Alexander McDowell McCook was born the fifth son of Daniel and Martha McCook in Columbiana County, Ohio.
|Martha Latimore McCook|
His family was prominent in army service—his father Daniel and seven of Alexander's brothers, plus five of his first cousins, fought in the war. They were known as "The Fighting McCooks". His brothers Daniel McCook, Jr., Edwin McCook, and Robert McCook were all Union generals, as were his cousins, Anson McCook and Edward McCook.
|Ohio Volunteers at the First Battle of Bull Run|
|Charles Morris McCook|
McCook's brother, Robert, was shot in a skirmish with the 4th Alabama Cavalry near Huntsville, Alabama in June 1862. Northern versions claimed he was shot by Confederates while lying helpless in an ambulance. He was 34 years old when he died.
|Robert L. McCook|
|Battle of Shiloh|
|Battle of Perryville|
|Battle of Stone River|
At the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, McCook's troops suffered heavily and were driven from the field.
|Battle of Chicamauga|
At the end of June, 1864, McCook's brother, Daniel, Jr., was selected by General William Sherman to lead the assault on Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. Just before the attack, he calmly recited to his men the stanza from Thomas Macaulay's poem beginning "Then how may man die better than facing fearful odds?" He reached the top of the enemy's works, and was encouraging his men to follow him, when he was mortally wounded by a rifle shot to his right lung.
|Daniel McCook, Jr.|
|McCook (center) and his staff, 1864|
In 1880, McCook was assigned to Fort Douglas at Salt Lake City, Utah. Shortly after she arrived, his wife Kate fell ill and died at a hotel. She was 44 years old, the mother of three daughters. Before he left Utah he married for a second time, to Annie Colt.
From 1886 to 1890, he commanded Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the infantry and cavalry school there.
McCook became a full brigadier general in 1890, a major general in 1894, and retired in 1895.
Alexander McDowell McCook died on June 12, 1903 at home of his daughter, Kathleen, in Dayton, Ohio. His wife, Annie, was by his side. He was 72 years old.