Joseph Hooker

Joseph Hooker


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Joseph Hooker (1814-1879) foi um oficial militar de carreira dos EUA que serviu como major-general e comandante do Exército da União de Potomac durante a Guerra Civil (1861-65). Hooker entrou na Guerra Civil em 1861 como general de brigada e ganhou a reputação de comandante de combate confiável durante a Campanha da Península e a Batalha de Antietam. Após a derrota da União na Batalha de Fredericksburg, Hooker sucedeu ao General Ambrose Burnside como comandante do Exército do Potomac no início de 1863. Hooker era amado por seus homens por suas melhorias para aumentar o moral nas rações de alimentos e cuidados médicos, mas uma derrota surpreendente na Batalha de Chancellorsville levou à sua renúncia em junho de 1863, poucos dias antes da Batalha de Gettysburg. Hooker mais tarde serviu no Western Theatre da guerra durante as campanhas de Chattanooga e Atlanta em 1864, e terminou a Guerra Civil como comandante departamental em Ohio. Ele morreu em 1879 com 64 anos.

Joseph Hooker: Primeira Vida e Serviço Militar

Neto de um capitão da Guerra Revolucionária, Joseph Hooker nasceu em Hadley, Massachusetts, em 13 de novembro de 1814. A educação inicial de Hooker ocorreu na Hopkins Academy em Massachusetts, e ele passou a frequentar a Academia Militar dos Estados Unidos em West Point, classificando 29º de 50 em sua classe após a formatura em 1837.

A primeira experiência de campo de Hooker veio na Flórida durante a Segunda Guerra Seminole (1835-42). Mais tarde, ele participou da Guerra Mexicano-Americana (1846-48) como oficial de estado-maior, servindo sob o comando do famoso General Winfield Scott e do futuro presidente dos EUA, Zachary Taylor. Um soldado altamente capaz, Hooker ganhou vários elogios por bravura e ascendeu ao posto de tenente-coronel. Após a guerra, ele serviu como ajudante geral da Divisão do Pacífico na Califórnia.

Hooker renunciou ao serviço militar em 1853 e se estabeleceu em Sonoma, Califórnia, para seguir carreira como fazendeiro e comerciante de madeira. Nos anos seguintes, ele lutou para ganhar a vida e - fora uma corrida fracassada a um cargo político local - ficou conhecido por dedicar muito de seu tempo à bebida e ao jogo. Em 1858, ele fez uma tentativa de voltar ao exército, mas o pedido de um posto de tenente-coronel foi ignorado pelo Departamento de Guerra.

Joseph Hooker: Serviço da Guerra Civil

Hooker viveu em relativa obscuridade na Califórnia e no Oregon até a eclosão da Guerra Civil oferecer a ele uma chance de retornar ao campo. Em agosto de 1861, ele foi comissionado como general de brigada e começou a servir no Exército do Potomac do general George B. McClellan em Washington, D.C.

Hooker viu seu primeiro grande combate na primavera de 1862 durante a Campanha da Península de McClellan, uma tentativa de desembarcar o exército da União na costa da Virgínia e mover-se para a capital confederada de Richmond. Hooker demonstrou uma confiança natural no comando, servindo com distinção durante a Batalha de Williamsburg e as subsequentes Batalhas dos Sete Dias e ganhando uma promoção a major-general de voluntários.

Hooker assumiu o comando da corporação no Exército do Potomac em setembro de 1862 após a Segunda Batalha de Bull Run. Ele liderou seu corpo pela primeira vez durante a vitória da União na Batalha de South Mountain, e suas unidades mais tarde lideraram o primeiro ataque da União durante o impasse na Batalha de Antietam.

No final de 1862, Hooker assumiu o comando de uma grande divisão sob o general Ambrose Burnside. Em dezembro, as unidades de Hooker sofreram pesadas baixas na devastadora derrota da União em Fredericksburg, na qual uma força confederada firmemente entrincheirada repeliu repetidos ataques do Exército do Potomac. Hooker havia reconhecido a futilidade dos ataques e, após a derrota, ele criticou tanto as táticas de Burnside que Burnside tentou retirá-lo do comando. Em vez disso, foi Burnside quem foi dispensado do serviço e, em janeiro de 1863, o presidente Abraham Lincoln escolheu Hooker como o novo comandante do Exército do Potomac.

Joseph Hooker: Comando do Exército do Potomac

Depois de assumir o comando, Hooker começou imediatamente a reorganizar o Exército do Potomac. Ele providenciou a anistia para os desertores e eliminou a corrupção entre os oficiais. Ele também elevou o moral ao melhorar a assistência médica, as rações e a duração das licenças. Embora essas mudanças tenham dado a Hooker a reputação de um administrador de campo capaz, sua suposta história de vida difícil - em particular os rumores de que bebia no trabalho - também persistia.

Na primavera de 1863, o exército reorganizado de Hooker tinha 115.000 homens. Em abril, ele atravessou o rio Rappahannock para a Virgínia, supostamente dizendo à mídia: “O exército rebelde agora é propriedade legítima do Exército do Potomac”.

Em maio de 1863, o Exército de Hooker do Potomac encontrou o Exército de Robert E. Lee da Virgínia do Norte na Batalha de Chancellorsville. Apesar de ter uma vantagem numérica significativa, Hooker hesitou em se envolver e ordenou que seus homens recuassem durante os estágios iniciais da batalha. Lee aproveitou esta oportunidade dividindo seu exército ao meio e flanqueando o lado direito das forças de Hooker em um ousado ataque surpresa. Sob forte pressão, Hooker optou por não contra-atacar e, em vez disso, ordenou uma retirada de volta pelo rio Rappahannock para proteger Washington, D.C. e Baltimore.

A liderança e a reputação de Hooker ficaram sob considerável escrutínio após sua derrota em sua primeira grande batalha por uma força com metade do tamanho da sua. Em junho de 1863, ele ofereceu sua renúncia ao presidente Lincoln. O General George Meade sucederia Hooker como comandante do Exército do Potomac apenas alguns dias antes da Batalha de Gettysburg.

Joseph Hooker: serviço posterior da guerra civil

Depois de ser dispensado de seu comando, Hooker foi transferido para o Western Theatre no Tennessee junto com o XI e XII Corps do Exército do Potomac. Em novembro de 1863, Hooker trabalhou para reviver sua reputação executando um ataque agressivo que expulsou as forças confederadas da Montanha Lookout e ajudou a encerrar um cerco às forças da União em Chattanooga. Hooker passou a servir sob o general William T. Sherman durante a campanha de Atlanta em meados de 1864. Os dois generais estavam constantemente em conflito e, quando Sherman o rejeitou para uma promoção, Hooker protestou pedindo para ser dispensado do serviço. Ele oficialmente deixou o campo no verão de 1864. Em setembro de 1864, Lincoln o colocou como encarregado do Departamento do Norte, um comando que abrangia os estados de Indiana, Illinois, Michigan e Ohio. Hooker passaria o resto da guerra trabalhando como administrador em Cincinnati.

Joseph Hooker: vida posterior

Após a rendição de Robert E. Lee em 1865, Hooker foi transferido para o comando do Departamento do Leste, que abrangia Nova York, Nova Jersey e Nova Inglaterra. Em setembro de 1865, ele se casou com Olivia Groesbeck, irmã de um congressista de Ohio, mas o casamento acabou três anos depois, quando ela morreu em 1868. Nesse mesmo ano, Hooker se aposentou do exército. Sua própria saúde havia piorado significativamente nos anos após a guerra, e dois derrames o deixaram parcialmente paralisado. Ele morreu em Garden City, Long Island, em 1879, aos 64 anos.


Como muitos oficiais que lideraram os dois exércitos na Guerra Civil, Hooker se formou na Academia Militar de West Point. Depois de deixar a academia, ele foi tenente da artilharia, lutando contra os índios Seminoles, depois serviu na fronteira canadense e como ajudante em West Point.

Em 1846, estourou a guerra com o México. Hooker serviu na equipe de vários comandantes, construindo seu conhecimento e experiência de liderança. Ele lutou no assalto a Chapultepec, mostrando a ousadia que caracterizava seu estilo militar.

Depois do México, Hooker permaneceu no exército por vários anos, mas frustrado por não alcançar suas ambições, ele voltou à vida civil na Califórnia.

& # 8220Fighting & # 8221 Joe Hooker em uma gravura de 1863.


Joseph Hooker

Oficial de carreira do Exército dos Estados Unidos e veterano da guerra mexicano-americana, Hooker foi nomeado em 1861 como general de brigada do Exército da União. Hooker começou a guerra comandando uma divisão do Exército do Potomac em torno de Washington DC sob o comando do General George McClellan.

Em 1862, Hooker comandou a 2ª Divisão do III Corpo de exército na Campanha da Península. Durante esse tempo, Hooker ganhou a reputação de um líder agressivo que se preocupava com o bem-estar de seus homens. Hooker liderou o Primeiro Corpo de exército em Antietam sob o comando de McClellan, onde ele se feriu no pé. Quando McClellan falhou em perseguir o exército de Lee depois de Antietam, Lincoln substituiu "Little Mac" pelo Major General Ambrose Burnside. Após uma derrota em Fredericksburg e uma série de decisões erradas, Lincoln removeu Burnside, promovendo Hooker a comandante do Exército do Potomac no início de 1863.

Como comandante do Exército do Potomac, Hooker melhorou as condições para os soldados, incluindo comida, cuidados médicos e licenças. No entanto, desacordos com sua equipe e comandantes, juntamente com uma derrota para o comandante confederado, General Robert E. Lee em Chancellorsville, Virgínia, levaram à renúncia de Hooker como comandante do Exército do Potomac.

Hooker continuou sua carreira no Exército dos Estados Unidos e no verão de 1863 foi transferido com o XI e XII Corps para o Western Theatre com o Exército de Cumberland. Hooker teve sucesso na Batalha de Chattanooga e na Batalha da Montanha Lookout. Ele também teve sucesso na Campanha de Atlanta de 1864 sob o comando do General William Tecumseh Sherman. De outubro de 1864 até o fim da guerra, Hooker comandou o Departamento do Norte do quartel-general em Cincinnati, Ohio.

Retirado do serviço em 1866, ele se aposentou do Exército em 1868 e foi enterrado em Cincinnati, Ohio.


Joseph Hooker

“Fighting Joe” realmente pôs à prova o lema “Faz muito tempo que não estou aqui, estou aqui para um bom tempo”.

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Resenha de livro da CWT: Brandy Station 1863

Brandy Station 1863: Primeiro passo em direção a Gettysburg por Dan Beattie, Osprey Publishing Em 1863, o major-general Joseph Hooker reformou o Exército do Potomac, incluindo sua cavalaria há muito difamada, que ele moldou em um corpo sob o Brig. Gen.

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& # 8216Long Sol & # 8217: O combativo Solomon Meredith com 1,80 m de altura lançou uma longa sombra.

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Um menino chamado Chancy

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Proclamação de Emancipação retorna à Casa Branca

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"Ele teve plena realização de tudo com que os soldados sonham - triunfo e, quando o observei na fruição completa do sucesso que seu gênio, coragem e confiança em seu exército haviam obtido, pensei que devia ser de tal cena que os homens nos tempos antigos se elevaram à dignidade de deuses. ”

Que conceito. Magnífico, não é? Explosões de artilharia estão sacudindo a terra enquanto massas de confederados de fumaça e pó enegrecido atiram contra o inimigo em fuga, e Robert E. Lee, em Traveller, cavalga para a clareira onde as chamas da mansão de Chancellorsville. Um impulso comum imediato possui seus homens, e uma longa e grande alegria se eleva ininterrupta sobre o rugido da batalha. Até os feridos no chão gritam. Chegou o que o biógrafo de Lee, Douglas Southall Freeman, chamará de momento supremo da vida de seu tema. Olhando para a frente está o assessor de Lee, coronel Charles Marshall, que décadas no futuro irá sugerir a seu jovem parente George C. Marshall que ele tente entrar no Instituto Militar da Virgínia e se tornar um oficial.

“Elevou-se à dignidade dos deuses”, escreveu Marshall. Mas é claro, Lee não era um deus e, de fato, teria pensado que era idólatra que alguém o visse como um deus. Mesmo assim, o coronel Marshall estava no caminho certo e tocou a nota correta. Pois o que Lee fez em Chancellorsville foi milagroso, mágico, quase sobrenatural.

O fato de ele ter conquistado grandes e inimagináveis ​​coisas significa, por definição, que ele enfrentou grandes probabilidades e ganhou de alguém que tinha todas as cartas altas, que era o que nas corridas de cavalos é chamado de probabilidades, um grande favorito. Não podia perder. Mas ... “Nunca se sabe o que constitui um general”, disse Ulysses S. Grant. “Nossa guerra, e todas as guerras, são surpresas a esse respeito.” Ir para a guerra é como abrir a porta de uma sala desconhecida, observou Adolf Hitler, muito corretamente. Nunca se pode ter certeza do que está nele. Nem no general que vai para a batalha. “Em nenhum lugar os eventos correspondem menos às expectativas dos homens do que na guerra”, disse Lívio de Roma.

Do fato de que Lee, o quase impossível tiro no escuro, vence um favorito certo, "biógrafos, estrategistas e psiquiatras", diz o cronista mais recente da Batalha de Chancellorsville, "passaram mais de um século se perguntando por quê".

O fato de Lee ser o vencedor significa que alguém é o perdedor, e daqueles que sabem o nome do perdedor, provavelmente 99 por cento pensam que ele o emprestou a um termo que descreve um certo tipo de mulher. Mas eles estão errados, apesar da crença de um contemporâneo de que sua sede se assemelhava a um bordel. O uso antecede em décadas a ascensão à eminência do major-general Joseph Hooker.

Hooker nasceu em 1814 em Hadley, Massachusetts, filho de pai pouco próspero e mãe dominadora. Sua melhor matéria na escola era falar em público. Sua mãe sugeriu que ele fosse para West Point, era grátis. Lá ele fez um trabalho mediano. De volta a casa para férias, ele ficou conhecido na cidade como o Belo Cadete, pois era extremamente bonito, gracioso, elegante, atlético, com uma espessa juba de cabelos loiros. Quando ele deixou o Point, uma admiradora disse que com seu rosto avermelhado, casaco de uniforme azul e calças brancas ele simbolizava a bandeira americana. Comissionado para a artilharia, ele lutou contra os índios na Flórida e serviu com pouca distinção em vários postos. Quando a guerra com o México veio, ele floresceu e foi brilhante, foi promovido três vezes por bravura em ação, invadiu Chapultepec. Na Cidade do México, ele era conhecido entre as señoritas como o Belo Capitão.

A retirada das tropas dos Estados Unidos o levou à Califórnia, onde renunciou ao Exército e comprou uma fazenda de 550 acres perto de Sonoma. Ele cultivou lenha com sucesso indiferente, bebeu e jogou. Quando ficou entediado com a agricultura, vendeu sua casa, construiu estradas, brincou com a política, treinou a milícia local. A eclosão da Guerra Civil o encontrou sem o preço do transporte para o leste, mas um amigo o empalou, enviando-o com dinheiro no bolso e um armário de bebidas bem abastecido para a longa viagem. Ele chegou a tempo de testemunhar a derrota da União na primeira batalha da guerra. Alguém o levou para ver Lincoln e ele disse: “Sr. Presidente, estive em Bull Run outro dia, e não é vaidade da minha parte dizer que sou uma visão maldita melhor general do que qualquer um que você teve nesse campo. ” Lincoln olhou para um homem extraordinariamente bonito e de aparência decidida com um ótimo histórico no México e disse às pessoas que ali estava alguém que parecia saber do que estava falando e parecia perfeitamente capaz de cumprir suas palavras. Hooker recebeu um general de brigadeiro.

Nos Sete Dias ele se saiu maravilhosamente bem, embora sentisse desprezo pela extrema cautela de George McClellan. Richmond poderia e deveria ter sido tomado, declarou ele, falando sobre o comandante do Exército do Potomac: "Ele não apenas não é um soldado, mas também não sabe o que é um soldado". (Hooker sempre foi um crítico e sempre teve uma língua afiada. “Ele é um maldito covarde”, disse ele sobre o general Franz Sigel, “e tem um instinto irresistível de correr, e o manifesta em todas as ocasiões.”) Durante o longo tempo a retirada dos portões da capital confederada, o trabalho defensivo de Hooker foi excelente, e ele fez os rebeldes pagarem por cada passo à frente que deram. “Em cada compromisso, ele parecia sempre saber o que fazer e quando fazer”, escreveu o general James Rusling. Dizia-se que onde Hooker estava, a luta era mais intensa. Ele recebeu uma segunda estrela e foi nomeado major-general, o posto mais alto que o Exército dos Estados Unidos possuía na época.

Em Antietam ele foi agressivo e inspirador, e depois que ele caiu com um ferimento, McClellan escreveu-lhe que se ele não tivesse sido posto fora de serviço, o exército rebelde teria sido destruído. Ele escolheu um apelido que sempre o prendeu, embora sempre não tenha gostado: “As pessoas vão pensar que sou um salteador de estrada ou bandido”. É derivado do erro de um tipógrafo de jornal. O que se pretendia era o título LUTA - JOK HOOKER, mas os travessões foram omitidos.

Como Fighting Joe, se recuperando de seu ferimento em um hospital de Washington, ele presidiu a corte para políticos e impressionou a todos. Quando Ambrose Burnside recebeu o Exército do Potomac, substituindo McClellan, Hooker foi nomeado um dos comandantes de seu corpo. Ele não admirava muito seu novo líder e menos ainda seus planos de atacar Lee em Fredericksburg. Eles eram “absurdos”, disse ele. Ele não conseguia compreender como Marye’s Heights tinha sido selecionado acima de todos os outros locais para o ataque, e quando Burnside fez seus homens cruzarem Rappahannock depois de sofrer graves perdas na travessia, Hooker foi visto como certo. Qualquer um que hoje visite Fredericksburg e fique olhando de cima da cidade entenderá imediatamente por que os confederados que aguardavam disseram uns aos outros que uma galinha não poderia viver nas encostas depois que suas armas abrissem. Mas Burnside lançou suas tropas para a frente. “Oh, grande Deus! Veja como nossos homens, nossos pobres companheiros, estão caindo! ” gritou o major-general Darius Couch. Foi assassinato, não guerra.

Onda após onda foi cortada. A longa colina até Marye’s Heights ficou azul com a morte de Union. Burnside persistiu. Hooker foi até ele e implorou pelo fim das ordens para fazer o impossível, mas Burnside havia perdido a cabeça, dizendo que iria liderar os soldados ele mesmo contra a parede de pedra e a estrada afundada onde apenas a morte o aguardava. Dissuadido de fazê-lo, ele continuou a ordenar aos homens que avançassem. Depois que a noite caiu, os rebeldes desceram em busca de roupas novas e, pela manhã, o campo estava literalmente branco de corpos. Alguém poderia ter subido do rio às alturas, dizia-se, sem nunca tocar a terra.

Depois disso, Burnside tentou um ataque de flanco, mas as estradas foram consideradas intransitáveis ​​e seu movimento atolou no que foi chamado de Marcha da Lama. Era a própria futilidade, humilhante. Ele nunca quis comandar o exército e disse corretamente que não era digno da posição, mas era outra questão saber que Hooker, seu subordinado, o considerava "este desgraçado" de "sacrifício estúpido", "loucura", e “loucuras”. Burnside redigiu uma ordem dispensando Hooker de todos os serviços futuros por ser "culpado de críticas injustas e desnecessárias" e por "falar habitualmente em termos depreciativos". Hooker era, concluiu a ordem, "incapaz de realizar uma comissão importante durante uma crise como a presente".

E se, perguntaram os assessores de Burnside, Hooker desconsiderasse a ordem ou até mesmo levantasse um motim contra ela? Então, ele “balançava antes do pôr-do-sol”, respondeu Burnside. Mas, na realidade, ele não tinha autoridade para emitir tal ordem de destituição e, portanto, não publicada, foi apresentada ao presidente. A resposta de Lincoln foi enviar Burnside a outro lugar e entregar o Exército do Potomac ao Fighting Joe. O movimento não surpreendeu ninguém. “Desde a batalha de Antietam”, disse o New York Tribune, “Hooker tem sido considerado o general inevitável”.

Junto com o comando da força principal da União, Lincoln ofereceu uma carta: "Eu o coloquei à frente do Exército do Potomac. É claro que fiz isso com base no que me parecem razões suficientes. Mesmo assim, acho melhor você saber que existem algumas coisas a respeito das quais não estou satisfeito com você. Acredito que você seja um soldado valente e habilidoso, o que, é claro, gosto. Você tem confiança em si mesmo, o que é uma qualidade valiosa, senão indispensável. Você é ambicioso, o que, dentro de limites razoáveis, faz mais bem do que mal, mas acho que durante o comando do General Burnside no Exército, você se aconselhou com sua ambição e frustrou-o tanto quanto pôde, em que cometeu um grande erro para o país. (…) Ouvi dizer, a ponto de acreditar, que você recentemente disse que tanto o Exército quanto o Governo precisavam de um ditador. Claro que não foi por isso, mas apesar disso, que dei a ordem. Somente os generais que obtiveram sucesso podem estabelecer ditadores. O que lhe peço agora é sucesso militar e arriscarei a ditadura. …

“E agora, cuidado com a precipitação. Cuidado com a precipitação, mas com energia e vigilância insone, siga em frente e nos dê vitórias. ”

“Essa é a carta que um pai escreveria para o filho”, disse Hooker. Era janeiro de 1863. Ele colocou o exército em quartéis de inverno e se preparou para a campanha da primavera.

O que Hooker era capaz de fazer com uma força sombria e desanimada era “mágico”, pensou o General Couch. Ele aprimorou os procedimentos de licenças, concedendo licenças apenas aos homens que demonstrassem eficiência no treinamento. Ele executou exercícios de campo rigidamente disciplinados. Ele insistia em uma boa comida para seus soldados com pão fresco servido quatro vezes por semana e vegetais frescos duas vezes e com a corrupção no comissariado extirpada. Ele consolidou sua cavalaria e transformou em um corpo distinto o que havia sido um agrupamento desorganizado de auxiliares da infantaria. Ele inventou emblemas de corpo com marcas divisionais que fomentavam o espírito de corpo e tornavam cada soldado instantaneamente identificável. Ele acelerou os procedimentos judiciários e fuzilou alguns desertores sem demora, ao mesmo tempo que patrocinava eventos esportivos - jogos de bola, corridas de saco, competições de mastros engraxados, escaladas a bordo de carregadores e mulas. Ele organizou danças em massa - jigs, bobinas, hornpipes. Ele organizou lutas formais de bolas de neve no regimento com oficiais presentes a cavalo e incentivou as reuniões religiosas. As deserções no Exército do Potomac diminuíram drasticamente e menos homens relataram estar doentes.

Visto em suas revisões, inspeções e exercícios, ele apresentou a aparência severa, mas cavalheiresca, do próprio Marte, o deus da guerra, disseram os jornais, enquanto seu grande cavalo branco, o coronel, o carregava, viril, ereto e forte, em no meio de uma enxurrada de oficiais do estado-maior cintilando com renda dourada, uma cavalgada brilhante escoltada pelos vistosos Lanceiros da Filadélfia. Quando o presidente Lincoln veio visitá-lo, ele cavalgou com o general cercado por coronéis e brigadeiros reluzentes e acompanhado por bandos estrondosos e faixas voadoras, o pequeno Tad Lincoln no limite da festa, sua capa de montaria cinza navegando atrás. Dezessete mil cavaleiros tilintaram pela neve em uma exibição colossal de cavalaria, dezenas de milhares de soldados de infantaria seguindo para criar o que parecia ser uma floresta móvel de baionetas. Havia grandes corredores rolantes de peças de artilharia, bandeiras, tambores rolantes, trens de carroças, trombetas, clarins. “Eu tenho o melhor exército do planeta”, disse Fighting Joe. “Eu tenho o melhor exército sobre o qual o sol já brilhou. (…) Se o inimigo não fugir, Deus os ajude. Que Deus tenha misericórdia do General Lee, pois não terei nenhuma. ”

Ele transbordava de confiança, brilhava com ela, enquanto passava com o queixo erguido, passando pelos cavalos brilhantemente preparados e pelas armas brilhantes de seu grande anfitrião. "Se você chegar a Richmond, general ...", disse Lincoln, e Hooker interrompeu: "Com licença, senhor presidente, não há 'se neste caso". Noites ele bebeu e flertou com mulheres como convinha a um soldado arrojado que era solteiro e como era de se esperar, apesar dos sentimentos do oficial de cavalaria Charles Francis Adams Jr., neto e bisneto de presidentes, aquele quartel-general do Exército do Potomac apareceu "uma combinação de bar e bordel".

A primavera estava chegando. Hooker flutuou balões acima das linhas confederadas para espiar suas posições e cavalgou entre seus homens dizendo que os malditos rebeldes não tinham feito e nunca fariam a bala que poderia atingi-lo. Suas procissões através das fileiras de seu exército revigorado incendiaram as tropas ao verem um líder indiscutível de homens e sentirem uma presença poderosa, e em 17 de março ele enviou sua cavalaria em uma incursão contra o inimigo que pela primeira vez na guerra viu Cavaleiros ianques resistem aos cavaleiros de Jeb Stuart. A exaltação encheu o Norte. Dizendo “Eu devo brincar com esses demônios antes de pular”, ele fez demonstrações por toda a Rappahannock e fez fintas e marchas e falsos começos para que os rebeldes gritassem lobo, lobo. Então o lobo saltou.

Por cinquenta milhas os confederados tiveram linhas de defesa e observação e postos de piquete amarrados ao longo do Rappahannock. Na manhã de 29 de abril, Lee acordou com o som de tiros distantes, voltou a dormir e foi acordado por um mensageiro que lhe disse que os ianques estavam vindo abaixo de Fredericksburg. Ele se levantou para dar uma olhada. O verdadeiro golpe estava em outro lugar. Upriver Hooker estava conduzindo os homens com uma força tremenda. Com grande segredo, ele mandou pontões e os cobriu com galhos de pinheiro, de modo que o som dos homens marchando e do ronco das rodas de artilharia fosse abafado e fosse difícil de estimar para quaisquer batedores rebeldes que seus escaramuçadores não conseguissem acertar. Sua cavalaria estava indo para o sul atrás dos confederados, enviada em seu caminho para destruir linhas de telégrafo e ferrovia com sua injunção ecoando nos ouvidos dos comandantes: "Rapidez, audácia e resolução são tudo na guerra." De sua parte, Hooker renegou o licor assim que conseguiu que suas tropas cruzassem o Rappahannock.

Rapidamente, com certeza, seis corpos do Exército do Potomac cruzaram o rio sem contestação antes de girar em um grande movimento de varredura habilmente protegido por colinas dos cavaleiros de Jeb Stuart. Eles constituíam a ala direita poderosamente ameaçadora de um poderoso exército. Abaixo de Fredericksburg, o corpo de quarenta mil homens comandado por John Sedgwick, cuja travessia havia despertado Lee, tomou posição. Aqui estava a ala esquerda. Hooker teve como objetivo acertar os rebeldes, colocar Lee entre o martelo e a bigorna, varrê-lo contra Sedgwick e esmagá-lo. Quase sem sofrer baixas com sua força principal, e com perdas mínimas para sua força diversiva, o comandante da União tirou a vantagem de Lee de manter uma linha de rio. Ele roubou uma marcha, superou seu oponente em um movimento clássico que uma autoridade britânica observadora comparou às travessias de Hannibal sobre o Ródano, Napoleão sobre o Pó e Danúbio, Wellington sobre o Douro e Adour. Dizia-se que Hooker tinha feito exatamente emular e igualar o desempenho de Alexandre o Grande em Jhelum.

Ele empurrou seus homens. Eles cantaram:

As colunas principais cruzaram o Rapidan, a subsidiária da Rappahannock, e se espalharam para dentro e para fora e para os arredores do que por gerações foi chamado de The Wilderness, um patch de aproximadamente 160 quilômetros quadrados onde antes o minério de ferro tinha sido fundido com as florestas cortadas para baixo para combustível. As árvores altas desaparecidas foram substituídas por um emaranhado de arbustos de louro e silvas e arbustos baixos e raquíticos de carvalhos eriçados. Para atravessar a vegetação rasteira, o homem muitas vezes precisava virar de lado. A visibilidade raramente chegava a trinta metros. Era da mais vital necessidade sair daquele pântano sombrio, e os grandes canhões avançavam apressadamente por trilhas estreitas para abrir terreno. Nunca antes o Exército do Potomac estivera tão bem posicionado, nunca com tanta força e estilo, nunca melhor situado para destruir a Confederação. Por meses o Fighting Joe disse que pegaria a força de Lee em suas mãos e a esmagaria daquele jeito - e ele fecharia sua mão com firmeza. O Exército da Virgínia do Norte, ele havia dito, era sua "comida e bebida". Agora parecia que sim. Os homens achavam que sim. Houve, escreveu o general Daniel Sickles, "entusiasmo irreprimível das tropas pelo major-general Hooker, que foi evidenciado em aplausos prolongados e calorosos".

Headquarters in The Wilderness would be the Chancellor family’s house, a large brick mansion in one of the area’s few clearings. It and its outbuildings constituted the town of Chancellorsville. It was eleven miles west of Fredericksburg. Hooker had with him some seventy-five thousand men, which number, combined with the forty thousand or so with Sedgwick and the seventeen thousand cavalry rampaging about, meant he was superior to Lee by a ratio of two to one. In addition, he had the Rebel chieftain sandwiched in. His artillery was far superior, and his supplies vastly greater. They had him, said the officers, cavorting about the Chancellor house and laughing and slapping one another on the back. “All was couleur de rose !” wrote a Union general. The enlisted men agreed. When General Couch, second in command, rode into Chancellorsville, he found “hilarity pervading the camps the soldiers, while chopping wood and lighting fires, were singing merry songs and indulging in peppery jokes.” It seemed to Couch that night, April 30, that “General Hooker had ninety chances in his favor to ten against him.” Hooker said, “Eighty chances in a hundred to win.”

In front was the Rebel army, whose leaders were uncertain where the main blow would be from—Stonewall Jackson thought it would come from Sedgwick—and behind were masses of cattle herded along to provide meat for the drive upon and occupation of Richmond, and high in the air sailed the Union observation balloons. Fighting Joe issued a proclamation to his troops: “Our enemy must either ingloriously fly, or … give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him.” He told a reporter: “The rebel army is the legitimate property of the Army of the Potomac. They may as well pack up their haversacks and make for Richmond.”

When daylight of May 1 came, the forward units prepared to move upon Lee. But no orders came down from headquarters. The morning wore on. Then the Yankees saw they wouldn’t have to go seek the Rebels, for the Rebels were there. Lee had decided that it was Hooker to his west, not Sedgwick to his south, who constituted the main threat. Some ten thousand Confederates arrived on Hooker’s front, with others strung out on the Fredericksburg road. They attacked. (Early in the war the Confederate artilleryman E. Porter Alexander asked Col. Joseph Ives, who knew Lee, if the man possessed audacity, and Ives said, “Alexander, his very name might be Audacity!”)

The troops potted away at one another, the Union lines backing off in some cases and in others pushing the Confederates away and then giving chase. To the Yankee officers on the scene the situation seemed eminently handleable. They were dealing with hardly more than enemy skirmishers in a relatively minor battle of encounter, a meeting engagement, against a vastly outnumbered and outgunned foe. Behind them, they knew, were overwhelming resources of men and equipment. They held a commanding and favorable position on high, clear ground, from which, once they brushed aside the Rebel threat, they could surge forward and take Fredericksburg, take Richmond, end the war.

There then arrived that incomprehensible moment understood neither then nor now. Messengers came from Hooker at the Chancellor house. They bore orders from the major general commanding. Pull back. Withdraw. Retreat.

But that was unthinkable, impossible, Gen. Darius Couch and Gen. Gouverneur Warren agreed. It would be absolute madness. They sent a messenger back to Hooker. The men returned in half an hour saying it was confirmed that the front units must run back into The Wilderness. That would mean giving up the freedom of offensive maneuver gained by the brilliant early moves it meant losing all weighted momentum, forward thrust, and initiative in favor of penning up the army in a cramped prison it guaranteed complete ruination of the men’s morale. Such an order, Warren said to Couch, could not be complied with. They must disobey it.

When the order reached Gen. Henry Slocum, he refused to believe it. “You are a damned liar!” he said to Hooker’s messenger, the Washington Augustus Roebling of later Brooklyn Bridge fame. “Nobody but a crazy man would give such an order when we have victory in sight! I shall go and see General Hooker myself, and if I find out that you have spoken falsely, you shall be shot on my return.”

Within an hour or so he was back, and scowling at Roebling, he ordered a turnaround. The others did the same. Generals Meade, Hancock, Sykes, Couch, and Warren all were equally stunned and in complete disagreement with what Hooker was doing, but they could not disobey. Watching the columns of retreating men, Couch remembered, an “observer required no wizard to tell him that the high expectations which had animated them only a few hours ago had given place to disappointment.” He went to Hooker, who before had been “all vigor, energy, and activity.” Now he found a man to whose spirit something terrible had happened. Ghastly depression had seized him, deepest melancholy. He seemed in a crumpled trance, helpless, lethargic, entirely demoralized. “It’s all right, Couch,” he said. “I’ve got Lee just where I want him.”

It was simply appalling that he could permit himself to say such a thing, Couch wrote—“too much.” Couch left. “I retired from his presence with the belief that my commanding general was a whipped man.”

From the horrified bewilderment of the generals there seeped down past the colonels and captains to the corporals and privates the knowledge that something was terribly wrong. All that night and into the following day the Army of the Potomac imitated its leader, huddling into itself in stunned disablement and waiting for a blow to fall. During the afternoon clouds of dust were seen on the horizon, and Hooker permitted himself to say that perhaps Lee was running. But the despondent and wavering air did not leave him, nor the careworn and anxious look on his face. It didn’t seem like Lee, he said. Hooker stayed within his own lines, not venturing to go out and check.

Lee was not running. Outnumbered twice over, he had split his army into three segments, breaking wholesale all rules of war. A portion was held at Fredericksburg to restrain Sedgwick, a portion stayed on the outskirts of The Wilderness that Hooker had vacated, and a third portion under Stonewall Jackson made a forced march by circular route to hit Hooker on his far flank to the west. As dusk arrived on the evening of May 2, when the Union forces there were preparing dinner, animals—rabbits, deer—began bounding out of the woods. The Federals were wondering what it meant when the answer burst upon them. Jackson’s men came roaring out. It was they who had raised the clouds of dust. Almost as one man the right wing of Hooker’s army turned and ran. Muskets were left behind, and the big guns, pointed the wrong way, also.

For the first time Fighting Joe came alive. He mounted his white horse, Colonel, and put himself at the head of his old division and managed to stall the enemy move. His groupings were shaken and out of balance, but the situation yet offered great opportunities. He had a massive, cohesive force between two segments of a force that had been smaller than his even when united, and each was open to annihilation. In addition, the opponents on his western flank had lost their leader, for Stonewall Jackson was down, hit by shots that would prove mortal. So Hooker had the possibility yet to snatch victory from the Confederates.

But it was beyond him. Dazed stupefaction possessed him, collapsed listlessness. Urged to mount an attack that would crush Lee’s depleted force on the Chancellorsville-Fredericksburg road—it would take half an hour, an hour at most, General Sickles thought —he declined even to try, saying he could not conjure up soldiers and ammunition. Plenty of both were readily available. He had turned from the hound into the hare, and the hare went to cover.

He sent order after order to Sedgwick to come with his one corps and save his commander’s six. It was pitiful, the appeal to Sedgwick, pathetic. And irrational. To get to him, Sedgwick would have to get over the entrenched Confederate force at Fredericksburg even before taking on the Rebels on The Wilderness outskirts. Hooker sat immobile. It was as if Lee were writing his lines and moving, or declining to move, his pieces on the chessboard.

Jeb Stuart took over from Stonewall Jackson on the far flank. That offered possibilities. What did a lifelong cavalryman know about infantry tactics? But Jeb with the banjo player who always accompanied him went about singing, “Old Joe Hooker, won’t you come out The Wilderness, out The Wilderness?” to the tune of “Old Dan Tucker.” Hooker did not come out. Worse, he contracted his lines even more, giving up while under no pressure at all a vital clearing where his artillery had a powerful position. Into the vacuum swarmed the Rebels under Stuart and those from along the Fredericksburg road under Lee. Joined together, they held Hooker rimmed in with his back to the Rappahannock. More appeals to Sedgwick went out.

On the third day of the battle, May 3, Rebel artillery found the veranda of the Chancellor house. A portico pillar came down to strike Hooker. He was unconscious for five minutes before being gotten up. His side was badly bruised and gave him great pain. People wondered if he should give up the command, but the doctors did not suggest it, and he did not offer it himself. At times he lay huddled in a blanket on the floor. Sedgwick at Fredericksburg did what he could, battling on even terms with the Confederates there, but the great force based on Chancellorsville did nothing. At midnight on May 4 Hooker assembled his corps commanders. “It was seen by the most casual observer that he had made up his mind to retreat,” Couch remembered. He asked his subordinates to consider the matter and withdrew from them.

They decided they did not want to throw in the towel, believing that by a spirited advance the day could yet be saved. Then he told them he was ordering it. They would run for the Rappahannock. “What was the use of calling us together at this time of night when he intended to retreat anyhow?” Gen. John Reynolds asked. The Yankee army made for the river.

They got across and cut loose the pontoons behind them. In Washington the newspaperman Noah Brooks, a friend of the President, saw the White House reaction. “The sight of his face and figure was frightful,” Brooks wrote of Lincoln. “He seemed stricken with death. Almost tottering to a chair, he sat down. His face was of the same color as the wall behind him—not pale, not even sallow, but gray, like ashes.” Secretary of War Stanton for a time was fearful that Lincoln would commit suicide.

For a few weeks Lee rested and refitted his army and then headed north. Hooker trailed along in parallel course, avoiding all contact. Now that the Rebels were away, he told Lincoln, he could take Richmond. Lincoln told him that Lee’s army, not Richmond, was his objective point. The Rebel columns stretched out for many miles on the thin roads, and Lincoln wrote: “The animal must be very slim somewhere. Could you not break him?”

But Hooker could not—could not even try. He resigned the command of the Army of the Potomac, and on three days’ notice George Meade had to conduct the Battle of Gettysburg. Hooker asked if he could have his old division back for the fight, but Meade would not have him. After that he was sent out to Grant in the West and he did very well in a subordinate position, as he did later under Sherman at Atlanta. He left the army after the war and died in 1879. Years later a statue of him was erected high on Boston’s Beacon Hill. There were those who questioned its construction. “Never since it was there placed have I passed the front of the State House without feeling a sense of wrong and insult at the presence, opposite the head of Park Street, of the equestrian statue of Hooker,” wrote Charles Francis Adams, Jr. “That statue I look upon as an opprobrium cast upon every genuine Massachusetts man who served in the Civil War.” But there he is on Colonel, both with head slightly turned, looking into space, Fighting Joe’s face sternly set, serious and heroic.

So, what happened to Hooker at Chancellorsville? How could it happen? He was a highly experienced officer doing what he’d been trained to do in a position he delighted to hold. This matter he faced was, after all, his stock-in-trade. He knew this stuff. It was within logical possibility, even probability, that he would end the Civil War two years early, be the savior of the Union, succeed Lincoln as President, have his statue not only under questionable circumstances in Boston but in every Northern city of the United States.

Yet none of these things happened. Some blamed Hooker’s recent teetotaling for his loss of swagger. General Couch noted that “he abstained … when it would have been far better for him to continue in his usual habit.” Other people believed he was a coward pure and simple. “When a general has done his very best and is defeated fairly and squarely, he is entitled to a nervous collapse,” wrote Washington Roebling, who carried the incredible withdrawal order to General Slocum and was threatened with being shot for having done so. “But when a man breaks down before the battle has even begun, he does not deserve the name of soldier.” Was Joe Hooker a coward? It certainly didn’t seem so when he sat Colonel unflinchingly at the Seven Days and Antietam with Confederate bullets singing all about him. But what exactly is cowardice, or its opposite? In his Anatomy of Courage Lord Moran, Churchill’s physician, discusses what he learned on this subject during service as a frontline medical officer in the First World War and during his travels with the prime minister in the Second. What it comes down to, he says, is that every soldier, of every rank, has a bank account. It is bravery that is on deposit there. Sometimes the capital is slowly paid out bit by bit. Sometimes there is a tremendous withdrawal and almost all is taken out in a sudden draft that can threaten to close the account.

What was involved with Hooker’s collapse was far more complex than mere lack of bravery. Involved were the dynamics of sending soldiers into battle. That has to do with ordering up death. Enormous stress attends, and great unavoidable uncertainties. The matter has to do with character, and character in an officer, said the great Prussian strategist Schlieffen, is the first thing. Did Burnside show character at Fredericksburg as he continued to push men up against Marye’s Heights when to do so was clearly a hopeless endeavor? It hardly seems so. Hooker’s reversal of Burnside’s spendthrift actions is seen in his refusal to up the ante even a little despite holding all the high cards. He just couldn’t get himself to push the chips into the pile.

Unable to climax his great effort, unable or unwilling to deliver the knockout punch, he dismally failed and shuffled off the stage. The Union got somebody else. (And the somebody else imitated him to a certain degree at Gettysburg. After repelling Lee, Meade failed to follow up. Told that an order to advance would utterly crush the retreating Rebels, Meade hesitated. He would have gone through them like a knife through cheese, said Lee’s artillery commander E. Porter Alexander, but Meade sat. Lincoln pleaded with him, and his response was to submit his resignation, which Lincoln refused to accept, and he hesitated some more, and Lee got away.)

History went on. Hooker was remembered at all, as the star of an inexplicable and incomprehensible play. His failure, wrote Francis Fisher Browne in 1914, was “much discussed but never satisfactorily explained.” They’re still trying to figure it out, wrote Ernest B. Furgurson in 1992.

“Doubleday,” Hooker said to Gen. Abner Doubleday as the two rode toward Gettysburg from the Chancellorsville debacle, “I was not hurt by a shell and I was not drunk. For once I lost confidence in Hooker, and that is all there was to it.” “In war,” Karl von Clausewitz wrote long before warm weather came and the blossoms showed along the Rappahannock in 1863, “everything is simple, but the simple is very difficult.”


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.


General Joseph &ldquoFighting Joe&rdquo Hooker

Joseph Hooker was a United States Army Officer who achieved the rank of Major General in the Union Army during the US Civil War. He earned the nickname &ldquoFighting Joe&rdquo through a simple clerical error when a reporter used it to report on the Battle of Williamsburg. Hooker hated the name, but it stuck. His opposing general in the Confederate Army, Robert E. Lee even used the name to mock Hooker.

During the Civil War, Hooker&rsquos army was stationed in Falmouth, Virginia. His unit was notorious for partying and hard-drinking, and a contemporary cavalry officer, Charles F. Adams Jr., described the station was a combination of a &ldquobar-room and a brothel.&rdquo It is this reference to the station being like a bordello that fueled the popular legend that Hooker&rsquos last name is responsible for the use of hooker to refer to a sex worker. He used cronyism and connection to high ranking officials to get away with his riotous army encampment. Despite some legends, historical records do not seem to indicate that Hooker was a drinker and partyer himself, he just tolerated such behavior among his soldiers.

A photograph of General Hooker atop a horse. Wikimedia

Despite the tantalizing hints of etymology in Hooker&rsquos name, it is unlikely that he is the source of the term. The use of hooker to denote a sex worker first appeared in print in 1845. Hooker didn&rsquot become a noteworthy public figure until the 1860s. However, it is entirely possible that contemporary rumors about Hooker&rsquos behavior in the 1860s helped increase the popularity of the term due to incorrect assumptions that he was, in fact, responsible. When this happens, it is referred to as a false etymology, meaning a common misinterpretation of a word&rsquos origin.


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.


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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Assista o vídeo: Virginia Mills, Project Officer, Joseph Hooker Correspondence Project


Comentários:

  1. Morogh

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