Major General Joseph Hooker (USV)

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201010-Joseph-Hooker.jpg


Major General Joseph Hooker (USV)

Joseph Hooker was born 13 November 1814 in Hadley, Massachusetts. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Artillery.

His first assignment was fighting in Florida during the Second Seminole War. During the Mexican-American War, he served in staff positions in the campaigns of both Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. He received brevet promotions for his staff leadership and gallantry; to captain at Monterrey, major at National Bridge, and lieutenant colonel at Chapultepec. His reputation as a ladies' man began in Mexico, where local girls referred to him as the "Handsome Captain".

His reputation damaged when he testified against Scott in the court-martial for insubordination of Gideon J. Pillow, Hooker resigned his commission in 1853. He struggled with peacetime life, passing his time with liquor, ladies, and gambling. Settling in Sonoma County, California, Hooker became a farmer and land developer, and unsuccessfully ran for election to the California legislature. In 1858, he wrote to Secretary of War John B. Floyd to request his name "be presented to the president Buchanan as a candidate for a lieutenant colonelcy," but nothing came of his request.

When the Civil War broke out, Hooker requested a commission but was rejected. He had to borrow money to travel east and after witnessing the Union Army defeat at the Battle of Bull Run, Hooker wrote to President Abraham Lincoln complaining of military mismanagement, promoting his own qualifications, and again requesting a commission. He was appointed brigadier general of volunteers in August 1861.

During the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, Hooker commanded the 2nd Division of the III Corps of the Army of the Potomac. He made a good name as a combat leader, eventually earning, due to a clerical error by a typesetter, the nickname "Fighting Joe". Both he and Phil Kearny unsuccessfully urged Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan to counterattack the Confederates during the Seven Days Battles and Hooker openly criticized McClellan's failure to capture Richmond. "He is not only not a soldier, but he does not know what soldiership is."

On 26 July, Hooker was promoted to major general. Following the Second Battle of Bull Run, he replaced Irvin McDowell as commander of the III Corps, Army of Virgina, soon redesignated I Corps when it reintegrated with the Army of the Potomac. At the Battle of Antietam, Hooker launched the first assault of the bloodiest day in American history. He was forced from the field with a foot wound and afterward asserted that the battle would have been a decisive Union victory if he had managed to stay on the field.

Lincoln replaced McClellan with Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Hooker briefly took command of the V Corps, but was then promoted to "Grand Division" command over both the III and V Corps. Hooker derided Burnside's "preposterous" plan to assault the fortified height behind Fredericksburg in December 1862. His men suffered serious losses in fourteen futile assaults ordered by Burnside over Hooker's protests. Following the disasterous Battle of Fredericksburg, during the humiliating Mud March, Hooker described Burnside as a "wretch ... of blundering sacrifice." Burnside drafted an order for the president's approval for the wholesale purge of his subordinates, but Lincoln instead replaced him with Hooker on 26 January 1863.

Hooker had been quoted saying that "Nothing would go right until we had a dictator, and the sooner the better." Lincoln wrote Hooker saying, "Only those generals who gain success can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship."

Hooker restored the morale of his soldiers and implemented many changes to the Army of the Potomac including many sanitary and dietary improvements, corps badges, and combining the cavalry into a single corps. Several command changes were also made. "Left Grand Division" commander Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin and II Corps commander Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner were relieved of command. Burnside's old IX Corps was detached and sent to the Virginia Peninsula under Brig. Gen. William F. Smith, suspect because of his political maneuvering against Burnside on behalf of McClellan. Hooker asked the War Department to send him disgraced Brig. Gen. Charles Stone for the position of chief of staff but was denied.

However, Hooker set a bad example for the conduct of generals and their staffs and subordinates. His headquarters in Falmouth, Virginia, was described as being a combination of a "bar-room and a brothel". He built a loyal network of political cronies including Maj. Gen. Dan Butterfield for his chief of staff and notorious political general Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles for command of III Corps.

Hooker planned to send Brig. Gen. George Stoneman on a cavalry raid deep behind the enemy distracting him and disrupting supply lines. He would then pin down Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Fredericksburg while taking the bulk of the Army of the Potomac on a flanking march to strike Lee in the rear.

However, Stoneman's raid met none of its objectives. The flanking march went well enough, but when he attempted to advance with three columns, Stonewall Jackson's surprise attack on 1 May 1863 pushed Hooker back and caused him to withdraw. Hooker pulled back to Chancellorsville and waited for Lee to attack. Lee split his army to deal with Hooker at Chancellorsville and Maj. Gen. John Sedwick's VI Corps at Fredericksburg. Then he split Jackson's Corps off on its own flanking march which hit Hooker's exposed right flank and routed the XI Corps. Hooker was knocked out of action with a concussion but refused to turn over temporary command to Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch until late in the day.

As Lee moved to invade the North, Hooker's initial plan was to seize Richmond, but Lincoln vetoed the plan. When a dispute arose over the status of defensive forces in Harpers Ferry, Hooker impulsively offered his resignation, which was quickly accepted by Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck. Maj. Gen. George Meade took command of the Army of the Potomac just three days before the Battle of Gettysburg.

Hooker was transferred west with the XI and XII Corps of the Army of the Potomac to reinforced the Army of the Cumberland around Chattanooga, Tennessee. He played an important role at the Battle of Lookout Mountain and in Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's decisive victory at Chattanooga. However, he was disappointed when Grant's official report credited Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's contribution over Hooker's.

He led his corps, XX Corps, competently in the 1864 Atlanta Campaign under Sherman. He asked to be relieved before the capture of Atlanta when former XI Corps commander Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard was promoted to command the Army of the Tennessee following the death of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson. Hooker had seniority over Howard, but he also blamed Howard for his defeat at Chancellorsville. Supposedly, Lincoln attempted to intercede with Sherman, but Sherman threatened to resign if the president insisted on Hooker instead of Howard.

Hooker the commanded the Northern Department headquarterd in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1 October 1864 until the end of the war. While there, he married Olivia Groesbeck, sister of Congressman William S. Groesbeck. He led Lincoln's funeral procession in Springfield, Illinois, on 4 May 1865. He commanded the Department of the East and then the Department of the Lakes. His postbellum life was marred by poor health and he was partially paralyzed by a stroke. He died on 31 October 1879 in Garden City, New York.

201010-Joseph-Hooker-Comparison.jpg
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Re: "He is not only not a soldier, but he does not know what soldiership is."

This was written by an angry Hooker a few days after Williamsburg. Hooker flung his men into the entrenchments at Williamsburg and had them bloodily repulsed. Kearny then did the same (and said similar things, but was also scathing of Hooker). Meanwhile Hancock had turned the enemies lines and forced them to quit their position. McClellan's initial report sent 2200 hrs of the 5th was effusive of praise for Hancock, but of Hooker only said that he feared "Hooker has lost considerably on our left". This placed Hooker (and Kearny) in a rage;

"Justice for my men requires that the truth be told even it should implicate our commander. McClellan does not even seem to know what is going on."

Obviously Hooker thought he should be praised and made a major-general, and was angry at McClellan for not doing so. On the 10th, Hooker submitted his own exculpatory report. A copy was sent directly to Senator Henry Wilson for circulation to the press. Essentially Hooker was lobbying for a major-generalship, and later (when he was a major-general) asked for his seniority to be backdated to Williamsburg, as he considered he deserved. He later converted to be a major McClellan fan, especially after McClellan got Hooker a brigadier-generalship in the regular army (vice Mansfield, killed). Perhaps it's best to see Hooker's criticism of McClellan as a way of advancing his own status...
 
Joined
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Location
Southwest Mississippi
Joseph Hooker was born 13 November 1814 in Hadley, Massachusetts. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Artillery.

His reputation as a ladies' man began in Mexico, where local girls referred to him as the "Handsome Captain".



However, Hooker set a bad example for the conduct of generals and their staffs and subordinates. His headquarters in Falmouth, Virginia, was described as being a combination of a "bar-room and a brothel". He built a loyal network of political cronies including Maj. Gen. Dan Butterfield for his chief of staff and notorious political general Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles for command of III Corps
Great colorization and biography.

I didn't expect him to look so "clean cut".

Sickles was also in the middle of this ?

Laughing out loud.

:bounce:

Why does that not surprise me ?
 

Dave DuBrucq

Corporal
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Location
Tennessee
View attachment 382659

Major General Joseph Hooker (USV)

Joseph Hooker was born 13 November 1814 in Hadley, Massachusetts. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Artillery.

His first assignment was fighting in Florida during the Second Seminole War. During the Mexican-American War, he served in staff positions in the campaigns of both Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. He received brevet promotions for his staff leadership and gallantry; to captain at Monterrey, major at National Bridge, and lieutenant colonel at Chapultepec. His reputation as a ladies' man began in Mexico, where local girls referred to him as the "Handsome Captain".

His reputation damaged when he testified against Scott in the court-martial for insubordination of Gideon J. Pillow, Hooker resigned his commission in 1853. He struggled with peacetime life, passing his time with liquor, ladies, and gambling. Settling in Sonoma County, California, Hooker became a farmer and land developer, and unsuccessfully ran for election to the California legislature. In 1858, he wrote to Secretary of War John B. Floyd to request his name "be presented to the president Buchanan as a candidate for a lieutenant colonelcy," but nothing came of his request.

When the Civil War broke out, Hooker requested a commission but was rejected. He had to borrow money to travel east and after witnessing the Union Army defeat at the Battle of Bull Run, Hooker wrote to President Abraham Lincoln complaining of military mismanagement, promoting his own qualifications, and again requesting a commission. He was appointed brigadier general of volunteers in August 1861.

During the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, Hooker commanded the 2nd Division of the III Corps of the Army of the Potomac. He made a good name as a combat leader, eventually earning, due to a clerical error by a typesetter, the nickname "Fighting Joe". Both he and Phil Kearny unsuccessfully urged Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan to counterattack the Confederates during the Seven Days Battles and Hooker openly criticized McClellan's failure to capture Richmond. "He is not only not a soldier, but he does not know what soldiership is."

On 26 July, Hooker was promoted to major general. Following the Second Battle of Bull Run, he replaced Irvin McDowell as commander of the III Corps, Army of Virgina, soon redesignated I Corps when it reintegrated with the Army of the Potomac. At the Battle of Antietam, Hooker launched the first assault of the bloodiest day in American history. He was forced from the field with a foot wound and afterward asserted that the battle would have been a decisive Union victory if he had managed to stay on the field.

Lincoln replaced McClellan with Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Hooker briefly took command of the V Corps, but was then promoted to "Grand Division" command over both the III and V Corps. Hooker derided Burnside's "preposterous" plan to assault the fortified height behind Fredericksburg in December 1862. His men suffered serious losses in fourteen futile assaults ordered by Burnside over Hooker's protests. Following the disasterous Battle of Fredericksburg, during the humiliating Mud March, Hooker described Burnside as a "wretch ... of blundering sacrifice." Burnside drafted an order for the president's approval for the wholesale purge of his subordinates, but Lincoln instead replaced him with Hooker on 26 January 1863.

Hooker had been quoted saying that "Nothing would go right until we had a dictator, and the sooner the better." Lincoln wrote Hooker saying, "Only those generals who gain success can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship."

Hooker restored the morale of his soldiers and implemented many changes to the Army of the Potomac including many sanitary and dietary improvements, corps badges, and combining the cavalry into a single corps. Several command changes were also made. "Left Grand Division" commander Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin and II Corps commander Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner were relieved of command. Burnside's old IX Corps was detached and sent to the Virginia Peninsula under Brig. Gen. William F. Smith, suspect because of his political maneuvering against Burnside on behalf of McClellan. Hooker asked the War Department to send him disgraced Brig. Gen. Charles Stone for the position of chief of staff but was denied.

However, Hooker set a bad example for the conduct of generals and their staffs and subordinates. His headquarters in Falmouth, Virginia, was described as being a combination of a "bar-room and a brothel". He built a loyal network of political cronies including Maj. Gen. Dan Butterfield for his chief of staff and notorious political general Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles for command of III Corps.

Hooker planned to send Brig. Gen. George Stoneman on a cavalry raid deep behind the enemy distracting him and disrupting supply lines. He would then pin down Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Fredericksburg while taking the bulk of the Army of the Potomac on a flanking march to strike Lee in the rear.

However, Stoneman's raid met none of its objectives. The flanking march went well enough, but when he attempted to advance with three columns, Stonewall Jackson's surprise attack on 1 May 1863 pushed Hooker back and caused him to withdraw. Hooker pulled back to Chancellorsville and waited for Lee to attack. Lee split his army to deal with Hooker at Chancellorsville and Maj. Gen. John Sedwick's VI Corps at Fredericksburg. Then he split Jackson's Corps off on its own flanking march which hit Hooker's exposed right flank and routed the XI Corps. Hooker was knocked out of action with a concussion but refused to turn over temporary command to Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch until late in the day.

As Lee moved to invade the North, Hooker's initial plan was to seize Richmond, but Lincoln vetoed the plan. When a dispute arose over the status of defensive forces in Harpers Ferry, Hooker impulsively offered his resignation, which was quickly accepted by Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck. Maj. Gen. George Meade took command of the Army of the Potomac just three days before the Battle of Gettysburg.

Hooker was transferred west with the XI and XII Corps of the Army of the Potomac to reinforced the Army of the Cumberland around Chattanooga, Tennessee. He played an important role at the Battle of Lookout Mountain and in Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's decisive victory at Chattanooga. However, he was disappointed when Grant's official report credited Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's contribution over Hooker's.

He led his corps, XX Corps, competently in the 1864 Atlanta Campaign under Sherman. He asked to be relieved before the capture of Atlanta when former XI Corps commander Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard was promoted to command the Army of the Tennessee following the death of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson. Hooker had seniority over Howard, but he also blamed Howard for his defeat at Chancellorsville. Supposedly, Lincoln attempted to intercede with Sherman, but Sherman threatened to resign if the president insisted on Hooker instead of Howard.

Hooker the commanded the Northern Department headquarterd in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1 October 1864 until the end of the war. While there, he married Olivia Groesbeck, sister of Congressman William S. Groesbeck. He led Lincoln's funeral procession in Springfield, Illinois, on 4 May 1865. He commanded the Department of the East and then the Department of the Lakes. His postbellum life was marred by poor health and he was partially paralyzed by a stroke. He died on 31 October 1879 in Garden City, New York.

View attachment 382660
Very interesting. I look forward to more on Hooker.
 

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
As far as advancing his own status, he married a Governor's daughter. Now that has got to be some interesting table-talk on Holidays of merriment and joy. "I would like to toast this one for....".
Lubliner.
 

MichaelWinicki

Private
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
I oscillate on Hooker being average or being a good general.

He seemed to be able to inspire while also having a flair for organization.

He could be a competent strategic thinker.

And then you have his questionable or worse moments like Chancellorsville after he started getting units across the river.

I don't know what he was thinking initiating combat the morning of September 17th, 1862 without coordinating with Mansfield.
 

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