Robert Latimer McCook

Taken in the Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton County.

Civil War Union Brigadier General. A native of the “Buckeye State”, he was a member of a patriotic 19th century family of brothers and cousins known as the “Fighting McCooks”. The basis of him becoming a distinguished attorney was an internship in the law office of an older brother and Edwin McMaster Stanton, the future Secretary of War. Once accepted to the Bar, he established reputable law offices in Cincinnati and Steubenville, Ohio. He was in this profession when Civil War began in 1861. Forfeiting his law career, he was influential in the recruitment of the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment that was formed at Camp Dennison, Ohio in May, 1861. The ranks of this three year regiment were filled with German immigrants, which lead to McCook stating, “I’m just a clerk for a thousand Dutchmen!” At the rank of Colonel, he was made the commander of the regiment and led it to join General George Brinton McClellan's campaign in western Virginia in the summer of 1861. Subordinate to General William Starke Rosecrans, and with the responsibilities of an acting brigade commander, he performed gallantly during the September 10, 1861 engagement with Confederate General John Buchanan Floyd's forces at Carnifax Ferry, West Virginia. After a transfer to Kentucky and an assignment in General George Henry Thomas Division, he led his command through the January 1862 Battle at Mills Springs. Demonstrating bravery throughout the clash, he received a gun shot wound to his right leg. After a short period home to convalesce, he returned to active duty and was promoted to Brigadier General of volunteers on March 21, 1862. He was present at the Battle of Shiloh but remained unengaged with the Confederates. In the summer of 1862, he was active in countermeasures to thwart the advance of Confederate General Braxton Bragg's forces into the border state of Kentucky. He had become immobilized from the wound received at the Battle of Mill Springs and was resigned to travel in an army carriage/ambulance. On August 5, 1862, he and a small contingent of soldiers under his command were far advanced of the vanguard of the Union army. Seeking information at a farm house as to where an ideal place for a camp site, McCook’s party gave flight after coming under attack by a guerrilla cavalry force sympathetic to the Confederacy. Refusing to surrender, his attempt to rejoin the safety of the main army was in vain. McCook was overtaken and was subsequently shot through the stomach as he lay inside the carriage by the partisan’s leader, Captain Frank B. Gurley. The mortally wounded General was transferred to a home near Dechard, Tennessee where he succumbed to his wound the next day. (bio by: Stonewall)

ROBERT LATIMER McCOOK, a brother of Alexander McDowell, Daniel, Jr., and Edwin Stanton McCook, was born December 28,1827, at New Lisbon, Ohio. He studied law in the offices of Stanton and McCook in Steubenville, Ohio, for a time, then moved to Cincinnati where he became the law partner of the noted German lawyer, Judge Johann Bernhard Sta Mo. When the war broke out, McCook was elected colonel of the 9th Ohio, an all-German regiment from Cincinnati. He realized that his election was politically inspired and that he had no military experience. The actual commander was August Willich, who drilled the regiment and made it into an efficient fighting unit. This led McCook to make the humorous remark that he was "just the clerk for a thousand Dutchmen." However, as the war progressed, McCook learned the soldier's trade well, distinguished himself as a brigade commander at the battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky, and was promoted to brigadier general. During the summer of 1886, while marching his brigade through northern Alabama into Tennessee, guerrillas ambushed McCook, who was ill and was riding in an ambulance. He was fatally wounded and was taken to a nearby farmhouse where he died August 6,1862, at age thirty-four.

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