Research Notes


General Samuel Cooper, C.S.A and U.S.A.
Prepared by

George Alexander Cooper III


[General Fitz. Comments] [President Davis's Comments] [Early Life Of Cooper]

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Following are notes gathered over a period of time. The quotes are direct from each book recited are not of my writing. Footnotes are numbered as found in the different books. This should help in referring back to the particular book and/or footnote.

Chestnut, Mary Boykin. Mary Chestnut's Civil War. Edited by C.Vann Woodward. New Haven and London/Yale University Press, 1981.

Page 183.

August 31, 1861.

"Jenny Barron, Jenny Cooper,7 and Mary Hammy have gone to have their photographs taken as 'tricoteuses,' each armed with their knitting. It will be a lovely group."

Page. 138.

Sometime between August 8, 1861 and August 12, 1861.

"General and Mrs. Cooper came to see us. She is Mrs. Smith Lee's sister, Senator Mason's sister.

'Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother'--&c.1. They were talking of old George Mason,2 in Virginia a name to conjure with.

George Mason violently opposed the extension of slavery. He was a thorough aristocrat and gave as his reason for refusing the blessing of slaves to the new states-southwest and northwest-that vulgar new people were unworthy of so sacred a right as that of holding slaves. It was not an institution intended for such people as they were.

Mrs. Lee said, 'After all-what good does it do my sons? They are Light Horse Harry Lee's grandsons-and George Mason's. I do not see that it helps them at all.'

When Mrs. Lee and the Coopers had gone, what a rolling of eyes and uplifting of hands. Fitzhugh Lee3. And Rooney were being promoted-hand over fist! Up they go. Custis Lee is A.D.C. to the president-they say because his father wishes it. If he prefers to be in active service, that matters not. He must stay where he can do most good.

That was the drawing room hum at the Arlington."

Page 133

August 5, 1861.

"Such a nice Lieutenant Cooper,8 son of the adjutant general, a nephew of Mr. Mason. He was on Sullivan's Island with us a few years ago. Reminded him of that Silvey9 affair-how we arrived so silently at the scene of embarkation that we saw Lieutenant Silvey knock a man head-foremost into deep water, where he had to be fished out, and tie another to the main mast, where he howled like a wild Indian. Lieutenant Silvey, who had been so soft and silvery with us-as if butter could not melt in his mouth. Lieutenant Cooper had vivid recollections of Mary W's 1 beauty and the ravings of Vogdes & Co.2 when that lovely apparition suddenly arose on that lonely island and its lonelier garrison."

Page 358

June 3, 1862.

"Lieutenant Cooper has risen in rank. Lieutenant Silvey, somebody said, was paralyzed &c&c&c."

Page 103

July 19, 1861

"At Bulls Run Bonham's brigade-Ewell's-Longstreet's-encounter the foe and repulsed him.3 Six hundred prisoners sent here. Yesterday afternoon, thanks to the fact that it was bitters in that vial and not laudanum-and a light dinner of peaches-I arose, as the Scripture says, and washed my face and anointed my head and went downstairs.4 At the foot of them stood General Cooper, radiant, one finger nervously arranging his shirt collar, or adjusting his neck to it, after his fashion. He called out:

'Your South Carolina man bonhomie has done a capital thing at Bulls Run-driven back the enemy if not defeated him, killed, and prisoners--&c&c&c.' "

Page 572

February 20, 1864.

"Mrs. Huger says Bragg is to supersede General Cooper. Est-il possible? 'No matter,' she says. 'It will be several years before that slow coach Cooper finds it out.' "

Page 579

March 8, 1864.

"Met an antique virgin of vinegar aspect, whose mind seemed occupied by the unmentionable horrors we had so narrowly escaped. No one else as far as I know had thought of all that. J.C., when I told him her apprehensions in figurative language, cited to me Lord Byron's 'Siege of Ishmael' in Don Juan, where I would find the same kind of talk from the same kind of person.

Bragg does not supersede General Cooper, but is Mr. Davis's chief of staff.

Read 'Jean Val Jean.'8 What a beastly little ingrate is Cosette. Genius can make a hero of a man who has dragged himself through all the sewers of Paris."

Page 316-317

March 20, 1862.

"Last night Mrs. Pickens met General Cooper. Madame knew General Cooper only as our adjutant general-and Mr. Mason's brother-in-law. In her slow, graceful, impressive way, her beautiful eyes eloquent with feeling, she inveighed against Mr. Davis's wickedness in always sending men born at the North to command at Charleston. General Cooper is on his way to make a tour inspection there now.

"The dear general settled his head in his cravat with the aid of his forefinger; he tugged rather more nervously with the something that is always wrong inside of his collar. And looked straight up through his spectacles. Someone crossed the room, stood back of Mrs. Pickens, murmured in her ear: 'General Cooper was born in New York.'

"Sudden silence.

"Dined with General Cooper at the Prestons. General Hampton and Blanton Duncan were there also. The latter a thoroughly free and easy western man-handsome and clever. More audacious that either, perhaps. He pointed to Buck. 'What's that girl laughing at?' "

Nichols, James L. General Fitzhugh Lee A Biography H.E.Howard, Inc. 1989
Page 95-96

"There is a tradition in the Dawson family, that Fitz had paid special court to Jennie Cooper, his cousin, during the war and after, and that she left him unrequited.32 This may have been true, but his papers contain a set of letters written to another belle of Richmond during the war years which bespeak the gayest and giddiest, but for the purpose, clever kind of flirtatious small talk. The letters were written to Nannie Enders who later married Maj. Caskie Cabell of Richmond. She was the center of young society in the area……."

"With this background on 'Miss Nannie,' the ensuing excerpts of Fitz's phrases for her may have some or more meaning. In April 1866, Fitz wrote Misses Jennie Cooper and Nannie in reply to their joint letter:

Precious-pretty - priceless - prime prim princesses-! Joint letter warmly received …. Thought it was a piece of pseudography with a debilitation of idiomatic phrases concocted by persons affected with hydrocephalus who placed in crampons had better be hoisted to the fourth story of a lunet . . .34 "

Page 18

"….In August, Fitz's mother was visiting the Chesnuts in company with General and Mrs. Samuel Cooper, Mrs. Smith Lee's sister. For awhile, the conversation revolved around their famous ancestor George Mason and his opposition to the approval of slavery to the West, where uncouth people were not prepared for the peculiar responsibilities of slave-owning. Mrs. Chesnut cants her entry as though the Mason sisters were at the moment a bit family conscious, for suddenly, she has Fitz's mother explain: 'After all-what good does it do my sons. They are Light Horse Harry Lee's grandsons - and George Mason's……….."

Page 9

"The 2d Cavalry came to Texas via an overland march from Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in the winter of 1855-56. They arrived in mid-winter at the forks of the Brazos. Colonel Johnston soon established Camp Cooper, named after Fitz's kins - Adj. General Samuel Cooper, on the clear Fork to the southwest; Fort Belknap was on the North Fork."

Davis, Jefferson. The Rise And Fall Of The Confederate Government, Vol. I, Da Capo Press,
Page 21

"During the same period the army was increased by the addition of two regiments of infantry and two of cavalry. The officers of these regiments were chosen partly by selection from those already in service in the regular army and partly by appointment from civil life. In making the selections from the army I was continually indebted to the assistance of that pure-minded and accurately informed office, Colonel Samuel Cooper, 1 the Adjutant General, of whom it may be proper here to say that, although his life had been spent in the army, and he, of course, had the likes and dislikes inseparable from men who are brought into close contact and occasional rivalry, I never found in his official recommendations any indication of partiality or prejudice toward anyone.

When the first list was made out, to be submitted to the President, a difficulty was found to exist which had not occurred either to Colonel Cooper or myself. This was that the officers selected purely on their military record did not constitute a roster conforming to that distribution among the different states, which, for political considerations, it was thought desirable to observe-that is to say, the number of such officers of Southern birth was found to be disproportionately great…….."

Page 266-267

Davis talks about the formation of the C.S.A. Army:

"Therefore, against considerations of self-interest, and impelled by devotion to principle, they severed the ties, professional and personal, which had bound them from their youth up to the time when the Southern states, asserting the consecrated truth that all governments rest on the consent of the governed, decided to withdraw from the union they had voluntarily entered, and the Northern states resolved to coerce them to remain in it against their will. These officers were-first, Samuel Cooper, a native of New York, a graduate of the United States Military Academy in 1815, and who served continuously in the army until March 7, 1861, with such distinction as secured to him the appointment of adjutant general of the United States army. Second, Albert Sidney Johnston……… Third, Robert E. Lee, a native of Virginia………"

"Samuel Cooper was the first of these to offer his services to the Confederacy at Montgomery. Having known him most favorably and intimately as adjutant general of the United States army when I was Secretary of War, the value of his services in the organization of a new army was considered so great that I invited him to take the position of adjutant general of the Confederate army, which he accepted without a question either as to relative rank or anything else. The highest grade then authorized by law was that of brigadier general, and that commission was bestowed upon him."

Lee, Capt. R. W. Recollections And Letter of General Lee. Garden City Publishing Col, Inc., Garden City, New York. 1924,
Page. 291

From a letter by R.E.L. to his wife, Mary, on December 1, 1867, while R.E.L. was in Richmond:

"…..I also went to Mrs. Dunlop's and saw there General and Miss Jennie Cooper. The latter looked remarkable well, but the former is very thin. They will remain here some weeks."

Page 420-421

"This letter to General Cooper (Adjutant General of the Confederate States Army), written at this time, explains itself, and is one of many witnesses of my father's delicate consideration for old soldiers in distress:

Lexington, Virginia, August 4, 1870

"General S. Cooper,

"Alexandria Virginia.

"My Dear General:

"Impressed, with all the people of the South, with your merits and services, I have with them admired your manly efforts to support your family, and have regretted that more remunerative occupation, better suited to your capacities and former habits, had not presented itself. This has been a subject of conversation with some of us here, and when in Savannah last sprint I presented it to General Lawton, Colonel Cole, and others, and suggested that efforts be made to raise a sum for the relief of any pressing necessity. The idea was cordially adopted, and it was hoped that an amount would be contributed that would enable you to receive some relaxation. I have received a letter from General Lawton regretting the smallness of the sum collected, $300, and explaining the delay that had occurred, the general poverty of the people, the many calls upon them, and the disposition to procrastinate when facts are not known to them personally. To this sum I have only been able to add $100, but I hope it may enable you to supply some immediate want and prevent you from taxing your strength too much. You must also pardon me for my moving in this matter, and for the foregoing explanation, which I feel obliged to make that you might understand the subject.

"With my best wishes for your health and happiness and for the useful prolongation of your honorable life, I am, with true regard,

"Your friend and servant.

"R. E. Lee."

Davis, Jefferson. The Rise And Fall Of The Confederate Government, Vol. II, Da Capo Press,
Page 506

"The Adjutant General, Samuel Cooper, a man as pure in heart as he was sound in judgment, was the classmate of Winder; their live had been passed in the army in frequent intercourse; General Cooper, in a letter of July 9, 1871, wrote that 'General Winder, who had the control of the Northern prisoners, was an honest, upright, and humane gentleman, and as such I had known him for many years. He had the reputation, in the Confederacy, of treating the prisoners confined to his general supervision with great kindness and consideration.' "

Lee, General Fitzhugh. General Lee. First De Capo Edition, New York, N.Y. Reprint 1984
Page 133-134

"On August 31st the President nominated to the Senate five persons to be generals in the Confederate army: First, Samuel Cooper, from May 15, 1861; second, A. S. Johnston, May 28th; third, R. E. Lee, June 14th; fourth, J. E. Johnston, July 4th; fifth, G. T. Beauregard, July 21st. Officers who resigned from the United States Army had been promised by the Confederate Government when it was first established at Montgomery, Ala., that they should hold the same relative rank to each other when commissioned in the army of the Confederate States. Cooper, who had been the adjutant general of the United States Army, was the senior colonel. Albert Sidney Johnston resigned a colonelcy, General Lee a colonelcy, which he had only held a short time , and Beauregard a captaincy."

DeLeon, Thomas Cooper, Four Years In Rebel Capitals. Time Life Series, Reprinted 1983 from the 1890 edition.

Montgomery, AL. was the first capital of the C.S.A. When the "new" government to office, most of them lived in one of the two hotels:

"Montgomery Hall, of bitter memory-like the much-sung 'Raven of Zurich,' for uncleanliness of next and length of bill-had been the resort of country merchants, horse and cattle-men; but now the Solon of the hour dwelt therein, and the possible hero of many a field. The Exchange-of rather more pretensions and vastly more comfort-was at that time in the hands of a northern firm, who 'could keep a hotel.' The latter was political headquarters-the President, the Cabinet and a swarm of the possible great residing there." Ibid., p.24

DeLeon speaking about President Davis and dinner with Samuel Cooper:

"He looked worn and thinner; and the set expression of the somewhat stern features gave a grim hardness not natural to their lines. With scarcely a glance around, he returned the general salutations, sat down absently and was soon absorbed in conversation with General Cooper, who had recently resigned the adjutant-generalship of the United States army and accepted a similar post and a brigadier's commission from Mr. Davis." Ibid., p 25

Samuel Cooper moves from the 'Exchange' hotel:

"Tiring of experimental camping-out in a hotel, a few gentlemen hired a house and established a 'mess.' They were all notables-General Cooper, General Meyers, Dr. DeLeon, Colonel Deas and others, the three first being adjutant-general, quartermaster-general and surgeon-general of the new army. A chief of department, or two and this writer, completed the occupants of 'the Ranche,' as it was early christened by 'the colonel;' and its piazza soon became the favorite lounging-place in the evening of the better and brighter elements of the floating population." Ibid., p.28

[General Fitz. Comments] [President Davis's Comments] [Early Life Of Cooper]

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