Fighting Joe Hooker

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 7, 1863

This site features all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These newspapers can yield unique insights in the war, as they were created by eye-witnesses to the events depicted. You can watch history unfold before your eyes, week by week.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)

 

David Porter

Porter and McClernand

Wall Street

Wall Street

General Hooker

General Hooker Takes Command

Gun Boats

Gun Boats

Torpedoes

Civil War Torpedoes

Fredericksburg Poem

Battle of Fredericksburg Poem

War Atrocities

Atrocities of War

Fighting Joe Hooker

Fighting Joe Hooker

Monitor Sinking

Monitor "Weehawken" in Storm

Chivalry

Chivalry

Arkansas Post

Battle of Arkansas Post

River Torpedoes

River Torpedoes

Lavinia Warren

P. T. Barnum's "Miss Lavinia Warren

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 7, 1863.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

93

MAJOR-GENERAL JOSEPH HOOKER, THE NEW COMMANDER OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
[PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRADY.]

MAJOR-GENERAL HOOKER.

WE publish herewith a portrait of MAJOR-GENERAL JOSEPH HOOKER, who has just been appointed to the command of the Army of the Potomac, in lieu of General Burnside.

Major-General Joseph Hooker was born in Massachusetts about the year 1817, and is consequently about 45 years of age. He entered West Point in 1833, and graduated in 1837, standing No. 28 in a class which included Generals Benham, Williams, Sedgwick, etc., of the Union army, and Generals Bragg, Mackall, and Early of the rebel forces. At the outbreak of the war with Mexico he accompanied Brigadier-General Hamer as Aid-de-camp, and was brevetted Captain for gallant conduct in several conflicts at Monterey. In March, 1847, he was appointed Assistant Adjutant-General, with the rank of Captain. At the National Bridge he distinguished himself, and was brevetted Major; and at Chapultepec he again attracted attention by his gallant and meritorious conduct, and was brevetted Lieutenant-Colonel.

At the close of the war with Mexico he withdrew from the service, and soon afterward emigrated to California. The outbreak of the rebellion found him there, and he was one of the first of the old West Pointers who offered his services to the Government. He was one of the first batch of Brigadier-Generals of Volunteers appointed by President Lincoln on 17th May, 1861; and was, on his arrival, placed in command of a brigade of the army of the Potomac, and subsequently of a division. From July, 1861, to February, 1862, he was stationed in Southern Maryland, on the north shore of the Potomac, his duty being to prevent the rebels crossing the river, and to amuse them with their river blockade while McClellan was getting his army into trim. This difficult duty he performed admirably.

When the army of the Potomac moved to the Peninsula, Hooker accompanied them in charge of a division. In the contest at Williamsburg his division bravely stood the brunt of the battle, the men of the Excelsior Brigade actually being mowed down as they stood up in line. At Fair Oaks the men again showed their valor, and the General his fighting qualities. In the various minor contests Hooker took his part and bravely went through with his share of the seven days' fights. When McClellan's army was placed under the command of General Pope, we find the names of "Fighting Joe Hooker" and the late General Kearney mentioned together in the thickest of the struggle; and again at South Mountain and Sharpsburg he seems to have been second to no one. At the latter fight he was shot through the foot and obliged to leave the field; but for this accident, he thinks he would have driven the rebels into the Potomac.

After the battle he sent the following report to General McClellan:

CENTREVILLE, MD., Sept. 17, 1862.

Major-General McClellan:

A great battle has been fought, and we are victorious. I had the honor to open it yesterday afternoon, and it continued until ten o'clock this morning, when I was wounded and compelled to quit the field. The battle was fought with great violence on both sides. The carnage has been awful. I only regret that I was not permitted to take part in the operations until they were concluded, for I had counted on either capturing their army or driving them

into the Potomac. My wound has been painful, but is not one that will be likely to lay me up. I was shot through the foot.   J. HOOKER, Brigadier-General.

On the reorganization of the army under General Burnside, General Hooker was given the command of one of the three grand Divisions into which it was distributed. He commanded his Division at Fredericksburg, but took no active part in the fight.

The Herald gives the following memoranda of him:

In person General Hooker is very tall, erect, compactly, but not heavily built, extremely muscular, and of

great physical endurance, of a light complexion, a fresh, ruddy countenance, full, clear mild eyes, intellectual head, brown hair, slightly tinged with gray—and altogether one of the most commanding officers in his bearing and appearance in the army.

In social intercourse he is frank, unpretending, and courteous, removing embarrassment from even the humblest personage who approaches him. It is only when at the head of his command and in the storm of battle that he arrays himself in the stern and lofty aspect of the commanding military chieftain.

Perhaps it may not be uninteresting to our readers to learn how the subject of our sketch obtained the now historic name of "Fighting Joe Hooker." On one occasion, after a battle, in which General Hooker's men had distinguished

themselves for their fighting qualities, thus adding to the fame of their commander, a dispatch to the New York Associated Press was received at the office of one of the principal agencies announcing the fact. One of the copyists, wishing to show in an emphatic manner that this commander was really a fighting man, placed over the head of the manifold copies of his dispatch the words "Fighting Joe Hooker." Of course this heading went to nearly every newspaper office of the country, through the various agencies, and was readily adopted by the editors and printed in their journals. The sobriquet was also adopted by the army and by the press, and is now well known all over the world. Thus an unpretending, innocent copyist, unaware that he was making history, prefixed to this General's name a title that will live forever in the annals of the country.

But it appears that General Hooker does not like his title; for, on one occasion, when called as by a friend, he is reported to have said, "Don't call me Fighting Joe, for that name has done and is doing me incalculable injury. It makes a portion of the public think that I am a hot-headed, furious young fellow, accustomed to making furious and needless dashes at the enemy." By this remark it would appear that, although he has the characteristic of undoubted bravery and boldness, he still possesses some of that prudence and caution without which no general can be great.

General Hooker's friends in California have prepared a handsome testimonial in remembrance of his past services. It is a sword of the finest steel, with belt thickly studded with diamonds, a scabbard of solid silver, heavily and richly mounted with gold. The cost of this magnificent sword will be between $4000 and $5000. The inscriptions are as follows:

MAJOR-GENERAL JOSEPH HOOKER,

FROM HIS FELLOW-CITIZENS OF SAN FRANCISCO,

December 25, 1862.
Williamsburg—Fair Oaks—Glendale—Malvern Hill
Bull Run—Germantown—South Mountain—
Antietam.

THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

ONE of our correspondents, Mr. Oertel, has illustrated one of the few amenities of war, the INTERCHANGE OF CIVILITIES BETWEEN TWO MOUNTED PICKETS on the Upper Rappahannock. When the war first broke out the pickets on either side used to fire at each other on sight, and it gave our officers a good deal of trouble to check the murderous practice. The rule is now the other way. The pickets no sooner find themselves within hailing distance than they begin to converse; and the chat generally ends in an interchange of rations, liquor, and newspapers. This custom is severely reprobated by most of our Generals, but is very common nevertheless. Mr. Ocrtel writes: "During the recent engagement at Fredericksburg it was a most essential precaution to guard against a flank movement by the enemy, and the fords above on the river were vigilantly watched. This important duty was assigned to the Sixth New York Cavalry, who by former experience knew all the fords and roads thereabout well, and they were there by special order of General Burnside, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel M'Vicar. They are at the post still. The duty is arduous, and one of danger, being at the extreme right, and in sight and within easy reach of the enemy. The pickets sometimes meet, by special agreement, in the middle of the river, first laying down their arms at their respective shores, and in this wise they friendly converse, and exchange such commodities as tobacco and newspapers."

MEETING OF UNION AND REBEL PICKETS IN THE RAPPAHANNOCK.—[SKETCHED BY MR. OERTEL.]

General Joe Hooker
Civil War Pickets

 

 

 

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