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First Name: William

Last Name: Cooke

Birthplace: Mount Pleasant, ON, CAN

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 29 May 1846

Date of Death: 25 June 1876

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
William Cooke


William Cooke
Colonel, U.S. Army

William Cooke was born on 29 May 1846 in Mount Pleasant, near Hamilton, in Brant County, Ontario, Canada. He was the son of Alexander Hardy and Angeline Augusta Winer Cooke.

Cooke attended school in Hamilton, and joined the 24th New York Volunteer Cavalry during the Civil War in 1863 at Niagara Falls, NY. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant on 26 January 1864, and 1st Lieutenant on 14 December 1864. He was wounded during the siege of Petersburg, VA.

Mustered out on 24 June 1865, he immediately joined the 1st Provisional NY Volunteer Cavalry, and applied for a Regular Army commission. He was appointed 2nd Lieutenant, 7th U.S. Cavalry, on 28 July 1866, and promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 31 July 1867 at Fort Harker, KS.

He served as Regimental Adjutant from 1 January 1871 until his death in June 1876. Brevetted Captain, U.S. Volunteer on 2 March 1867, for service at Petersburg, VA; in June 1864, brevetted Major, U.S. Volunteers for service at Dinwiddie Court House in March 1865; and brevetted Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Volunteers for service in the Battle of Sayler's Creek in April 1865. He participated in the Washita Campaign of 1868, the 1873 Yellowstone Expedition, and the 1874 Black Hills Expedition.

During the Battle of the Little Big Horn in June 1876, he accompanied Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the Regimental Staff with Custer's column, and was killed with Custer on Last Stand Hill. He wrote the last message received from General Custer which was a note to Captain Frederick W. Benteen to bring the pack train up to him quickly. 

Death and Burial

Colonel William Cooke was killed in action on 25 June 1876 in Little Big Horn County, MT. His body was initially buried on the battlefield. In June 1877 his body was exhumed and reburied in the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Cemetery. His body was later exhumed again and reburied in the Hamilton Cemetery in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Honoree ID: 2374   Created by: MHOH




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