (1919) George Gund tells of buying half interest in a German business from the alien property custodian and of his business need to travel to Germany. Dr. Joseph S. Ames (1920) talks of an "unfortunate experience" that a Mrs. Harrison is going through and that the Soviet government has paid Mrs. Harrison 42,500 rubles as "salary; " and Coxe himself reports on efforts (1950) by the Communist Party to break down troop morale and sow the seeds of communism. Counter measures were undertaken, but orders from a higher authority had forced them to refrain from any type of action against the Communists.
A major segment of the collection consists of notebooks and diaries written by Coxe between 1901 and 1934. Entries reflect Col. Coxe's ideas, thoughts, and actions during this period. Two diaries deal with the period 1901 to 1905. They describe actions against the Philippine insurrectionists, including skirmishes, the training of troops for battle, shooting matches, and marches by U.S. forces. Also included are commentaries on weather conditions, living conditions of officers, fear of cholera sweeping through the troops, and personal duties.
One notebook covering 1906 briefly mentions Coxe's trip to China. Several incidents are mentioned and distances between cities in China are listed. There is also a list of articles Coxe bought and the price he paid for these articles.
There are twelve diaries and notebooks covering the period from 1910 through 1913, and they touch upon a wide range of material. Notes pertain to the inspection of troops, equipment, and barracks; the training of troops; test results of target practice; instructions for field training in the Philippines; war games; squadron training; and the procedures for a proper military funeral.
A major portion of the materials for this time period deals with the Philippine Insurrection once again. It describes forays made by U.S. forces into the Philippine countryside; maneuvers in northern Luzon; reconnaissance missions; travel conditions and mileage; fights against the natives; an attack by Moors on a U.S. camp, complete with a diagram of the attack on the fort; and orders for a mission in the Philippines.
Also included in these notebooks are numerous diagrams, showing a "dismounted" practice course; advance guard position for troop movement; the west side of Bogsak; a U.S. cavalry camp in the Philippines, reflecting enemy casualties (1913); trenches; outpost positions (1912); and equipment laid out for inspection. Other entries in this section cover a wide variety of topics including lists of officers and men; statements of procedures and equipment requirements; sick call; and reports on discipline, funds, and armament.
The next segment of Coxe's diaries and notebooks covers the period 1914 to 1916. During this time, Coxe was stationed in the United States with the cavalry. The major emphasis in these volumes has to do with the training of troops. One notebook alone deals with the test results of horseback riding. There are notes on war games, combat practice, troop reactions in field maneuvers, train car needs to move the 2nd Cavalry from Fort Ethan Allen, Vt., in case of war, and equipment needs for the troops. Also included are entries for duty rosters, horses assigned to men, travels in the New England area, a troop list of Troop "I" 2nd Cavalry, supplies ordered for "mess," and names of members in the Alabama National Guard. Finally, there is a diagram of rifle courses and an order that uniforms were required for town visits.
Diaries and notebooks dealing with the years 1918 to 1921 reflect the next phase of Colonel Coxe's career. During this time Coxe had become involved in military intelligence. He was a military intelligence officer in World War I and was involved with the Mexican border crisis of 1919. These daybooks cover a wide variety of topics including Coxe's salary for 1918 and a description of his trip from Washington, D.C., to Chaulmont, France. In France, Coxe has notes on the organization of the 5th Corps' intelligence operation and the degree of efficiency with which it worked. Numerous notes comment on the working of the intelligence organization involving counterespionage, supplies, need for interpreters, office routine, working with prisoners, and reports of the success of an American attack on German lines on November 1, 1918. Personal interest notes include comments on a conversation with General Dickman (Nov. 16, 1918) who was "greatly pleased to command the Army of Occupation" ; observations on artillery fire; and mention of seeing the kings of England and Italy plus President Wilson in Paris. One notebook for 1919 deals with meetings held between September 6 and December 18 in which high-ranking officers discussed the most efficient organization of a General Staff.
The remainder of the notebooks for this period concerns military intelligence activities on the Mexican border. They cover a wide variety of activities including the smuggling of liquor, narcotics, and ammunition into Mexico; relations with the Yaqui Indians in Mexico; the capture of German spy Adolf Dieterich; an interview on March 8 with Senator Albert Fall in which they discuss the Mexican problem and American involvement; support by deserters for Mexican rebel Poncho Villa and a supposed plan of attack; and aid by the Mexican government for Japanese in Lower California. Other notes deal with troop morale; attempts by the Army to stop the spread of "radical ideas" and "radical Papers" ; the fear of Bolsheviks; and the problem of getting men to join the Army. Of particular interest is a 1919 notebook that deals with attempts by union miners to recruit membership in the coal mines of West Virginia. Notations reflect the turmoil resulting from miner resistance to unionization and the calling in of Federal troops.
The next group of notebooks covers the period from 1922 to 1929. Notations are primarily concerned with military training, strategy, and tactics. A notebook for 1921-1922 lists squadron field equipment and fires that occurred in the Fort Riley area in 1922. One notebook (June 1925) reflects Coxe's travel in the U.S., time and mileage involved, and travel conditions experienced. One notebook for 1922 contains notes on the role of the U.S. cavalry and includes a chart comparing the forces of Germany, Austria, Russia, England, and the U.S.
There are three notebooks dealing with the period 1929 to 1934. Entries for 1929 concern the cavalry board, the cost of chemical warfare material, the Department of Experiment for the infantry school, visits to different armories and weapons and ammunition that were being made, examination of an armored car, and a diagram of sights for an airplane machine gun. A notebook for 1932 contains a tentative march rate for the 13th Cavalry and a schedule for a one-hundred-mile forced march. Also included is a list of umpires for war games.
The last notebook of this collection deals with the inspection of Civilian Conservation Corps camps in 1934. Entries describe the purpose of each camp and include a diagram of a camp in Bonita Canyon.
The next major division of the Coxe Papers contains his official file and service records. The service records deal with the years 1906 to 1916. The official file covers the years 1899 to 1941 and can be broken down into five parts. The first section consists of pre-World War I material. Included are letters of recommendation; a proposed change in Cavalry Service Regulations; an official copy dealing with the treatment of men restored to the ranks or permitted to re-enlist after having been sentenced to dishonorable discharge; the President's Proclamation of War (May 19, 1917); and a number of letters from Coxe to Rutland R.R. Co. (1915) discussing the movement of the 2nd Cavalry by rail from Ft. Ethan Allen, Vt., to New York City, to Boston, and to the Mexican border.
The second part of his official file covers the period from 1918 to 1920 and deals primarily with military intelligence. Included is a list of agents operating in Germany in 1919 along with their duties and their value; a list of civilian workers in military intelligence and their salary; a note proposing to provide weekly reports to the British while withholding the sources of information; and a memorandum for handling the final disposition of prisoners of war. Correspondence (1919-1920) from J. Edgar Hoover pertains to legislation directed toward "radical activities" ; investigation of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; arrangements for the arrest of Communists and the prosecution of Ludwig C. A. K. Martin. A letter of particular interest (1920) from an undercover agent describes conditions in Mississippi and dispels fears of Communist activities in that state. He is convinced that Negroes will not stand for outside agitation and that the only potential problems will come from small white farmers opposing the Negro.
Letters and memorandums on the Mexican problem refer to possible Mexican recognition of the Soviet Republic, Mexican distribution of Bolshevik propaganda in the U.S., and Mexican Secret Service work in the United States.
The third portion of his official file deals with the period from 1923 to Coxe's retirement in 1936. Included is a War Department release (1931) in which General Douglas MacArthur as Army Chief of Staff sets forth general principles for the reorganization and development of the Army. Also of interest is a basic unit mobilization plan for the 2nd Cavalry (1924) and a strength chart for the 1st Cavalry Division units (Sept. 30, 1936).
The fourth section deals with Coxe's recall from retirement in 1940. Correspondence between Coxe and Brigadier General Sherman Miles discusses the duties Coxe would assume in counterintelligence. Coxe was relieved from active duty by order of the President on March 15, 1941.
Miscellaneous items include a list of intelligence personnel and their duty stations; a statement on the role of the cavalry in World War I; a summary of the importance of the cavalry in war; a typed paper on "The Relation of the AeronauticalIndustry to National Defense" ; a memorandum in which National Guard officers claimed mistreatment by regular officers in France; and a questionnaire in which regular officers evaluated National Guard officers.
Miscellaneous material pertains primarily to the Military Intelligence Division and contains articles and lectures on the formation and operation of the division. Also included is material on training and tactics (1919-1927); the Slocum Trophy, which is given to the regiment with the best record in the Eighth Cavalry; and notes on the John C. Hammond Case, involving actions of a M.I.D. special undercover agent (1919).
Personal financial and miscellaneous materials include copies of Coxe's income tax forms (1914, 1915, 1916); his will; and a War Department memorandum (1940) restricting commentary on the European situation. Newspaper clippings concern the bonus riots of 1932, Russia of the 1930s, the atomic threat and what to do in case of nuclear attack, and the United States in World War I. Numberous photographs depict the Philippines; family members; Fort Riley, Kansas; and San Antonio, Texas.
A completely separate section of the collection consists of items belonging to Coxe's father, Robert Coxe. Included is a book on United States Army Infantry Tactics (1876); an official Army register for January 1871; and notes taken on a march with the 8th Cavalry from Fort Lyon, Colorado, to Fort Union, New Mexico (March 1873). The notes consist of a description of the terrain with diagrams.
Oversize materials include military commissions, award citations, a diploma, and certificates.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.
Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.