Crook’s Brigade – George Crook

George Crook

George Crook Quotations.  Quotations by and about George Crook.

Last Updated July 16, 2011

“a farmer’s boy, slow to learn, but what he did learn was surely his. He was older, somewhat, than his comrades, and was good natured, stolid, and was like a big Newfoundland dog among a lot of puppies. He would never permit injustice, or bullying of smaller boys.”

James Greer, later a commodore recalls George Crook growing up in Ohio

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page xvi

“The boy was exceedingly non-communicative. He hadn’t a stupid look, but was quiet to reticence. He didn’t seem to have the slightest interest or anxiety about my proposal. I explained to him the requirements and labors of the military school, and finally asked him, Do you think you can conquer all that?’ His monosyllabic reply was, I’ll try.’ And so I sent him, and he came through fairly.”

Congressman Robert P. Schenk recalls his interview with young Geroge Crook considering a possible appointment to West Point

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page xvi

“I don’t know that I ever served under a commanding officer for whom I had such a high respect. He was strict, but just, and those who did their duty well were certain to be rewarded, while those who failed to do their duty were made to feel it. In this way the hard work was not all put on the willing officer.”

George Crook describes Robert Garnett a future Confederate general, first general officer to be killed in the Civil War at Cheat Mt while serving with him in the 4th Infantry in the Pacific Northwest

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 68

“In the fall of that year John B. Hood was assigned to duty with the company, and Bvt. 2nd Lieutenant Hood and I hunted a great deal together, and became very intimate. We engaged in ranching together. He sold out on leaving in the spring, and made money, while I held on and lost money.”

George Crook describes his friendship with Lt Hood while both were stationed in the Pacific Northwest in 1854

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 21

“Just under the crest of this hill our division was drawn up in line of battle, while the enemy was occupying the crest in the edge of the timber, and the stone wall. We lay down as close as we could get to the enemy without exposing ourselves. Some of our men amused themselves by sticking their hats on their ramrods, and raising them high enough to meet the enemy’s vision. A dozen bullet holes were made through them. The two lines of battle were not over fifteen or twenty yards apart, with the advantage being on the other side. Fortunately, we received the order to charge just before they were going to charge us, and by taking the initiative, and by the impetuosity of our charge, their ranks were broken. Their men fled, not to return against us any more that day. A great many of their men were killed. Some of them were bayoneted behind the stone fence. Many more were killed farther down in the woods, near an old well or sunken road.”

George Crook Sep 14 1862

Crook describiing his brigades fight at Fox Gap

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 96

 

“I cannot help but shedding tears over some of my regiment who were killed, and one pretty boy not over 16 or 17 years of age, a nice mother’s boy, who lay mortally wounded, whose pleading face looked so pitiable. I had seen so much of them for the last year, knew them all, and felt as though they were my own family.”

George Crook

Sep 14 1862

Crook’s feelings after the battle of South Mountain  36 OH Inf

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 96

“As none of our wagons came up, we had to go to bed supperless, nor did we have anything to eat since morning. The next morning my servant went to a house on neutral grounds between the lines of skirmishers. He found that the occupants had fled, but they had left a batch of bread ready to bake, and plenty of nice butter and milk in the cellar. We baked the bread, and returned with such a breakfast that none of us had tasted for many a day.” George Crook Sep 17 1862

Crook describes getting breakfast the morning of the battle

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 97

“We could hear firing on our right and front, but knew nothing more. About ten A.M., Capt. Christ on Gen. Cox’ staff came to see me, and said, “The General wishes you to take the bridge.” I asked him what bridge. He said he didn’t know. I asked him where the stream was, but he didn’t know. I made some remarks not complimentary to such a way of doing business, but he went off, not caring a cent. Probably he had done the correct thing.”

George Crook Sep 17 1862

Crook describes receiving his orders to capture the bridge

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 97

“I learned afterwards that Gen. Sturgis with a division was repulsed in trying to take the bridge earlier in the morning, losing some six hundred men, principally against the bluffs where Col. Coleman lost his life. I was expected to accomplish with my brigade what a division had failed to do, and without ever getting the benefit of the knowledge he had gained in his reconnaissance. Such imbecility and incompetency was simply criminal, a great deal of which lasted until the close of the war. It was galling to have to serve under such people. But many of them, by maneuvering in politics and elsewhere, are looked upon by certain people throughout the land as some of our military luminaries.”

George Crook Sep 17 1862

Crook complaining about the command of the Ninth Corps during the battle fo Antietam

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 98

“After the opposite of the creek, Antietam, was occupied, Gen. Cox came over for the first time I had seen him since the South Mountain fight.” George Crook Sep 17 1862

Crook mentions that he has not seen Cox since Sep 14

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 98

“The enemy was occupying a cornfield on this second high ground. The side of this field towards us had a stone fence, behind which we took shelter. To our right a short distance was Gen. Willcox, aiming a gun in person, all his men gone. He sent out word to us to know why in hell we were not advancing. Just then Col. Scarnmon came up from my left. He was in temporary command of our division, and sent word back to Willcox that if he would give him written orders, he would march.”

George Crook Sep 17 1862

Crook describes the final attack toward Sharpsburg

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 100

 “While we were lying under the bluffs waiting for the troops to get into position, I strolled up the creek to a wooded knoll that looked over towards the enemy’s position at Sharpsburg. I could see from this position. I saw two batteries on a clear field, trained on the road leading to Sharpsburg, evidently intended to open on our troops immediately at the rise of the hill. I reported this to Gen. Cox, who asked Gen. O. B. Willcox to accompany me back and look at the situation. When I had pointed out the batteries, he remarked that they had no men with them, which so disgusted me that I left him and went off.” George Crook Sep 17 1862

Crook describes the final attack toward Sharpsburg

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 99

“It was heartrending to hear the wails of the wounded and dying in our front all night. Our men alleviated all this suffering they could, but we had to keep ourselves intact for fear of an attack.”

George Crook describes the night after the battle

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 100

“The facts were that we were the only troops between the enemy and our transportation, hospitals, etc., just on the other side of the Antietam. Then too, the enemy in this cornfield were as thick as blackbirds, and my few orphans would not have lasted ten minutes had we once gone on their side of the fence. We had our hands so full that we knew but little of what was going on elsewhere, but of course knew that a big battle was going on. And this was the 17th day of September 1862.”

George Crook Sep 17 1862

Crook summarizes the Battle of Antietam at the end of the day

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 100

“We stopped here all the next day in the hot, broiling sun, still all that was between the enemy and our impediments. Toward evening it commenced raining. Just about dusk we were relieved, and sent back not far from the sunken cornfield, to bivouac for the night. Here our division was reassembled near a small country house occupied by some of the officers. Col. Hugh Ewing became full of “jig water,” and ventilated [sic] himself on Gen. Cox, abusing him for being a coward and imbecile, and declaring he would never obey an order of his again, etc.”

George Crook Sep 19 1862

Crook describes goings on two days after the battle.

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 100

“Here our division was reassembled near a small country house occupied by some of the officers. Col. Hugh Ewing became full of “jig water,” and ventilated [sic] himself on Gen. Cox, abusing him for being a coward and imbecile, and declaring he would never obey an order of his again, etc.”

George Crook Sep 17 1862

Crook describes the next day after the battle

From George Crook His Autobiography edited and arranged by Martin F. Schmitt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946. page 101

“he would have burned the Natural Bridge could he have compassed it”

George Crook talking about David Hunter’s proclivity for burning

From Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer by Moxley G. Sorrell. New York:  Bantam edition, 1992.

page 240

 

“the adulations heaped upon him by a grateful nation for his supposed genius turned his head, which, added to his natural disposition, caused him to bloat his little carcass with debauchery and dissipation, which carried him off prematurely.”

George Crook

West Point classmate and one-time friend George Crook describes Philip Sheridan after Sheridan’s death and long after their falling out.

From Sheridan’s Lieutenants by David Coffey. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2005. page 143

3 Responses

  1. University of Oklahoma Press has just published my biography of the early life and career of George Crook. It covers this period in greater detail than ever before and contains much information on his role at Antietam. The book, entitled “George Crook, From the Redwoods to Appomattox,” can be obtained directly from the publisher or from Amazon or Barnes & Nobles websites.

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