A member of the famed "Fighting McCooks," Brigadier General Edward M. McCook participaed in the Battles of Shiloh, Perryville, Chickamauga, Brown’s Mill, and Selma during the Civil War.
Edward Moody McCook was born on June 15, 1833 in Steubenville, Ohio. He was the eldest son of John James McCook and Catherine Sheldon McCook. After being educated locally, McCook relocated to the Kansas Territory in 1849 to practice law. In 1859, he moved to Gregory Gulch, Colorado and then to Central City, where he became a prominent lawyer and wealthy resident. When Gilpin County came under the control of the Kansas Legislature, voters elected McCook as their first delegate in 1859.
Immediately prior to the American Civil War, McCook was serving the federal government as a secret agent in Washington, D.C. When hostilities erupted, McCook was commissioned as a cavalry lieutenant in the regular army on May 8, 1861. Soon thereafter, he joined the volunteer army as a captain with the 2nd Regiment Indiana Volunteer Cavalry. During the course of the war, McCook received numerous promotions and brevet promotions. On April 7, 1862, he was brevetted to 1st lieutenant in the regular army for his service at the Battle of Shiloh. On July 17, 1862, McCook was promoted to 1st lieutenant in the regular army. On October 8, 1862, McCook was brevetted to captain in the regular army for his service at the Battle of Perryville, where he commanded a brigade. On September 20, 1863, McCook was brevetted to major in the regular army for his service at the Battle of Chickamauga, where he commanded a division. On January 27, 1864, McCook was brevetted to lieutenant colonel in the regular army for his service during cavalry operations in East Tennessee. On April 27, 1864, McCook was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers, and he was given command of the 1st Cavalry Division of the Army of the Cumberland. Later that year, on July 30, Confederate a cavalry force commanded by General Joseph Wheeler defeated McCook’s command at the Battle of Brown’s Mill near Newman, Georgia. On March 13, 1865, McCook was brevetted to major general, and he next served as one of three division commanders in Brigadier General James H. Wilson’s cavalry raid through Georgia and Alabama, where he participated in the Battle of Selma (April 2, 1865). On May 13, 1865, Colonel George Washington Scott surrendered the last active Confederate troops in the state of Florida to McCook, and one week later, McCook read Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation during a ceremony in Tallahassee, officially ending slavery in Florida.
When the Civil War ended, McCook mustered out of the volunteer army and returned to duty with the regular army. He served only until 1866, however, because President Andrew Johnson appointed McCook as the U.S. Minister to the Kingdom of Hawaii. McCook served in that capacity until 1868. He then returned to Colorado in 1869 to help establish the Colorado Territory. On June 14 of that year, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed McCook as governor of the Colorado Territory. McCook proved to be unpopular with Coloradans who removed him from office by petition in 1873. On June 19, 1874, President Grant reappointed McCook to the office, but the following year, Coloradans deposed the unpopular governor again. McCook then retired from public life and concentrated on private business pursuits that made him one of the wealthier residents of Colorado.
McCook died in Chicago, Illinois on September 9, 1909. He is buried at Union Cemetery in Steubenville, Ohio.
McCook was a member of the “Fighting McCooks,” fifteen family members who served the Union during the Civil War. McCook's father and five sons who served in the war were known as the “Tribe of John.” His uncle and eight cousins who served in the war were known as the “Tribe of Dan.” More men from the McCook family served the Union during the Civil War than any other family in the nation.
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"Edward Moody McCook." (2020) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved April 2, 2020, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=877