Samuel Cooper (general)

Samuel Cooper (general)

Infobox Military Person
name= Samuel Cooper
born= birth date|1798|6|12
died= death date and age|1876|12|3|1798|6|12

placeofbirth= Dutchess County, New York
placeofdeath= Alexandria, Virginia
allegiance= United States of America Confederate States of America
branch= United States Army Confederate States Army
serviceyears= 1815–61 (U.S.A.) 1861–65 (C.S.A)
rank= Colonel (USA) General (CSA)
battles= Second Seminole War Mexican-American War American Civil War

Samuel Cooper (June 12, 1798 – December 3, 1876) was a career U.S. Army officer and, although little-known today, the highest ranking Confederate general during the American Civil War.

Early life

Cooper was born in Hackensack, Dutchess County, New York. [ [] ] He entered the U.S. Military Academy at age 15 and graduated in two years (the customary period of study in that period) in 1815. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Light Artillery. In 1827, he married Sarah Maria Mason and became the brother-in-law of future Confederate diplomat James M. Mason and later the father-in-law of Union General Frank Wheaton. Sarah's sister, Ann Maria Mason, was the mother of Confederate cavalry general Fitzhugh Lee, the nephew of Robert E. Lee.

Cooper served in numerous artillery units until 1837, when he was appointed chief clerk of the U.S. War Department. In 1838 he received a brevet promotion to major and was appointed assistant adjutant general of the Army. Nine years later, with a brevet as lieutenant colonel, he served in the same capacity. His service in the Second Seminole War of 1841–42 was a rare departure for him from Washington, D.C. He received a brevet promotion to colonel for his War Department service in the Mexican-American War and was promoted to the permanent rank of colonel in the regular army and Adjutant General on July 15, 1852.

Civil War

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Cooper's loyalties were with the South. His wife's family was from Virginia and he had a close friendship with Jefferson Davis, who had been Secretary of War. He resigned his commission on March 7, 1861, and traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, to join the Confederate States Army. He was immediately given a commission as a brigadier general and served as the Adjutant General and Inspector General of the Confederate Army, a post he held until the end of the war. As of May 16, 1861, he was promoted to full general in the Confederate Army, one of five men promoted at that time, and one of only seven men in the war, but with the earliest date of rank. Thus, despite his relative obscurity today, he outranked such luminaries as Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, and P.G.T. Beauregard. He reported directly to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.


Cooper's last official act in office was to preserve the official records of the Confederate Army and turn them over to the United States government, where they form a part of the "Official Records", "The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies", published starting in 1880.

After the war, Cooper was a farmer at his home, "Cameron", near Alexandria, Virginia. The house had been taken over by the U.S. government during the war and turned into a fort, but he was able to move into what had been an overseer's house. He died at his home and is buried there in Christ Church Cemetery.

elected works

* "A Concise System of Instructions and Regulations for the Militia and Volunteers of the United States, Comprehending the Exercises and Movements of the Infantry, Light Infantry, and Riflemen; Cavalry and Artillery: Together with the manner of doing duty in Garrison and in Camp, and for the forms of Parades, Reviews, and Inspections, as established ... for the government of the Regular Army." Prepared and Arranged by Brevet Captain S. Cooper, Aide de Camp and Assistant Adjutant General. Under the Supervision of Major General Alexander Macomb, Commanding the Army of the United States. (Philadelphia: Robert P. Desilver, 1836).

ee also


* Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., "Civil War High Commands", Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
* [ Biography at]


External links

*findagrave|8827 Retrieved on 2008-02-13

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