Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/324
Southern Historical Society Papers.
out of twenty-six of the commissioned officers of the regiment were killed or wounded. Soon after the battle of Antietam he was made a brigadier-general and assigned to a brigade composed of the Fifteenth, Twenty-seventh, Forty-sixth, Forty-eighth, and Fifty-ninth North Carolina regiments, and which he commanded until the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. The dauntless intrepidity and the achievements of Cooke's Brigade have reflected a lustre upon the North State which will endure with time.
With General Cooke, his brigade held with him the same solicitude and pride that his regiment had enjoyed. He watched over the comfort and welfare of his men with fatherly care, and secured for them every supply that the commissary and quartermaster departments yielded. Officers and privates alike idolized him, and Cooke's Brigade was constantly assigned for duty demanding unusual hazard.
At Fredericksburg he supported the heroic Thomas R. R. Cobb, holding the famous stone wall, or what the Federals called the sunken road, at the foot of Marye's Heights.
During the war General Cooke was seven times severely wounded. On Marye's Heights he was struck in the forehead, just over the left eye, by a bullet which made what the chivalrous Heros Von Borke admiringly classed "the most beautiful wound I ever saw." Ere that wound had healed, and when but a gossamer line intervened, seemingly, between him and the portals of death, he arose from his bed and returned to his command. At Spotsylvania Courthouse, at a time when our centre was sorely pressed, General Gordon suggested to General Lee that a certain movement be made on the right to relieve the centre. This move was advised against by other officers, but General Lee finally gave the order for attack. Cooke's men were in the Courthouse yard,
"Standing and dying at ease,"
and their commander stretched on the ground wounded in the leg. Gordon, in the excitement of the moment, rode up to them and exclaimed: "I will lead these men!"
With face ghastly pale and flashing eyes, General Cooke sprang to his feet, and, confronting General Gordon, shook his fist in his face, demanding: "How dare you to offer to lead my men in my presence!"General Gordon, realizing instantaneously the circumstances, courteously saluted the irate hero, and said: "Pardon me, General Cooke; I thought you were too badly wounded. Allow me to go in as one of your aides."