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Did Hooker Want To Be Replaced after Chancellorsville?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Northern Light, Oct 12, 2018 at 1:10 PM.

  1. Northern Light

    Northern Light Major

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    James N.mentioned in another thread:

    "I think I've read somewhere the very believable theory that Hooker wanted to get out of the command situation and purposely made a big deal about Harper's Ferry, hoping and expecting that he would be relieved over it."

    I hadn't heard or read this, but it made me think. I always assumed that Hooker was expecting Lincoln to back him up, and was surprised when he didn't. Now I am wondering if and why would Hooker have wanted to be replaced? Did he not think he was up to the task?

    Has anyone else ever read this? If so where and who said or wrote it?

    Any Hooker fans or haters out there who can comment?
     

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  3. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    I've heard that, too, and it might have some legs. Hooker was just too ambitious and full of himself not to be wiggling around to get the choice commands he wanted. He was not a fan of Lincoln's and thought he was a klutz with the war, and Lincoln wrote him a famous letter saying basically I see what you did there but I'm giving you the job anyway, don't make me regret it.

    I think the loss at Chancellorsville, after all the chest beating he did before, was crushing - and so was getting mashed with a pillar from the Chancellor house. Several members of his staff said he wasn't right for days. Lincoln took the news of the defeat very hard - he actually turned white as a sheet and had to sit down! He was definitely ready to holler 'next' down the hallway.To me, Hooker realized his limitations. Humility was certainly not his strong suit but he did have to face the reality that he was the captain of his ship and the ship just went down. He did very well as a subordinate from then on. Swallowing the facts was not an easy thing for a guy like Hooker but he did learn this lesson.
     
  4. RebelWeber

    RebelWeber Private

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    1 of his most famous or infamous quotes after Chancellorsville trying to explain his actions pretty much says it all.

    " I just lost faith in Joe Hooker "
     
  5. Northern Light

    Northern Light Major

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    That makes sense, Diane. He went to the West and did a creditable job until he got angry and resigned about Howard being promoted to take McPherson's place after Atlanta when he outranked Howard.
     
  6. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    He also thought he was a way better general than Howard - and he was! Sherman wanted Hooker at a distance, though, and thought Grant needed him more. Sherman, for what he had planned, didn't need the best generals in the Union army and seemed to deliberately take the ones who might be a problem for Grant and his separate project.
     
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  7. Northern Light

    Northern Light Major

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    That is interesting, too bad no one told Fighting Joe. Maybe he might have helped Grant.
     
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  8. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 1st Lieutenant

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    Always thought it ironic Hooker and Howard got sent west together. lol
    Hooker was his Eastern finest at Antietam. Whatever wants to be made of it, him and another cr@p unit, the 12th corps fought Jackson to a standstill. You can see why hooker looks good on paper as army commander.
    And I am not sure how bad he got hurt at Chancellorsville...he also wanted to botch the army's aim when Lee went north. Hooker needs to be commanded. Up close. Tactically he is OK. Strategically he sucks.
    and btw I swear the mud march was the origin of Chancellorsville. I wonder if either campaign was Burnside's or Hooker's to begin with. The mud march a "dry run" for the May run with Hooker's tactical results. Can't imagine if the Burnside's mud march was "successful".
     
  9. Northern Light

    Northern Light Major

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    I have had concussions and they can really mess up your head for days or weeks. He had his bell wrung severely and he should have turned over command, in my opinion.
    He did pretty well at Antietam, but he came in to action too early and it might have been a disaster for the union.
     
  10. Irishtom29

    Irishtom29 First Sergeant

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    Well, Hooker, Howard and Slocum going west had nothing to do with either Grant or Sherman.

    Sherman didn’t like Hooker and neither did Thomas. And Thomas didn’t like Logan and Sherman, while admiring Logan’s fighting ability doubted his administrative ability. But both Sherman and Thomas liked Howard so he got the bump up to McPherson’s job.

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018 at 10:29 PM
  11. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 1st Lieutenant

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    Well there you go. :wink:
     
  12. Northern Light

    Northern Light Major

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    Why would anyone like or trust Hooker, with his track record for conspiring behind his superiors' backs?
     
  13. Specster

    Specster Sergeant Major

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    That is what aggressive leaders do, sometimes to their peril but more often not
     
  14. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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    Why would anyone get frustrated while working under Henry Halleck and Edwin Stanton? Basically everyone did until the last guy.
     
  15. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    Hooker also blamed Howard's 'Flying Dutchmen' for his defeat at Chancellorsville - thought the promotion was insult added to injury. But didn't it help to get these less than stellar generals out of Grant's way? Sherman didn't need the best - what he was planning to do wasn't rocket science!
     
  16. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    Hooker did well before and after Chancellorsville. Another interesting problem he had was technology. He and Butterfield were trying out every new dingus that came along - some of it worked great and some of it didn't...and some of it worked better for the enemy!

    Concussions will indeed mess you up royally and you'll appear to be ok while they're doing it. It's very likely Hooker didn't turn over command to Couch or somebody because he couldn't realize he was hurt badly - because he was hurt badly!
     
  17. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 1st Lieutenant

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    Yes. That Beardsley telegraph, while eventually effective, was basically broke for Hooker/Butterfield/Sedgwick.
     
  18. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    Sedgwick got his message and it was so garbled he decided to sit and wait for one to clarify it! That gave Early an edge.
     
  19. Irishtom29

    Irishtom29 First Sergeant

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    Sherman had the best—Thomas. And Schofield and McPherson were no slugs.

    Sherman’s campaign was no piece of cake. And the logistics and administration were formidable challenges; Sherman had responsibilities reaching to the Mississippi.
     
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  20. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    Oh, certainly wouldn't minimize Sherman's accomplishments. Thomas was the best to be where he was, too. He wasn't the Hammer of Nashville for nothing! What I would suggest is Sherman didn't need to be particular - Slocum was a good administrator, by the way, even if he did live up to his name from time to time. Howard did all right, too - Sherman said he could make a soldier out of anything and apparently he could! Kilpatrick was the most interesting choice Sherman made - he wanted a dam fool for Kilpatrick's job, which was doing what he did best - messing things up! I still think Sherman took the lesser of the generals available to him because of the other side of the equation - Grant's finishing Lee. Thomas turned out to be most helpful there by destroying Hood's army. All Lee got was the survivors, and not that many. Sherman's pressure on the South drained Lee very effectively.
     
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  21. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    I don't think that Hooker wanted to be relieved but he and Halleck were using Harper's Ferry as a wedge against one another (Halleck and Hooker hated one another going back to the pre-war army). Halleck intentionally refused to allow Hooker to take command of the garrison as a way to induce Hooker to do something stupid and Hooker obliged by offering his resignation if he couldn't get what he wanted. I don't think that Hooker thought that Lincoln would accept his resignation but Halleck forwarded the resignation and Lincoln said ok.

    Interestingly, one of the first things that Halleck did when Meade took command was to give him command of the troops at Harper's Ferry.

    Ryan
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018 at 10:31 PM

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