In this study, we propose a rotation-based connected automated vehicle (CAV) distributed cooperative control strategy for an on-ramp merging scenario. By assuming the mainline and ramp line are straight, we firstly design a virtual rotation approach that transfers the merging problem to a virtual car following (CF) problem to reduce the complexity and dimension of the cooperative CAVs merging control. Based on this concept, a multiple-predecessor virtual CF model and a unidirectional multi-leader communication topology are developed to determine the longitudinal behavior of each CAV. Specifically, we exploit a distributed feedback and feedforward longitudinal controller in preparation for actively generating gaps for merging CAVs, reducing the voids caused by merging, and ensuring safety and traffic efficiency during the process. To ensure the disturbance attenuation property of this system, practical string stability is mathematically proved for the virtual CF controllers to prohibit the traffic oscillation amplification through the traffic stream. Moreover, as a provision for extending the virtual CF application scenarios of any curvy ramp geometry, we utilize a curvilinear coordinate to model the two-dimensional merging control, and further design a local lateral controller based on an extended linear-quadratic regulator to regulate the position deviation and angular deviation of the lane centerlines. For the purpose of systematically evaluating the control performance of the proposed methods, numerical simulation experiments are conducted. As the results indicate, the proposed controllers can actively reduce the void and meanwhile guarantee the damping of traffic oscillations in the merging control area.