Major General Joseph Hooker

"Fighting Joe" Hooker's I Corps initiated the Battle of Antietam at about 6:00 AM with an attack on "Stonewall" Jackson's wing near the Dunker Church. The Union troops charged through a cornfield (The Cornfield) on Jackson's center and a woods (West Woods) on Jackson's left. After a see-saw battle, John B. Hood's Texans, from James Longstreet's command, interrupted while preparing their first hot breakfast in days, rallied to drive the Union troops back. Hooker was wounded in the foot and replaced by George Meade.

Hooker succeeded Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac in January 1863. In his letter of appointment, President Lincoln wrote:

...You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds does good rather than harm...I have heard...of your recently saying that both the army and the government needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. 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 submitted his resignation on 27 June 1863, just prior to the battle at Gettysburg, and he was replaced by Meade on 28 June. The dissatisfaction of Lincoln, Henry Halleck, and Edwin M. Stanton with his performance at Chancellorsville, where he had outmaneuvered Robert E. Lee but did not press the advantage, and what Hooker perceived as interference from Halleck during his movement to shadow the Army of Northern Virginia during its second invasion of the North, prompted his action.

There is some controversy as to how Joe Hooker received his nickname. One story has it that a typographer, in setting the picture caption of Hooker in battle, "Fighting--Joe Hooker," omitted the hyphen, and hence the name.

Ref.: Foote, S., The Civil War: A Narrative, v. 2. Vintage Books, NY, 1986.


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Photo credit: Library of Congress

Created 15 SEP 1999; Modified 24 JUL 2014
http://schwartz.eng.auburn.edu/ACW/ant.docs/hooker.html