About William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks (January 28, 1821 – July 19, 1870) was a career military officer in the United States Army, serving as a major general during the American Civil War.
Brooks was born in New Lebanon (now Lisbon), Ohio, and was educated in public schools. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, ranking 46th out of 52 students in the Class of 1841. Appointed a second lieutenant, he served on garrison and frontier duty.
Seminole and Mexican Wars
Brooks saw combat in both the Seminole and Mexican-American Wars. He participated in the battles of Battle of Palo Alto and the Battle of Resaca de la Palma in 1846. He saw considerable action in the Battle of Monterrey, and received a brevet to captain for "gallant and meritorious conduct." The following year, Brooks was at the Siege of Vera Cruz, the Battle of Cerro Gordo, the Skirmish of Ocalaca, the Battle of Contreras, and Battle of Churubusco. He was received a brevet promotion to major, August 20, 1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct at Contreras and Churubusco. He served on the staff of Gen. David E. Twiggs for the rest of the war.
He was promoted to Captain, 3rd Infantry, November 10, 1851, then served on frontier duty in the New Mexico Territory until 1858, at times skirmishing with local Navajos. He then served at Fort Clark, Texas, until 1861, when he returned to the East for garrison duty at Fort Hamilton, New York, where he was stationed when the Southern states seceded.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Brooks was appointed brigadier general of volunteers in September 1861. He commanded the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division of the IV Corps in the Peninsula Campaign, and the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division of the VI Corps at the Seven Days Battles, where he was wounded at the Battle of Savage's Station. Recovering, he resumed command of his brigade for the Maryland Campaign and led his men at Crampton's Gap, where they captured a Confederate battle flag belonging to the 16th Virginia Infantry. At the Battle of Antietam, Brooks's brigade was mainly in reserve, although under "galling fire of both artillery and sharpshooters" for 48 hours.
Promoted to divisional command, Brooks led the 1st Division of VI Corps at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. In June 1863, he was promoted to major general of volunteers, but this was later revoked. This demotion has been blamed on Brooks's being involved in intrigues by VI Corps commanders against Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside after Fredericksburg. During the Gettysburg Campaign, he commanded the Department of the Monongahela, with his headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He supervised the construction of a series of earthworks to protect the city from a possible Confederate raid. Returning to field duty in the late spring of 1864, Brooks commanded the 1st Division of XVIII Corps at Cold Harbor and Petersburg. In July 1864, he was forced to resign from the Army due to poor health and returned home.
Retirement and death
After the war, Brooks retired to Alabama and established a farm. He died in Huntsville, Alabama, and is buried there in Maple Hill Cemetery.