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John Rogers Cooke

COOKE, John Rogers, lawyer, born in Bermuda in 1788; died in Richmond, Virginia, 10 December, 1854. He practiced law in Virginia with distinction for more than forty years, and during that time was concerned in nearly all the great cases carried to the higher courts of that state. He held a commission, in 1807, in the Frederick troop that marched to the seaboard when the "Chesapeake" was fired upon, and in 1814 he was a member of the legislature. In 1829 he was a member of the convention that framed the constitution of Virginia, and served, with Chief-Justice Marshall, ex-President Madison, and John Randolph, on th0 committee of seven that drafted that instrument. He possessed a vigorous and penetrating mind, and has been called "the model of lofty courtesy, chivalry, and generosity."--His brother, Philip St. George, soldier, born near Leesburg, Virginia, 13 June, 1809, after studying at the Academy of Martinsburg, Virginia, entered the United States military academy, where he was graduated in 1827, and was assigned to the 6th infantry, he was stationed for many years on the frontier, and in the Black Hawk war was adjutant of his regiment at the battle of Bad Axe River, 2 August, 1832. He became first lieutenant in the 1st dragoons on 4 March, 1833, and captain on 31 May, 1835. He escorted a party of Santa F6 traders to the Arkansas River in 1843, and on 30 June of that year captured a Texan military expedition. During the Mexican war he commanded a Missouri volunteer battalion in California from 1846 till 1847, and in 1848 a regiment in the City of Mexico, having been promoted to major on 16 February, 1847, and brevetted lieutenant colonel on 20 February, for his conduct in California. Afterward he was engaged in various Indian expeditions, commanding the cavalry in the action at Blue Water, 3 September, 1855. He commanded in Kansas during the troubles there in 1856-'7, performing that delicate duty to the satisfaction of all, and was at the head of the cavalry in the Utah expedition of 1857-'8, becoming colonel of the 2d dragoons on 14 June, 1858. In 1859 he prepared a new system of cavalry tactics, which was adopted for the service in November, 1861 (revised ed., 1883). In June, 1861, Col. Cooke published a letter in which he declared that he owed allegiance to the general government rather than to his native state of Virginia. He was promoted to brigadier-general on 12 November, 1861, and commanded all the regular cavalry in the Army of the Potomac during the peninsular campaign, particularly in the siege of Yorktown, and the battles of Williamsburg, Gaines's Mills, and Glendale. Hesat on courts-martial in 1862-'3, commanded the Baton Rouge district till 1864, and till 1866 was general superintendent of the recruiting service. He was at the head of the Department of the Platte in 1866-'7, of that of the Cumberland in 1869-'70, and of the Department of the Lakes from 1870 till 1873. On 29 October, 1873, he was placed on the retired list, having been in active service more than forty-five years. General Cooke has published "Scenes and Adventures in the Army" (Philadelphia, 1856), and " The Conquest of New Mexico and California ; an Historical and Personal Narrative" (1878). His daughter married General J. E. born Stuart, the Confederate cavalry leader.--John Rogers's son, Philip Pendleton, poet, born in Martinsburg, Virginia, 26 October, 1816; died 20 January, 1850, was graduated at Princeton in 1834, and studied law with his father. Before he was of age he had begun practice. He had little partiality for his profession, and devoted himself to literature and to field sports, of which he was very fond. Before his death he was famous as the greatest huntsman in the Shenandoah valley. He published several poems in the "Knickerbocker Magazine" at an early period, and became a contributor to the "Southern Literary Messenger" on its establishment. Mr. Cooke was stately and impressive in manner, and a brilliant talker. His only publication in book-form was "Froissart Ballads, and other Poems" (Philadelphia, 1847). At the time of his death he was publishing serially a romance entitled " Chevalier Merlin." His short lyrics, "Florence Vane," " To My Daughter Lily," and "Rosa Lee," were very popular. The first named has been translated into many languages, and has been set to music by celebrated composers. Among his tales are "John Carpe," "The Crime of Andrew Blair," and "The Gregories of Hackwood." --Another son, John Esten, author, born in Winchester, Virginia, 3 November, 1830; died near Boyce, Clarke County, Virginia, 27 September, 1886, left school at sixteen, studied law with his father, and, after practising about four years, devoted himself to literature. He entered the Confederate army at the beginning of the civil war, and served first as a private in the artillery and afterward in the cavalry, being engaged in nearly all the battles in Viroinia, most of the time as a member of General J. E. born Stuart's staff. At Lee's surrender he was inspector-general of the horse-artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia. His writings relate almost entirely to Virginia, and describe the life, manners, and history of the people of that state. His war-books are records of personal observation and opinion. In a letter written a few months before his death Mr. Cooke says: "I still write stories for such periodicals as are inclined to accept romance, but whether any more of my work in that field will appear in book-form is uncertain. Mr. Howells and the other realists have crowded me out of popular regard as a novelist, and have brought the kind of fiction I write into general disfavor. I do not complain of that, for they are right. They see. as I do, that fiction should faithfully reflect life, and they obey the law, while I can not. I was born too soon, and am now too old to learn my trade anew. But in literature, as in everything else, advance should be the law, and he who stands still has no right to complain if he is left behind. Besides, the fires of ambition are burned out of me, and I am serenely happy. My wheat-fields are green as I look out from the porch of the Briers, the corn rustles in the wind, and the great trees give me shade upon the lawn. My three children are growing up in such nurture and admonition as their race has always deemed fit, and I am not only content, but very happy, and much too lazy to entertain any other feeling toward my victors than one of warm friendship and sincere approval." His publications include "Leather Stocking and Silk," a story (New York, 1854); "The Virginia Comedians "'(2 vols., 1854); " The Youth of Jefferson," based on the letters of that statesman (1854);"Ellie," a novel (Richmond, Virginia, 1855); " The Last of the Foresters" (New York, 1856); " Henry St. John, Gentleman; a Tale of 1774-'5," sequel to the "Comedians" (1859); " Life of Stonewall Jackson" (Richmond, 1863; enlarged ed., New York, 1876); "Surry of Eagle's Nest," a picture of military incidents in the Confederate cavalry, in autobiographical form, purporting to be " from MS. of Col. Surry" (New York, 1866);" Wearing of the Gray" (1867); "Mohun, or the Last Days of Lee and his Paladins," sequel to the foregoing (1868); "Fairfax" (1868); "Hilt to Hilt," a romantic story of 1864 (1869); "Out of the Foam" (1869); "Hammer and Rapier," war sketches (1870); "The Heir of Gaymount" (1870); "Life of General R. E. Lee" (1871); " Dr. Van Dyke," a story of Virginia in the last century (1872); "Her Majesty the Queen" (Philadelphia, 1873); " Pretty Mrs. Gaston, and other Stories" (New York, 1874); "Justin Harley" (Philadelphia, 1874); "Canolles," a story of Cornwallis's Virginia campaign (Detroit, 1877); "Professor Pressensee," a story (New York, 1878): "Mr. Grantley's Idea," "Virginia Bohemians," and "Stories of the Old Dominion" (1879); " Virginia ; a History of the People" (Boston, 1883); "My Lady Pokahontas " (1884); and " The Maurice Mystery" (New York, 1885). Besides these, Mr. Cooke wrote several novels not issued in permanent form, and a Massachusetts of stories, sketches, and verses for periodicals. The last product of his pen was an article written for this work.--Philip St. George's son, John R., entered the army in 1855 as second lieutenant of the 8th infantry, became first lieutenant, 28 January, 1861, and, resigning on 30 May, entered the Confederate service, where he rose to the rank of brigadier-general.

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