March 10, 1839 – February 13, 1886
A member of the famed "Fighting McCooks" and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Lieutenant Roderick Sheldon McCook served as a officer with the U.S. Navy during and after the Civil War.
Roderick Sheldon McCook was born on March 10, 1839 in New Lisbon, Ohio. He was the fourth son of John James McCook and Catherine Sheldon McCook.
McCook graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1859. From 1859 to 1861, he served in the United States Navy off of the coast of Africa in pursuit of slave traders. After the American Civil War began, McCook was commissioned as a lieutenant on August 31, 1861. During the war, McCook served in on three ships: the steam frigate USS Minnesota (1861); the steamer USS Stars and Stripes (1862), and the iron-clad monitor USS Canonicus (1863–1865).McCook participated in various engagements on the James River in Virginia and in the sounds of North Carolina. In 1862, he commanded a battery of naval howitzers at the Battle of New Berne (March 14, 1862), where he received high commendation in the official reports. Near the conclusion of the war, McCook participated in the First Battle of Fort Fisher (December 7, 1864-December 27, 1864), and in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher (January 13, 1865-January 15, 1865). He was also present when the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina surrendered the city to Union Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelfennig on February 18, 1865.
After the Civil War, McCook was promoted to lieutenant-commander on December 25, 1865. From 1866 to 1878, he commanded naval vessels in the West Indies and in East Asia. McCook was promoted to commander on September 25 1873. His last naval service was in lighthouse duty on the Ohio River from 1880 to 1882. McCook retired from the United States Navy on February 23, 1885. He died less than one year later, on February 13, 1886, as a result of head injuries he suffered when he was thrown from his buggy during an accident in Vineland, New Jersey. McCook 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, his father, and his four brothers 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.