Bootes was born in Washington, D.C. and educated in the schools of the area. He joined the U.S. Army as a private in Company F of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen on June 19, 1846, and was soon promoted to Sergeant. On June 28, 1848, he was brevetted as a second lieutenant in the 6th U.S. Infantry and served in the Mexican-American War under Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. In September 1848, he was promoted to the full rank of second lieutenant. Following the war, Bootes served on various western outposts, and was promoted to first lieutenant on June 9, 1853. He was assigned to the Arizona Territory, serving at Fort Yuma, where in June 1860, he was again promoted, this time to captain.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Bootes served in the Regular Army with the combined 1st and 6th U.S. Infantry and was wounded at Antietam and again at Gettysburg, where he led his regiment in fighting near the Wheatfield. For his gallantry and leadership, he was promoted to Major (United States) of the 17th U.S. Infantry in October 1863, a position he held through the remainder of the war.
During the Civil War, he received three citations and brevet promotions: Brevetted Major July 1, 1862 for gallant and meritorious service in the Battle of Malvern Hill; Brevetted lieutenant colonel on December 13, 1862, for the Battle of Fredericksburg, and Colonel July 2, 1863, for the Battle of Gettysburg.
Following the war, he transferred to the 16th U.S. Infantry in September 1866, serving in that regiment until 1869. On December 15, 1870, he was briefly assigned to the 20th U.S. Infantry. Shortly thereafter, on January 1, 1871, he received his final assignment, serving as lieutenant colonel of the 25th U.S. Infantry until his retirement from active service in October 1874.
Bootes died in Wilmington, Delaware, at the age of 87. He is buried there in Brandywine Cemetery.
- "A Mexican War Veteran Dead", Brooklyn Eagle, April 19, 1896, Front Page, Number 1.
- "A Delaware Army Man Dead", Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1896, Page 1.
- Heitman, Francis, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1903.