Samuel Kosciuzko Zook

Samuel Kosciuszko Zook was born on March 27, 1821, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. When very young he was taken by his parents to the home of his maternal grandparents on the old campground of Valley Forge, where he grew up. As a boy he became associated with the militia of Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties and at the age of nineteen became adjutant of the 100th Pennsylvania. In 1842 he entered the Philadelphia office of the Washington and New York Telegraph Company and was subsequently appointed superintendent. As a consequence of this promotion he moved to New York City, where he continued his interest in military affairs and rose to the lieutenant colonelcy of the 6th New York Militia. At the outbreak of the Civil War he accompanied his regiment to Annapolis and served as military governor of the town during the campaign of First Manassas. On July 31, 1861, the enlistment period of his regiment expired, but he recruited the 57th New York and was commissioned its colonel on October 19, 1861. The following spring and summer he took part in George B. McClellan's Peninsular campaign in French's brigade of Richardson's division of Sumner's II Corps. This command was not present at Second Manassas and Zook himself was not present at Sharpsburg, where the 57th New York was under the command of its lieutenant colonel. However, at the battle of Fredericksburg, Zook commanded a brigade of Hancock's division and lost 527 men while assaulting the "Sunken Road" on Marye's Heights. Wounded himself in this encounter, he was warmly commended by Winfield S. Hancock and on March 23, 1863, was promoted to brigadier general to rank from November 29, 1862. He was with his brigade at Chancellorsville and again at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, when the Union cause teetered on the very brink of disaster. In one of the myriad crises which erupted on that sultry afternoon, Zook and his command were rushed to the support of the III Corps which had been broken and driven by James Longstreet's men. In one of the gallant incidents of the war, Zook ordered his men to march over the disordered troops of Barnes's V Corps brigade and take their place in the line. While leading them, he was fatally wounded in the abdomen; he died soon after midnight in a field hospital on the Baltimore Pike, and was buried in Montgomery Cemetery, Norristown, Pennsylvania.

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