Hooker, Joseph

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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