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General Edward M. McCook Letter

 Collection
Identifier: MS-3453

General Edward M. McCook wrote this letter from the headquarters of the 1st Cavalry Division in Macon, Georgia to an unidentified friend in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 1, 1865. He reports that during his latest expedition, the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Cavalry under the command of Brevet Major General Wilson captured Selma, Tuscaloosa, Columbus, Montgomery, West Point, and Macon. He goes on to say that Union troops have managed to destroy all the arsenals, iron works, rolling mills, machine shops, foundries, and factories in Alabama and Georgia, leaving the Confederacy hopelessly crippled. McCook also mentions the terrible rumors that have reached him regarding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, which he prays are false. He ends the letter with well wishes to his friend and his family.

Dates

  • 1865 May 1

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Abstract

General Edward M. McCook wrote this letter from the headquarters of the 1st Cavalry Division in Macon, Georgia to an unidentified friend in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 1, 1865. He reports that during his latest expedition, the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Cavalry under the command of Brevet Major General Wilson captured Selma, Tuscaloosa, Columbus, Montgomery, West Point, and Macon. He goes on to say that Union troops have managed to destroy all the arsenals, iron works, rolling mills, machine shops, foundries, and factories in Alabama and Georgia, leaving the Confederacy hopelessly crippled. McCook also mentions the terrible rumors that have reached him regarding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, which he prays are false. He ends the letter with well wishes to his friend and his family.

Biographical/Historical Note

Edward Moody McCook (June 15, 1833 – September 9, 1909) was born in Steubenville, Ohio. He moved to Colorado in 1848 and then to the Kansas Territory in 1849, where he became a lawyer and a Kansas legislator, serving in the territorial House of Representatives in 1859. With the onset of the Civil War, McCook traveled to Washington, D.C. and served for a time as a secret agent for the Federal government, gathering information of value to the military. He then joined the volunteer army as a captain in the 2nd Indiana Volunteer Cavalry, rising to the rank of colonel by the middle of 1862. McCook commanded a cavalry brigade at the Battle of Perryville and a division at Chickamauga. On April 27, 1864 he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers and given command of the First Cavalry Division in the Army of the Cumberland. His 3,600 cavalrymen raided and severed the Macon & Western Railroad in late July 1864 while serving under George Stoneman during the Atlanta Campaign. On July 30, McCook was thoroughly defeated by Confederate cavalry under Joseph Wheeler at the Battle of Brown's Mill near Newnan, Georgia, losing a great number of men, horses, and artillery. McCook and his remaining cavalry marched to Tennessee to assist in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign.

In March and April of 1865, McCook commanded the First Division in Wilson's Raid and at the Battle of Selma, where the Federal cavalry dealt a crushing defeat upon Nathan Bedford Forrest. McCook's division was then assigned to re-establish Federal control and authority in Florida, and by May 13, Col. George Washington Scott surrendered the last active Confederate troops in the state. On May 20, General McCook read Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation during a ceremony in Tallahassee as his jubilant troops raised the U.S. flag over the state capitol, officially ending slavery in Florida.

In 1866, McCook resigned from the army and returned to civilian life. President Andrew Johnson appointed him to serve as the U.S. Minister to the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1866 through 1868. In 1869, he helped organize the Colorado Territory and was twice appointed governor by President Grant. During his tenure, Governor McCook signed the legislation that created what is now Colorado State University and was among the first state governors to endorse women's suffrage. He was a member of the Republican National Committee in 1872. McCook left the governorship when his second term expired in 1875 and turned to various business pursuits. McCook died in Chicago, Illinois, and is buried in Union Cemetery in Steubenville. The city of McCook, Nebraska was named in his honor.

Arrangement

This collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

Special Collections purchased this letter on January 24, 2011.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480