Civil War Letters Discovered

Civil War Letters Discovered

They happened upon a collection of letters written by Daniel Reeves Cox, great-great-grandfather of Martha Mazzaferro of Greenport. Mr. Cox fought in the battles of Chancellorsville in Virginia and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.

“I just didn’t think anything about it,” Ms. Mazzaferro, said of the letters. Now 83, she still lives in a Greenport home built 106 years ago by her grandfather, Quincy Ward Cox. Ms. Mazzaferro’s daughter, Karen Jimenez, who now lives with her, became involved with the Stirling Historical Society, got excited about the Civil War exhibit and realized the letters’ value.

The papers also include a marriage certificate dated Aug. 30, 1868, issued when Daniel Cox wed Mary Louisa Penny. The couple subsequently made their home in Mattituck.

In his letters, Mr. Cox, who was only 17 when he enlisted, wrote about being wounded in both battles. He returned home after being wounded at Chancellorsville in the spring of 1963. After reenlisting, he joined the Army of the Potomac and fought at Gettysburg in the early summer.

In that battle, Mr. Cox was wounded in the leg by musket fire that took off part of the bone, Ms. Mazzaferro said. His leg was left permanently numb.

His initial letter recounts his travels from New York to the gentle farmland of southern Pennsylvania and Gettysburg, where the epic battle ws fought July 1 to 3, 1863. With great losses on both sides, Union soldiers defeated the Confederates commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee. It was a turning point in the war.

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