Skip to main content
Select Source:

Hooker, Joseph

Hooker, Joseph (1814–1879), 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 “Fighting Joe” when the newspaper headline “Fighting—Joe Hooker” was in error printed as “Fighting 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.]

Bibliography

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

John F. Marszalek

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hooker, Joseph." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hooker, Joseph." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hooker-joseph

"Hooker, Joseph." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved November 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hooker-joseph

Hooker, Joseph

Joseph Hooker, 1814–79, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Hadley, Mass. After fighting the Seminole and serving in the Mexican War, Hooker resigned from the army in 1853 and was for several years a farmer in California. At the outbreak of the Civil War he became a brigadier general of volunteers. He distinguished himself in subordinate commands in the Peninsular campaign, at the second battle of Bull Run, and in the Antietam campaign, and was made a brigadier general in the regular army in Sept., 1862. After the battle of Fredericksburg, Hooker severely criticized Ambrose Burnside, whom he succeeded (Jan., 1863) in command of the Army of the Potomac.

In Apr., 1863, he advanced against Robert E. Lee, but in the resulting battle of Chancellorsville, he failed to justify his nickname of "Fighting Joe." Hooker followed Lee closely in the subsequent Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, but, angered at General Halleck's refusal to send him reinforcements from Harpers Ferry, he asked on June 28, 1863, to be relieved. Hooker ably commanded reinforcements from the East in the Chattanooga campaign, and in 1864 he fought in the Atlanta campaign until General Sherman passed him over as successor to John B. McPherson.

See biography by W. H. Hebert (1944).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hooker, Joseph." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hooker, Joseph." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hooker-joseph

"Hooker, Joseph." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hooker-joseph