Hooker Joseph 181479

Joseph Hooker (see Plate Dl) was born in Iladley, Massachusetts on 13 November 1814. After early education at Hopkins Academy in 1 iadley he went on to West Point, from where he was graduated in 1837. He served on various staffs during the Mexican War, winning brevets for all ranks up to that of lieutenant-colonel for his gallant and meritorious conduct. His permanent captaincy was given him in 1848, and he went on to serve as assistant adjutant general of the Pacific Division. Going 011 leave of absence in 1851, he resigned his commission in 1853 and took up farming near Sonoma, California.

Seeking a return to the army, Hooker was named a brigadier-general of volunteers in August 1861, and commanded a division of III Corps in the Peninsula campaign the following year. It w:as during this period that a newspaper headed one of its stories from the front, "Fighting-Joe Hooker"; thereafter he was known as "Fightingjoe Hooker", which he found embarrassing. I le commanded his division and then I Corps in the Seven Days' Battles of June-July 1862, at Second Bull Run (Manassas) in August, and Antietam in September. At Fredericksburg that December he was given command of two corps as the Center Grand Division. His criticisms of Burnside during this campaign caused the latter to request his removal; but Lincoln chose to appoint him commander of the Army of the Potomac in Burnside's stead.

Gambar Peristiwa Tritura
Hooker (front, second from right) with his staff. Whatever his failings in the field, he greatly improved morale in the Army of the Potomac after Fredericksburg with a combination of furloughs, dress parades, more clothes and equipment, and more food.

Colonel Charles Wainwright noted in his diary in May 1862 that "General Hooker has been of the pleasantest kind, and I have him a delightful man to serve with. 1 do not, however, like the way he has of always decrying the other generals of his own rank, whose every act he seems to find fault with." When Hooker was named army commander Wainwright went on to write: "His bravery is unquestioned, but he has not so far shown himself anything of a tactician, and at Williamsburg he certainly did not appear to be master of the situation. One great quality I think he has, a good judgment of men to serve under him. I am asked on all sides here if he drinks. Though thrown in very close contact with him through six months, I never saw him when I thought him the worse for liquor. Indeed, I should say that his failing was more in the way of women than whiskey." John Gibbon felt that "A great deal of his attractive frankness was assumed and he was essentially an intriguer. In his intrigues, he sacrificed his soldierly principles whenever such sacrifice could gain him political influence to further his own ends."

Hooker planned a flank move around Lee, moving west and crossing the Rappahannock, cutting rapidly through the Wilderness area, and hitting Lee where he would have to attack, between Fredericksburg and Richmond. Upon reaching the area, however, he apparently lost all resolve, and had his forces pull back to defensive lines around Chancellorsville. There Lee threw in a Hank move of his own, and at dusk on 2 May 1863 Stonewall Jackson smashed through Hooker's right. Hooker's apparent paralysis of will persisted, and only the accidental death of Jackson, and hard lighting by Hooker's subordinates, saved the Union army from a worse disaster.

Relieved of command as I.ee headed north into Pennsylvania two months later, Hooker was sent to the West with the ill-fated XI and XII Corps, later consolidated into XX Corps. There he fought quite well under command of U.S.Grant at Chattanooga in October 1863. After the war Grant wrote:

"Of Hooker I saw but little during the war. I had known him very well before, however. Where I did see him, at Chattanooga, his achievement in bringing his command around the point of Lookout Mountain and into Chattanooga Valley was brilliant. I nevertheless regarded him as a dangerous man. He was not subordinate to his superiors. He was ambitious to the extent of caring nothing for the rights of others. His disposition was, when engaged in battle, to get detached from the main body of the army and exercise a separate command, gathering to his standard all he could of his juniors."

After James McPherson was killed at Atlanta, Oliver O.Howard, who was subordinate to Hooker, was named to command the Army of Tennessee. Hooker, who held rank as a brigadier-general in the regular army and major-general of volunteers, asked to be relieved from "an army in which rank and service are ignored." Sherman let him go, and he only held a departmental command until he retired in 1868. He died in Garden City, New York, on 31 October 1879.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment