Joseph Hooker

Joseph Hooker


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Joseph Hooker was a Union general during the Civil War. President Lincoln made him commander of the Army of the Potomac after the defeat at Fredericksburg and his reputation as "Fightin` Joe" led to hopes that he would be a successful general.

However, when confronted with the Confederate troops of General Robert E. Lee, he declined to engage and instead took his troops into the Wilderness, an area of scrubland where his superior numbers would count for less. Lee attacked and defeated Hooker at the Battle of Chancellorsville at the start of May 1863.


The Dubious Legacy Of General Joseph Hooker

General Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker served as a Union Army officer during the Civil War. Tasked with commanding the Army of the Potomac, he moved his soldiers north in the spring of 1863 to face General Robert E. Lee and his army at The Battle of Chancellorsville. The battle raged on for a week before General Hooker was ultimately defeated because he failed to take timely, decisive action. His orders were issued too slowly to effectively mobilize his men, and General Lee came away with the victory, despite being outmanned by the Union forces.

As it turns out, Hooker wasn't known for his quick decision making, sharp tactical mind, or for imparting strict military discipline on his men. Rather, it seemed his main concern was making sure his troops' spirits remained high while they were fighting the Confederates.

Hooker's preferred method of keeping morale up was by throwing massive parties that were frequently attended by women of the night. His men were encouraged to make use of their offerings, and the general wasn't shy about leading by example. He was reportedly no stranger to enjoying their services himself, according to We Are The Mighty.


Entering the Fray

When the Civil War began, both sides sought volunteers and men to lead them. It was the opportunity for Hooker to fulfill his thwarted dreams.

He gathered a unit of local volunteers and began drilling them ready to fight for the Union. However, it quickly became apparent that most of the war would be fought in the East.

A generous friend gave Hooker the funds he needed to go to Washington. There he petitioned men of influence, some of them old contacts, to give him a command. He rejected an offer of a position as a regimental commander, believing that he deserved something higher. Eventually, after a decisive encounter with Abraham Lincoln, he gained the backing he needed and was made a brigadier general in the United States Volunteers.


Joseph Hooker

A career United States Army officer and Mexican-American War veteran, Hooker was appointed in 1861 as a brigadier general of the Union Army. Hooker began the war commanding a division of the Army of the Potomac around Washington DC under Major General George McClellan.

In 1862 Hooker commanded the 2nd Division of the III Corps in the Peninsula Campaign. During this time Hooker earned the reputation of an aggressive leader who cared for the welfare of his men. Hooker led the First Corps at Antietam under McClellan where he was injured in the foot. When McClellan failed to pursue Lee's army after Antietam, Lincoln replaced "Little Mac" with Major General Ambrose Burnside. Following a loss at Fredericksburg and a series of poor decisions Lincoln removed Burnside, promoting Hooker to the commander of the Army of the Potomac in early 1863.

As commander of the Army of the Potomac, Hooker improved conditions for the soldiers including food, medical care, and leave. However, disagreements with his staff and commanders along with a loss to, Confederate commander, General Robert E. Lee at Chancellorsville, Virginia led to Hooker’s resignation as the commander of the Army of the Potomac.

Hooker continued his career in the United States Army and in the summer of 1863 transferred with the XI and XII Corps to the Western Theater with the Army of the Cumberland. Hooker enjoyed success at the Battle of Chattanooga and the Battle of Lookout Mountain. He was also successful in the 1864 Atlanta Campaign under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. From October 1864 until the war’s conclusion Hooker commanded the Northern Department from headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mustered out of service in 1866, he retired from the Army in 1868, and is buried in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Joseph Hooker

Joseph Hooker was a senior officer in the Union army during the American Civil War. Hooker had an aggressive approach to campaigning and during the American Civil War his men in recognition of this gave him the nickname ‘Fighting Joe’ though it was a nickname he did not like as he felt that it made him out to be a highwayman.

Hooker was born on November 13 th 1814 in Hadley, Massachusetts. He attended the US Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1837. Hooker fought in the Seminole War and the Mexican War. By the end of this war, Hooker held the rank of lieutenant colonel. Hooker resigned his commission in 1853 after his involvement in a court martial where he testified against his commanding officer – it was not thought as the right thing to do. Hooker became a farmer in California but maintained his link with the military by serving as a colonel in California’s militia.

The American Civil War broke out in April 1861. Hooker applied to join the Union army but his request was rejected. No one is quite sure why this was so but there is speculation that many senior officers in the US Army still had not forgiven or forgotten the part he played in the court martial of General Scott. Hooker wrote directly to President Lincoln. This approach succeeded and Hooker rejoined the US Army in August 1861 with the rank of brigadier general of volunteers.

His first task was to defend Washington against a possible attack. He commanded a division that was eventually to become part of the Army of the Potomac.

Hooker fought at the Battle of Williamsburg and the Seven Days Battle with distinction and in recognition of this he was promoted to major general. Hooker found it very difficult to adapt to General McClellan’s cautious tactics and strategy and he openly voiced his opposition to such an approach.

Hooker’s I Corps in the Army of Virginia fought at Antietam (September 1862). Once again, Hooker adopted an aggressive approach in what was to prove a very bloody battle. He had to leave the battlefield with an injured foot. When he returned he found that McClellan’s caution had meant that Robert E Lee’s men had been able to withdraw from the battlefield. Hooker believed that if McClellan had followed his aggressive approach, Lee’s army would have been destroyed at Antietam.

Hooker commanded the III and V Corps at the Battle of Fredericksburg (November 1862). He was highly critical of General Burnside’s plan to attack Fredericksburg – plans he called “preposterous”. Much against his wishes, the ‘Grand Division’, the name given to the III and V Corps, made fourteen attacks against Fredericksburg and took serious casualties. Whatever complaints would be made against Hooker in the future, no one doubted that he cared for the men under his command and they respected his concern. Hooker could barely forgive Burnside for ordering what he viewed as the senseless slaughter of his men and he called him a “wretch”. Hooker was very open about his views on Burnside and did nothing to disguise or moderate them. Burnside wrote to Lincoln to get the President’s approval to remove him from corps command claiming that Hooker could not cope in a crisis. Lincoln got rid of Burnside instead and in January 1863 Hooker replaced him as head of the Army of the Potomac.

His approach to the care of his soldiers in the ‘Grand Division’ was extended to the Army of the Potomac. He ensured that they had a proper diet and that all camps were provided with proper sanitary systems. Probably most important for his men, Hooker did what he could to ensure that they were paid on time and that they got the necessary amount of leave that they were entitled to. There was obviously a clear bond between Hooker and his men he called them “the finest army on the planet”.

Hooker’s reputation was severely damaged by the battle with Lee fought around Chancellorsville. Hooker had planned to outflank Lee after cutting off his supply line using a large cavalry force. Once Lee was defeated, Hooker planned to take Richmond and end the war. It was a grand plan, which failed to work. When Hooker’s cavalry failed to disrupt Lee’s supply lines, it was the start of a disaster. Robert E Lee commanded a much smaller army but to attack the Army of the Potomac, he split his men into two forces. For once, Hooker seemed to have been unsure what to do and his aggressive instincts temporarily left him. It may well be that he was mentally prepared for an attack by one army and totally unprepared for an attack by two small armies. The Battle of Chancellorsville ended in Hooker retreating. It was a great victory for Lee but a chronic embarrassment for Hooker. Subordinate officers refused to serve under him ever again.

Lincoln ordered that Hooker’s Army of the Potomac had as its first duty the protection of Washington from the advancing Lee. But Lincoln ordered that it also had to find Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and engage it in battle again. This flew in the face of what Hooker wanted to do. As Lee advanced on Washington, Hooker believed that Richmond was undefended. He wanted to advance on the Confederate capital and occupy it thus ending the war. Lincoln did not agree and ordered that Hooker had to follow his orders. To Hooker this was a sign that the President did not have confidence in him. After a seemingly minor dispute with army headquarters, Hooker handed in his resignation as head of the Army of the Potomac on June 28 th 1863 and Lincoln accepted it.

Hooker’s military career took another direction when he was sent to assist the Army of the Cumberland in Tennessee. Hooker did much for his reputation at the Battle of Chattanooga. While Ullyses Grant got the credit for the victory, Hooker did as much as he could to support him, especially at Lookout Mountain. Hooker was rewarded for what he did at the Battle of Chattanooga by being given a rank of major general in the regular army and he was given command of the XX Corps. XX Corps did what was needed of it during the campaign in Georgia and Sherman’s success in this campaign had a rub-off effect on Hooker. After the North’s success in Georgia, Hooker was appointed commander of the Northern Department – a position he held for the rest of the American Civil War.

Hooker suffered a stroke after the war and retired from the US Army on October 15 th 1868 with the rank of major general.


Joseph Hooker, 1814-1879

Hooker attended West Point from 1833 to 1837, graduating 29th out of 50 in his class. Like many Civil War generals, he first met many of his civil war comrades and opponents at West Point. His year contained Bragg, Pemberton and Early, all of whom reached high rank in the Confederate army, and Sedgwick for the Union.

Before the civil war he served in Florida, on the Canadian border, as adjutant of West Point and as adjutant of the 1st Artillery. During the Mexican War he served as a staff officer for a series of generals, including General Gideon Johnson Pillow. He distinguished himself in action, winning brevet promotions to captain, major and finally lieutenant-colonel. However, his close association with General Pillow was to cause a serious rift with General Winfield Scott, the American commander in Mexico. Pillow had written anonymous letters to the New Orleans Delta claiming that he was actually responsible for Scott&rsquos victories. When the authorship of these letters was discovered, Pillow was arrested, and returned to Washington for trial, where he was falsely acquitted. Hooker had given evidence to support Pillow.

In the post war period he added General Halleck to his list of enemies. He resigned from the army in 1853 and moved to the west, where he tried farming in California (to 1858), before moving on to become superintendent of military roads in Oregon in 1858-59. Finally he became a Colonel in the California militia in 1859-61. Halleck was already prominent in California society, having helped to write the new state's constitution. Halleck was now a major-general in the Militia. It was during this period that the two men first clashed.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he made his way to Washington. His offer of service was accepted one month after the siege of Fort Sumter. At first his offer was ignored, but in the aftermath of the First Battle of Bull Run (21 July 1861), he was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, backdated to 18 May, and given a command in the force defending Washington.

Hooker commanded a division during the Peninsula campaign of 1862. Here he began to gain a reputation as a fine Divisional commander. At the Battle of Williamsburg he was at the front of his division, and played a crucial role in the Union success in that battle. His division suffered the vast majority of the Union casualties at Williamsburg (337 out of 468 dead, 908 out of 1442 wounded and 330 out of 373 missing, 70% of the total). After the battle he gained a promotion to major-general of volunteers, and a nickname &ndash &lsquoFighting Joe&rsquo .

His reputation continued to rise throughout the rest of the Peninsula campaign, and even after the disaster at Second Bull Run. In the aftermath of that battle he was promoted to command of the First Corps in the Army of the Potomac. It was in that capacity that he took part in the campaign that ended at Antietam. His corps was heavily involved in the fighting at South Mountain, where a small Confederate force held back two Federal army corps for almost an entire day.

Hooker&rsquos corps fought on the Federal right at Antietam. In theory, he was under the direct command of General Burnside, but Burnside was with his other corps, on the left of the battle. The right wing thus lacked any coordinating leadership. The battle was characterised by a series of disjointed Federal attacks, many of which came close to achieving success, but all of which failed to do so. Late in the day he was badly injured, and had to leave the field, but by then the chance to win a decisive victory had probably already passed.

Hooker returned in time to take part in Burnside&rsquos disastrous Fredericksburg campaign. Burnside had not wanted to take command of the Army of the Potomac when Lincoln finally decided to replace General McClellan, but had eventually agreed to take the job, possibly to prevent it going to Hooker. Despite this, Hooker was promoted to brigadier-general in the regular army, and given command of one of Burnside&rsquos new &lsquoGrand Divisions&rsquo (two army corps combined under a single commander. Something similar had been attempted by McClellan at Antietam, when Burnside had had command of two corps).

Burnside&rsquos grand offensive ended in disaster at Fredericksburg. The campaign had begun well. Two corps moved quickly to Fredericksburg, but their pontoon bridges moved more slowly. By the time Burnside was ready to cross the river, Lee had arrived and was dug in. Burnside decided to launch an attack straight at the Confederate lines. None of his corps commanders were happy with the plan, On 13 December 1862 they were proved correct. The attack at Fredericksburg was a disaster, achieving nothing.

In the aftermath of the battle, the relationship between Burnside and his senior officers seems to have broken down. The army as a whole had lost confidence in his ability to lead them to success. After another attempted campaign early in 1863 bogged down in the Virginia mud, Burnside decided that he needed to remove several of his senior officers. Unsurprisingly, Hooker was amongst them. On 23 January Burnside wrote a command removing Hooker from his command, but instead of issuing it, he took it to Washington, and presented it to President Lincoln as an ultimatum &ndash approve the order, or remove me from command. Lincoln chose to remove Burnside, sending him west to command the Department of the Ohio.

Hooker was now promoted to command the Army of the Potomac. At first he was a great success. Morale rose, desertions fell, and the army recovered much of the confidence it had lost at Fredericksburg. He reorganised the army, creating a dedicated cavalry corps, and removing Burnside&rsquos &lsquoGrand Divisions&rsquo. Hooker was characteristically confident, informing Lincoln that it was matter of when he would reach Richmond, not whether he would.

Hooker came up with what was probably the best plan yet developed to defeat Lee. It was based around the effective use of Hooker&rsquos massive numerical advantage. He would split the army in three. One part would remain at Fredericksburg, hopefully pinning Lee down while the rest of the army moved west. If Lee did detect the main movement and follow it, then the detachment at Fredericksburg would be strong enough to attack whatever force Lee left behind. Meanwhile, the bulk of the army would move upstream along the Rappahannock River, hopefully outflanking Lee.

All began well. Although Lee was not fooled by Hooker&rsquos movement, the Union army was able to get across the Rappahannock, and by 30 April had reached Chancellorsville. Lee was faced by 40,000 men in front of him at Fredericksburg and 70,000 men across the river to his left. The next day things started to go wrong. When it became clear that Lee was advancing towards him with most of his army, Hooker simply lost his nerve. Instead of advancing to attack Lee in open ground, Hooker retreated into the Wilderness around Chancellorsville, and prepared to fight a defensive battle.

Having thrown away all the advantages that his plan and superior numbers had given him, Hooker&rsquos men did at least fight a determined battle in the tangled undergrowth of the Wilderness. Despite this, they were clearly beaten by Lee&rsquos much smaller army. Hooker&rsquos grand plan had come to an inglorious end. Lee did suffer two serious blows at Chancellorsville. The most famous was the death of Stonewall Jackson, his most able lieutenant. Jackson was shot by his own troops in the confusion, and died of his wounds several days later. Perhaps more significantly, even in defeat the Army of the Potomac had inflicted heavy casualties on Lee&rsquos men. Federal losses were 1,575 dead, 9,594 wound and 5919 missing and captured, for a total of 17,287. Confederate losses were 1,665 dead, 9,081 wounded and 1,708 missing or captured, for a total of 12,462. Too many victories like Chancellorsville would destroy Lee&rsquos army.

Hooker remained in command of the Army of the Potomac for most of the Gettysburg campaign. Despite the defeat at Chancellorsville, the Army of the Potomac was not notably disorganised or demoralised, much to Lee&rsquos eventual discomfort. Hooker handled the start of the pursuit of Lee with some skill, protecting Washington and Baltimore, while quickly closing on Lee. Ironically, the small garrison of Harper&rsquos Ferry once again appeared on the stage. Lee&rsquos decision to attack in the previous year had derailed his invasion of Maryland in 1862. Now Hooker&rsquos desire to have control of the same garrison was to end his time in command of the Army of the Potomac. When his demand was refused, Hooker resigned. On 28 June he was replaced by General Meade. Three days later, on 1 July, Meade found himself in command on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Despite the awful timing of his resignation, Hooker&rsquos career was not over. A crisis was rapidly developing around Chattanooga, where General Rosecrans was making slow but vulnerable progress towards the city. On 19-20 September, having captured Chattanooga, he was defeated at Chickamauga. Even before this he had been calling for reinforcements. The Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were detached from the Army of the Potomac and on 24 September 1863 left their camps on the Rappahannock River under the command of Joseph Hooker.

That force played an important role in U.S. Grant&rsquos relief of Chattanooga. On 24 November 1863 they fought the Battle of Lookout Mountain, also known as the Battle above the Clouds because of the unusual weather. This marked the beginning of Grant&rsquos counterattack, completed the next day at Missionary Ridge. Hooker did not play a major role in that battle, having been delayed on the march from Lookout Mountain.

1864 saw Hooker back in the role he was probably best suited too, commanding the Twentieth corps in General Sherman&rsquos advance towards Atlanta (created by combining the Eleventh and Twelfth). In that capacity he served well, receiving a battlefield commendation and a mention in dispatches after the battle of Peach Tree Creek. However, he seems to have agitating for more senior command for much of the expedition. Sherman&rsquos force was divided into three armies under Generals Thomas, Schofield and McPherson. Hooker&rsquos corps was part of General Thomas&rsquos army. However, both Schofield and McPherson complained that Hooker had a tendency to move his corps away from his own superior, and towards them. In theory he outranked both men, and so if a battle developed while he was close by could claim command on the battlefield.

Whatever the truth of these claims, the result was that Sherman was not entirely at ease with Hooker. When McPherson was killed during the Battle of Atlanta (22 July 1864), Hooker expected to replace him. He was indeed the most senior of the available officers, but that was not important to Sherman. According to Sherman&rsquos autobiography, Hooker was not even considered for the role, which went to Major-General O. O. Howard. Hooker promptly handed in his resignation, which was equally promptly accepted.

This finally ended Hooker&rsquos active career, although not his army career. In September 1864 he was appointed to command the Northern Department, with headquarters at Cincinnati, Ohio. After the civil war, he commanded the Department of the East (from July 1865), and then the Department of the Lakes (from 1866-68). Increasing infirmity finally forced him to retire from the army in 1868. The same year had seen the death of his wife of two years, Olivia Groesbeck.

Hooker divided his contemporaries. General Pope considered him to be one of the best corps commanders in the army. For General Couch he had many fine qualities as an officer, but not the weight of character required to command the Army of the Potomac. Couch had had plenty of opportunities to observe Hooker in action with that army. Even when appointing him to command the Army of the Potomac, President Lincoln had some doubts, going as far as outlining them to Hooker in his letter of appointment! His main concern was that Hooker&rsquos ambition had led him to undermine Burnside. Chancellorsville proved that Hooker was not capable of holding the highest command, but his own ambition meant that he was not content to serve in the capacity for which he was best suited, that of the dashing corps commander.


ORIGINS OF `HOOKER' HOOKS MORE THAN A FEW READERS

Dear Ann Landers: It looks as if "A Buff in Ft. Dodge" hooked you in with the origin of the word "hooker." The American Heritage Dictionary, computer version, makes it clear that the word was already in use to mean "prostitute" well before Gen. Hooker's time and that it therefore could not have originated as the reader described. This is the gist of the word's history:

The word "hooker," meaning "prostitute," is in fact older than the Civil War. It appeared in the second edition of John Russell Bartlett's "Dictionary of Americanisms," published in 1856. Bartlett defined hooker as "a strumpet, a sailor's trull." He also guessed that the word was derived from Corlear's Hook, a district in New York City, but there is no evidence that the term originated in New York.

Norman Ellsworth Eliason traced this use of "hooker" back to 1845 in North Carolina. He reported the usage in "Tarheel Talk, an Historical Study of the English Language in North Carolina to 1860," published in 1956. The fact that we have no earlier written evidence does not mean that "hooker" was never used to mean "prostitute" before 1845. The history of "hooker" is, quite simply, murky we do not know when or where it was first used, but we can be very certain that it did not begin with Joseph Hooker.

However, the late Bruce Catton, Civil War historian, didn't completely exonerate Gen. Hooker. Catton said the term became popular during the Civil War-probably because there was a red-light district in Washington, which became known as Hooker's Division in tribute to the proclivities of the lusty general. If the term "hooker" was derived neither from Joseph Hooker nor from Corlear's Hook, what then is its derivation? It is most likely, etymologically, simply "one who hooks." The term portrays a prostitute as a person who hooks, or snares, clients. No wonder it wasn't taught in school.

Dear Frank: Thanks for the history lesson. I didn't realize there were so many scholars who were interested in hookers. Some of the letters were very funny. Thanks to all who wrote.

Dear Ann Landers: I am 76. After 16 years of living alone, I have finally met a man I can care for. I believe "George" is quite fond of me, but here is the problem.

George has a little dog he loves more than life. The dog sleeps with him and goes everywhere George goes. I can't blame him for being attached to a pet that has been his constant companion for five years. After all, I have a cat that sleeps with me. However, this dog barks constantly while riding in the car and jumps all over me. I dread going anyplace with George because of the jumping and high-pitched barking. I'm afraid to say anything for fear George will quit seeing me.

Is there a future for this relationship? If so, what would be the best approach for me to let George know I'd like to focus more attention on him and less on the dog?

Dear Dilemma: Don't compete with the dog. You'll lose. Use earplugs when you ride with George, and when you put them in, make a big point of how much the barking bothers your ears.


Joseph Hooker

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Brandy Station 1863: First Step Towards Gettysburg by Dan Beattie, Osprey Publishing In 1863 Union Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker reformed the Army of the Potomac, including its long-maligned cavalry, which he molded into a corps under Brig. Gen.

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What Next, General? Hooker at Chancellorsville, 1863

As Major General Joseph Hooker, can YOU defeat General Robert E. Lee and win a stunning Union victory? It is May 1, 1863, as you assume the role of Major General Joseph Hooker, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. Known as.

A Wild Tear Across Virginia

Stoneman’s Raid tested the mettle of the Union’s newly formed Cavalry Corps. Fighting Joe Hooker—the Army of the Potomac’s third commander in less than two years—spent early 1863 reorganizing and reenergizing his forces. The army.

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resident Abraham Lincoln’s grand review of the Army of the Potomac on April 9, 1863, would be remembered fondly by both awed onlookers and the regiments that paraded before him at Belle Plaine, Va. In many ways, the occasion marked the.

A Bloody Summer for Horsemen

By 1863, Union troopers were ready for hard fighting, from Brandy Station to the retreat from Gettysburg. GENERAL JOE HOOKER does not get a lot of credit from historians, who most often associate him with the Union debacle at.

A Boy Named Chancy

Union General O.O. Howard named his son after one of the North’s worst defeats. The Army of the Potomac’s XI Corps suffered a resounding a defeat on May 2, 1863 at Chancellorsville. The onslaught by Lt. Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s that.

Bewilderment at Brandy Station

Was the greatest cavalry battle on U.S. soil the beginning of the end for Jeb Stuart? HE WAS A LIVING LEGEND. With his ostrich-plumed soft hat, red-lined cape, gold-tasseled sash and thigh-high gold-spurred cavalry boots, he was the most.

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Two Roads Taken: George Meade found fame as Both a Warrior and an Engineer. “What a waste of time and energy,” George Meade wrote to his wife on December 18, 1845, as he approached his 30th birthday. Describing his feelings about his.

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President Barack Obama dicusses the Emacipation Proclamation with guests. Official White House photo by Pete Souza. This past June, while the sputtering economy, seemingly bottomless oil spill and the war in Afghanistan dominated.


Later Life

Following the war, Hooker remained in the army. He retired in 1868 as a major general after suffering a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. After spending much of his retired life around New York City, he died on October 31, 1879, while visiting Garden City, NY. He was buried at Spring Grove Cemetery in his wife's, Olivia Groesbeck, hometown of Cincinnati, OH. Though known for his hard drinking and wild lifestyle, the magnitude of Hooker's personal escapades is a subject of much debate among his biographers.


Hooker, Joseph

Hooker, Joseph (1814�), Civil War general.Graduating twenty‐ninth of a class of fifty at the U.S. Military Academy, Hooker won three brevets in the Mexican War, but angered Winfield Scott by testifying against him in a court of inquiry. While a civilian colonel in the California militia in the 1850s, he had a major disagreement with Henry W. Halleck. During the Civil War, he advanced his way up the promotion ladder as a Union leader, often denigrating other officers, until he found himself commanding the Army of the Potomac to its disastrous defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville. He served under William Tecumseh Sherman as a corps commander but demanded reassignment when he failed to receive command of the Army of the Tennessee. From 1 October 1864 to his retirement in 1868, he held inconspicuous assignments.

Hooker had the reputation for being a drinker and a womanizer and is often erroneously cited as the inspiration for prostitutes being called “hookers.” He gained the nickname 𠇏ighting Joe” when the newspaper headline 𠇏ighting—Joe Hooker” was in error printed as 𠇏ighting Joe Hooker.” His is the tale of a military man of limited ability, reaching command beyond his talents and paying the awful price of casualties to his men and ruin to his reputation.
[See also Civil War: Military and Diplomatic Course Union Army.]

Walter H. Herbert , Fighting Joe Hooker , 1944.
Ernest B. Furgurson , Chancellorsville 1863: The Souls of the Brave , 1992.

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Joseph Hooker - History

Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker was born in Hadley, Massachusetts on November 13, 1814. He was educated at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he graduated 29th in his class of 50 in 1837. He served in the Seminole War, on the frontier, and as Adjutant at West Point before fighting in the Mexican War where he received three brevets.

With the outbreak of the American Civil War he was appointed brigadier general of U.S. volunteers on May 17, 1861 and commanded Hooker's brigade in the defenses of Washington. He then led Hooker's division and 2nd Division / III Corps, at Yorktown, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Glendale, Malvern Hill, Bristoe Station, 2nd Bull Run, and Chantilly. In May of 1862 he was promoted to major general and commanded the III Corps in the Army of Virginia and then led the I Corps, Army of the Potomac at South Mountain and Antietam where he was wounded. He led the Centre Grand Division (composed of the III and II Corps) at Fredericksburg from November 16, 1862 to January 26, 1863.

On January 27, 1863, Hooker was assigned by Abraham Lincoln to the command of the Army of the Potomac. He rehabilitated and organized this army, but his command on the battlefield failed to show the qualities that had distinguished him as a corps and division commander. The defeat of the Union troops at Chancellorsville in May 1863 was in large measure the result of Hooker's vacillation and inability to cope with the surprise actions of the Confederate leadership. In deference to Lincoln's lack of confidence in him and the pressure of public opinion in the North, Hooker resigned his command of the Army of the Potomac the following July and was later given command of the XI and XII Corps. Going to the West with the XI and XII Corps, he was given command of the XX Corps on September 24, 1863 and led them at Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold, Mill Creek Gap, Resaca, Cassville, New Hope Church, Pine Mountain, Chattahoochee, Peach Tree Creek, and the siege of Atlanta. He restored his reputation somewhat by good leadership at Lookout Mountain and in the Atlanta campaign. When Howard was named to succeed McPherson, Hooker asked to be relieved and left this command on July 28, 1864. He was then sent to the Northern Department from October 1, 1864 to June 27, 1865 and later continued in the regular army heading other departments, until his retirement as Major General in 1868 after a paralytic stroke. Hooker was known to chafe at the constraints of higher authority during his military career. "I don't think Hooker ever liked any man under whom he was serving," a subordinate remarked. "He always thought that full credit was not given him for his fighting qualities."

The nickname, "Fighting Joe", was derived from the tag line of a series of takes sent out by Associated Press during the Seven Days' Battles. The unknown copyist headed them "Fighting--Joe Hooker," and newspapers all over the country simply removed the hyphen and used "Fighting Joe Hooker" as a subhead. Much to Hooker's disgust the name was forever associated with him.

Hooker died on October 3, 1879 in Garden City, New York. He rests beside his wife Olivia Augusta Groesbeck.

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Watch the video: General Joseph Hooker