Thanks for Cooke. I added the bit about Stuart’s famous ride, since to me that’s the most noteworthy aspect of Cooke’s Civil War career. Let me know if you’d like to change it in any way. I made no other major changes, though I did move the sentence about J.E. Cooke up.
Maj. Gen. Philip St. George Cooke (b. 1809, d. 1895). In a war billed as “father against son, brother against brother,” few families had this description of the Civil War hit home more dramatically than the Cooke family. Maj. Gen. Philip St. George Cooke stayed in the U.S. Army while his son, John Rogers Cooke, and his son-in-law, J.E.B. Stuart, became Confederate generals. Moreover, Cooke’s nephew was the Southern novelist John Esten Cooke. Rifts in the family brought on by the war took many years to heal. The senior Cooke was a career military man. Born in Leesburg, Virginia, on June 13, 1809, he entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1823 as Philip St. George (due to a clerical error). He graduated 23rd in the Class of 1827 (close to his 18th birthday) and spent the early years of his career in western duties with the 6th U.S. Infantry. After the Black Hawk War, Cooke was promoted to 1st lieutenant in the new 1st Dragoons, and was promoted to captain on May 31, 1835. Much of his experience during this time was in exploration: in 1845, his group covered 2,200 miles and reached the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains over ninety-nine days. During the Mexican War, Cooke helped force the surrender of Santa Fe and then led the Mormon Battalion from Santa Fe to California. He was promoted to major in 1847 and lieutenant colonel in 1853. In 1857-58, he was sent on the expedition to Utah, and then promoted to colonel in charge of the 2nd Dragoons. Cooke wrote on cavalry tactics and was sent to observe the Italian War of 1859-60. At the outbreak of the Civil War, three of his children chose to cast their fortunes with the Confederacy, while another daughter and her husband stayed with the Union. Cooke remained with the U.S. Army and initially was given command of a cavalry brigade in the Washington, D.C. defenses. He received promotion to brigadier general in the Regular Army on November 12, 1861. When Gen. George B. McClellan opened his Peninsula Campaign in March 1862 Cooke went along, commanding a reserve division of cavalry at Yorktown, Williamsburg, Gaines’ Mill and White Oak Swamp. The most memorable aspect of Cooke’s time as a field commander, however, came not in battle, but in a period between battles. Having taken command of the Army of Northern Virginia at the beginning of June, Gen. Robert E. Lee began to plot an offensive against McClellan’s encroaching army. Requiring reliable intelligence, he sent Stuart on an ordinary reconnaissance mission which became truly extraordinary when Stuart decided to ride around the enemy’s whole army, capturing prisoners and destroying supplies. It was Cooke’s misfortune – on his birthday, no less – to lead the hopeless pursuit of his son-in-law’s cavalry column, which had such a large head-start and was so much larger and well-organized than the Union cavalry that Cooke, who also was victimized by faulty information, had little chance of achieving anything other being made to look foolish. After the campaign, Cooke was restricted to administrative posts, possibly because of his family ties and Virginia origin, though the humiliation inflicted by his son-in-law may have played a part as well. He was on the courts-martial board though the first half of 1863, and then was named commander of the District of Baton Rouge in August 1863. In May 1864, he was assigned to head the Federal recruiting service. Cooke received a brevet to major general for his service on March 13, 1865. He continued in the postwar army, finally retiring on October 29, 1873, more than fifty years after he first entered West Point. Following his retirement, he wrote books about his life in the military, including “Cavalry Tactics, Scenes and Adventures in the Army” and “The Conquest of New Mexico and California.” Cooke died on March 20, 1895, in Detroit and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. (Bio by Bill Battle)
Start date: 20
Teaches: Cautious (29)
Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I torment eager potential customers by not sharing screenshots of "Brother Against Brother." Everyone has a talent.