While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Thomas W. Cutrer

BROOKE, GEORGE MERCER (?–1851). George Mercer Brooke, United States Army officer, was born in Virginia and was commissioned first lieutenant in the Fifth United States Infantry on May 3, 1808. He was promoted to captain on May 1, 1810, and to major of the Twenty-third Infantry on May 1, 1814. On August 15, 1814, he was brevetted lieutenant colonel for his gallant defense of Fort Erie, Upper Canada; on September 17, 1814, he was brevetted colonel for "distinguished and meritorious service" in leading an attack on the British siege lines. On May 17, 1815, he was transferred to the Fourth Infantry and on January 27, 1819, to the Eighth. He was promoted to the substantive grade of lieutenant colonel on March 1, 1819, and transferred back to the Fourth on August 13 of the same year. He was brevetted brigadier general on September 17, 1824, for "ten years' faithful service in one grade," and was promoted to colonel commanding the Fifth Infantry on July 15, 1831. On August 1, 1844, he was appointed to the command of Military Department Number Four with responsibility for the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. And on June 10, 1846, he was appointed commander of the Western Division of the United States Army–the territory of the United States west of the Mississippi River–which he took over from Gen. Edmund P. Gaines, who had overstepped his authority by calling up thousands of militiamen for the Mexican War that the government could not use. Brooke, from his headquarters in New Orleans, was responsible for forwarding reinforcements and supplies to the field armies of generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott in Mexico. Except for a time in November 1847 when he presided at the court-martial of Lt. Col. John Charles Frémont, Brooke continued in this capacity until July 1, 1848, when he was superseded by General Taylor. Thereafter Brooke briefly commanded Military Department Number One, which comprised Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida. On May 30, 1848, he was brevetted to major general for his service in the Mexican War, and on July 7, 1849, he was appointed to the command of Military Department Number Eight–roughly the eastern two-thirds of Texas–and served at that post until his death, on March 9, 1851.

K. Jack Bauer, The Mexican War, 1846–1848 (New York: Macmillan, 1974). Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1903; rpt., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965). Raphael P. Thian, comp., Notes Illustrating the Military Geography of the United States, 1813–1880 (Washington: GPO, 1881; rpt., with addenda ed. John M. Carroll, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "BROOKE, GEORGE MERCER," accessed August 05, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbr68.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...