Saturday, June 17, 2017

Booknotes: Brigadier General Robert L. McCook and Colonel Daniel McCook, Jr.

New Arrival:
Brigadier General Robert L. McCook and Colonel Daniel McCook, Jr.: A Union Army Dual Biography by Wayne Fanebust (McFarland, 2017).

Robert and Daniel were two of the most widely respected officers from the famous "Fighting McCook" family of Ohio. Both had very respectable Civil War careers before their lives were cut short in action. Their tragic ends would spark discussion in different ways, with Daniel Jr. dying after being ordered to assault a seemingly impregnable enemy position and the manner of Robert's death being the subject of heated controversy drawn out over a long period of time:

"A veteran of Shiloh and Chickamauga, Colonel Daniel McCook was mortally wounded while leading his brigade in a reckless assault up Kennesaw Mountain in June 1864, on the orders of his friend and former law partner General William Tecumseh Sherman." and "Brigadier General Robert L. McCook distinguished himself in the western Virginia campaign before he was shot by a Rebel while riding in an ambulance in the summer of 1862. His death, in what was an apparent ambush, set off a firestorm of outrage throughout the North."

The bibliography contains a large selection of newspapers but few manuscript collections, with the notes primarily citing the O.R. and a variety of published sources. In addition to the dual biography sections, there's a fairly extensive chapter on the trial and legal travails of Confederate captain Frank Gurley, who was convicted by a military court of McCook's murder. Sentenced to death, he was in limbo before finally being released in 1866.

1 comment:

  1. It would seem to make more sense to write a biography of the entire "Fighting McCooks" clan rather than pick out the two that died in unrelated circumstances.


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