John Rutter Brooke

John Rutter Brooke was born on July 21, 1838, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and secured his early education at what is now Collegeville and in West Chester, Pennsylvania. On April 20, 1861, he entered Federal service as a captain of the 4th Pennsylvania Infantry. At First Manassas, this three-month regiment marched away on the eve of the battle while the rest of the Union Army was moving in to fight. Becoming colonel of the 53rd Pennsylvania in November, Brooke took part in the Peninsular campaign and was in temporary command of a brigade of Sumner's II Corps at Sharpsburg. He reverted to command of his regiment at Fredericksburg, and was given permanent command of the 4th Brigade of the 2nd Division of the II Corps, which he directed at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. On the second day at Gettysburg the 2nd Division was ordered to support Daniel E. Sickles' poorly deployed III Corps, and in the desperate fighting around the Wheatfield Brooke was wounded. He received the praise of his division commander, John C. Caldwell, for his conduct. The following winter, Brooke commanded a convalescent camp at Harrisburg. He returned to the army and participated in Grant's Overland campaign of 1864. For distinguished services at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, his long delayed appointment as brigadier general of volunteers was conferred, to rank from May 12, 1864. Critically wounded at Cold Harbor in June, Brooke returned to duty in September, although temporarily incapacitated for field service. He served on court-martial duty until the spring of 1865, when he was given command of a division of recruits in the Army of the Shenandoah under General Winfield S. Hancock. Brooke was brevetted major general of volunteers and was appointed to the Regular Army on July 28, 1866, as lieutenant colonel, 37th Infantry; he was promoted to colonel in 1879; to brigadier in 1888, and to major general in 1897. During the Spanish War he commanded the pestiferous camp at Chickamauga Park, Georgia, where the I and III Corps were trained. Shortly thereafter he took part in the Puerto Rican campaign under Nelson A. Miles and was military governor first of Puerto Rico and then of Cuba after the evacuation of the islands by Spain. His last command was that of the Department of the East. He retired on July 21, 1902, having reached the statutory age of sixty-four. His remaining years were spent quietly, mainly in Philadelphia, where he died on September 5, 1926. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. General Booke was the next to the last survivor of the 583 Union generals of full rank.

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Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.