(01-28-1821 - 07-19-1870)
Born at New Lebanon (now Lisbon), Ohio, he obtained an appointment
to the Military Academy at age sixteen and was graduated 46th in a class of 52 in the
class of 1841, a class that contributed twenty general officers to the Union and
Confederate armies. Breveted to 2nd Lieutenant, 3rd Infantry, July 1, 1841, he served in
the Florida War, 1841-1842; in garrison at Ft. Stansbury, FL, 1843; on frontier duty at
Ft. Leavenworth, KS, 1843-1845; Ft. Jesup (Camp Wilkins), LA, 1845; and in the Military
Occupation of Texas, 1845-1846.
At the outbreak of the Mexican War he was sent to
Mexico where he was engaged in Battle at Palo Alto, May 8, 1846 and the Battle of Resaca-
de-la-Palma, May 9, 1846. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, 3rd Infantry, September 21,
1846. He participated in the Battle of Monterey, September 21-23, 1846, and received a
brevet to Captain for "Gallant and Meritorious Conduct", September 23, 1846.
Brooks was next engaged at the Siege of Vera Cruz, March 9-29, 1847; Reconnaissance and
Battle of Cerro Gordo, April 17-18, 1847; Skirmish of Ocalaca, August 16, 1847; Battle of
Contreras, August 19-20, 1847; and Battle of Churubusco, August 20, 1847. He was breveted
to Major, August 20, 1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battles of Contreras
Brooks was engaged in operations before and
during the capture of Mexico City, September 12-14, 1847 and served as Acting Adjutant-
General of Bvt. Major-General Twigg's Division, 1847-1848, and as Aide-de-Camp to General
Twiggs, August 19, 1848 to November 10, 1851. He was promoted to Captain, 3rd Infantry,
November 10, 1851.
Following frontier duty in New Mexico, 1852-1858,
while on a scouting party at Ranchos de los Aragones, N. M., Brooks engaged the Navajo
Indians in a skirmish. He served on frontier duty at Ft. Clark, Texas, 1860-1861 and in
garrison at Ft. Hamilton, NY, 1861.
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
He served on mustering duty in Wisconsin,
August-September, 1861 and was promoted to Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, September
28, 1861. He served in the Defense of Washington, D. C., October, 1861 to March, 1862.
Brooks served in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign (Army of the Potomac), March-August,
1862, being engaged in the Siege of Yorktown, April 5-May 4, 1862; Action of Golden's
Farm, June 28, 1862; Battle of Savage Station, June 29, 1862, where he was wounded; at the
Battle of Glendale, June 30, 1862. He was engaged in the Maryland Campaign (Army of the
Potomac), September-November, 1862, in the Action of Crampton Pass, September 14, 1862;
Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862, where he was wounded; and March to Falmouth, VA,
October-November, 1862, commanding Division from October 22, 1862. He was promoted to
Major, 13th Infantry, March 12, 1862.
Brooks next served in the Rappahannock Campaign,
commanding Division (Army of the Potomac), December, 1862 to May, 1863; and in command of
the Department of the Monongahela, June 11, 1863 to April 6, 1864; in command of Division,
XVIII Corps (Army of the James), April 22-June 18, and of the X Army Corps, June 18-July
14, 1864; in Operation before Richmond, being engaged in the Action of Swift's Creek, May
9-10, 1864; Skirmishes and Combats near Drury's Bluff, May 12-16, 1864; Defense of Bermuda
Hundred, May 16-19, 1864; Battles of Cold Harbor, June 2-12, 1864; and Siege of
Petersburg, June 18-14, 1864. He resigned July 14, 1864. Until his death in 1870 he was a
farmer near Huntsville, AL, where he was treated with esteem and affection by his Southern
neighbors. He was buried at Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, in a grave marked with a
Confederate emblem secured in concrete.
General Patterson's tenure as President of the
Aztec Club, 1867-1881, spanned the critical period after the Civil War when the Club
accomplished what few of its contemporaries did the successful metamorphosis from a
military society to a hereditary one.
Dr. Henry Coppee, President of the Aztec Club,
1887-1888, and a close friend of William T. H. Brooks since their days together in Mexico,
"This true warrior was a man of striking
countenance, physically powerful and symmetrical, of dignified bearing, mentally quick and
vigorous, gifted with a truly military instinct, loving the soldier's life, and never
shirking duty on account of labor or danger, but rather courting it for both; modest as to
his own qualifications and without envy as to those of others. He was the soul of honor,
and his noble spirit rose at once against injustice and meanness in all their forms."