John Cochrane, grandson of Surgeon General John Cochran of the Revolutionary Army (the final "e" was added by Cochrane's father), was born in Palatine, New York, August 27, 1813. After graduation from Hamilton College, he was admitted to the bar in 1834 and twelve years later moved to New York City. For thirty years before the Civil War he was a staunch Democrat and upheld the Southern viewpoint on most issues. As a states' righter, he served in Congress from 1857 until 1861. A delegate to the Democratic convention of 1860, he firmly believed and stated that the North was responsible for Southern discontent. Nevertheless, when secession came, he supported the Union, recruited the 65th New York Infantry, and on June 11, 1861, was mustered into Federal service as its colonel. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on July 17, 1862, but resigned "because of his health" the following February. In the interim he commanded his regiment at Fair Oaks (Seven Pines) during the Peninsular campaign, was in command of a brigade that reached the field of Sharpsburg the day after the battle, and was also in Newton's division of the VI Corps at Fredericksburg. Soon after his retirement from the army, he was elected attorney general of New York on the ticket of the Republican-Union party which endorsed the Abraham Lincoln administration. The following year, however, dissatisfied with many of the President's policies, he allowed himself to be nominated for vice-president (running with John C. Fremont) by the Cleveland convention. The ticket was withdrawn in September, and Cochrane actively campaigned for Lincoln against the Democratic candidate General George B. McClellan. In 1872 he supported Horace Greeley and was largely responsible for his nomination in the so-called Liberal Republican—in reality the Democratic—convention of that year. A member of Tammany Hall, and its Sachem in 1889, General Cochrane also belonged to various patriotic societies and was president of the Society of the Cincinnati at the time of his death in New York on February 7, 1898. He was buried in the Rural Cemetery at Albany, New York.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.