(1847 - 1915)
Home State: Ohio
Command Billet: Battery bugler
Branch of Service: Artillery
Age 14, giving his occupation as laborer, he enlisted in Cincinnati as a Bugler in Battery B, 4th United States Artillery, on 7 June 1861.
On the Campaign
He earned the Medal of Honor during the Battle while serving with Battery B, 4th United States Artillery. The medal was issued on June 30, 1894. "He had volunteered at the age of 15 to act as a cannoneer and as such served a gun under terrific fire of the enemy". (from Citation)
Bugler Cook describes the action:
"General Gibbon, our commander, had just ordered Lieutenant Stewart to take his section about one hundred yards to the right of the Hagerstown Pike, in front of two straw stacks, when he beckoned me to follow. No sooner had we unlimbered, when a column of Confederate infantry, emerging from the so called west woods, poured a volley into us, which brought fourteen or seventeen of my brave comrades to the ground. The two straw stacks offered some kind of shelter for our wounded, and it was a sickening sight to see those poor maimed, and crippled fellows, crowding on top of one another, while several, stepping but a few feet away, were hit again or killed."
"Just then Captain Campbell unlimbered the other four guns to the left of Stewart, and I reported to him. He had just dismounted, when he was hit twice and his horse fell dead, with several bullets in its body. I started with the Captain to the rear and turned him over to one of the drivers. He ordered me to report to Lieutenant Stewart and tell him to take command of the battery. I reported, and, seeing the cannoneers nearly all down, and one, with a pouch full of ammunition, lying dead, I unstrapped the pouch, started for the battery and worked as a cannoneer. We were then in the vortex of the battle. The enemy had made three desperate attempts to capture us, the last time coming with in ten or fifteen feet of our guns."
"It was at this time that General Gibbon, seeing the condition of the battery, came to the gun that stood in the pike, and in full uniform of a brigadier-general, worked as a gunner and cannoneer. He was very conspicuous, and it is indeed surprising, that he came away alive. At this battle we lost forty-four men, killed and wounded, and about forty horses which shows what a hard fight it was." 1
The rest of the War
He was discharged at the expiration of his term of service on 7 June 1864.
References & notes
His Washington Post obituary said, in part, " Mr. Cook was born in Cincinnati, and enlisted in an Ohio regiment at the age of 13 1/2 years, as a bugler. He served through the war and was in 33 battles, receiving several wounds. He was presented with a medal of honor for valor at the battle of Gettysburg [sic], where he rescued his wounded captain and carried him from the field. Mr. Cook came to Washington 28 years ago. He had been an employee of the government printing office for twenty years."2
His enlistment details from the Register.3
More on the Web
See his Burial place at Arlington.
08/16/1847; Hamilton County, OH
08/03/1915; Washington, DC; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, VA
1 Gutzke, Scott T., Battery B, 4th U.S. Light Artillery, Published 1998, first accessed 01 January 2001, <http://www.batteryb.com/index2.html>, Source page: MoH Page (/medal_of_honor.html) [AotW citation 384]
2 [staff writer], Obituary: John Cook, Government Printing Office Employee Won Honor for Valor in the Civil War, The Washington Post, 1915-08-04, pg. 3 [AotW citation 383]
3 US Army, Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914, Washington, DC: National Archives, 1956, Vol. 141, pg. 129 [AotW citation 25827]