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#32 - Presidential Appointments: Lorenzo W. Cooke
Military commissions from six American presidents for a Civil War veteran and career soldier
Remarkable assemblage of seven presidential appointments for career soldier Lorenzo W. Cooke, each one page, partly printed on vellum, approximately 15.75 x 19.75, featuring signatures from a total of six incumbent and future American presidents, including: U. S. Grant, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William H. Taft. The commissions are as follows:
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March 6, 1869—President Grant appoints Cooke as “First Lieutenant in the Third Regiment of Infantry.” Signed at the conclusion by Grant and countersigned by Secretary of War John A. Rawlins.
June 8, 1872—President Grant appoints Cooke as “Second Lieutenant in the Third Regiment of Infantry.” Signed at the conclusion by Grant and countersigned by Secretary of War William W. Belknap.
January 30, 1884—President Arthur appoints Cooke as “First Lieutenant in the Third Regiment of Infantry.” Signed at the conclusion by Arthur and countersigned by Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln.
December 19, 1892—President Harrison appoints Cooke as “Captain of Infantry.” Signed at the conclusion by Harrison, “Benj. Harrison,” and countersigned by Secretary of War Stephen B. Elkins.
February 20, 1901—President McKinley appoints Cooke as “Major of Infantry.” Signed at the conclusion by McKinley and countersigned by Secretary of War Elihu Root.
March 29, 1904—President Roosevelt appoints Cooke as “Lieutenant Colonel of Infantry.” Signed at the conclusion by Roosevelt and countersigned by Secretary of War William H. Taft.
March 22, 1906— President Roosevelt appoints Cooke as “Brigadier General.” Signed at the conclusion by Roosevelt and countersigned by Secretary of War Taft.
Each appointment retains its original embossed blue War Office seal. Includes a presidential appointment from President Andrew Johnson, dated March 5, 1867, which promotes Cooke as “Second Lieutenant in the Third Regiment of Infantry,” and features a stamped signature of Johnson at the conclusion; the document is countersigned by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. Also includes three official partly printed letters from the War Department, each one page, 8 x 10, relaying to Cooke notice of presidential appointment, individually signed by War Secretaries Stanton and Lincoln, and acting Secretary of War John Schofield. In overall fine condition.
In 1862 at the young age of 15, Lorenzo W. Cooke enlisted in the 27th Wisconsin Infantry and transferred to the US 13th Infantry Regiment the following year, serving as a fearless participant in the campaigns at Vicksburg, Missionary Ridge, and others with the 1st Brigade of the XVth Army Corps. At the close of the Civil War, he remained in the service and received further commissions while fighting hostile Indians in the Kansas region and then in the late 1880s-1890s while combating the Blackfoot and other hostile tribes of Minnesota and Montana. Illness prevented him from joining the Spanish American War, and so upon regaining his health Cooke sailed for Manila in 1899 as a commander of the 2nd Battalion of the US 2nd Infantry during the Philippine-American War. After 44 years of service, L. W. Cooke retired in 1906 a Brigadier General of the US Army. He died in 1915 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.