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Joe Hooker’s Chancellorsville

By Joseph Pierro
8/31/2018 • Civil War Times Magazine

The general stood at the brink of victory in May 1863—and then it all went wrong. His 1877 letter to a friend offers his version of why.

By the spring of 1863, few men in blue could rival Major General Joseph Hooker’s record of achievement as a combat commander. During Major General George B. McClellan’s advance up the Virginia Peninsula the previous year, Hooker was consistently in the vanguard, his division sustaining 25 percent of the Army of the Potomac’s casualties. He shone on defense at Glendale, participated in the overwhelmingly successful repulse of General Robert E. Lee’s army at Malvern Hill and played a key role in maintaining the army’s orderly retreat after Second Manassas.

To Radical Republicans bemoaning the timidity of West Pointers, Hooker appeared the ideal soldier, and his well-founded reputation for aggressive action and hard fighting made it impossible for his superiors—toward whom Hooker directed a string of public criticisms— to deny him advancement. McClellan named him to corps command during the Maryland campaign, and Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside elevated him to lead one of the grand divisions at Fredericksburg. During each operation Hooker turned in one of the few quality performances among the army’s senior-most commanders, and after Burnside’s resignation in January 1863, Hooker was given command of the army. It would last only five months.

“It is regrettable,” wrote biographer Walter H. Hebert, “that Joseph Hooker’s military career will always be remembered primarily in terms of his direction of the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville.” Hooker himself recognized this, and to the end of his days staunchly defended his actions during the campaign. Though an enduring falsehood alleges he admitted that the army failed because he “simply lost faith in Joe Hooker,” he was not the sort for public self-recrimination.

Hooker stated in the following letter to his friend and eventual literary executor, Samuel P. Bates, that the outcome of events was not the result of any failing on his part, but rather due to the failings of particular subordinates. Published here in its entirety for the first time, the letter offers both a stark dissent to the traditional interpretation of the battle and—in its too-earnest protestations of indifference—a fascinating glimpse into a psyche still burdened by the mocking undertone Chancellorsville had fastened indelibly to the sobriquet of “Fighting Joe” nearly 15 years before. Hooker’s original spelling and punctuation are maintained. Editor’s notes are contained in brackets.

Garden City, L.I. [Long Island] N.Y.

April 2nd 1877

Prof. S.P. Bates

My dear Professor,

At the time I voluntarily engaged to review the work of Genl. Jackson (Stonewall)’s Staff Officers [Jedediah Hotchkiss and William Allan, The Battle-Fields of Virginia. Chancellorsville; Embracing the Operations of the Army of Northern Virginia, from the First Battle of Fredericksburg to the Death of Lieutenant-General Jackson, New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1867], I had it in my mind to connect with my review a notice of all the books and newspapers which have fallen under my notice, and their number appears to be legion, and added to this a passing notice of the testimony of some of my officers before the Committee on the Conduct of the War on this subject, and to make my article a general review of the whole subject of the campaign of Chancellorsville, but after writing almost a volume, and not more than half completed my purpose, I resolved to confine my observations to the subject as promised you, out of regard to yourself and being more likely to be read by our people, as I presume they take little or no interest in this subject beyond what is supported by facts. Bookmakers, newspaper scriblers, and others were very active in bringing their objections before the public, and often indulge in reflections to suit themselves, with an apparent disregard of the truths they were pretending to propogate. I had been pronounced in my opinions on the subject in which the war was being prosecuted, for the sake of the cause, and the Country, cherishing no ill feeling, towards the persons or parties implicated, or in any way reflecting upon their merits, or demerits, but simply to have the attention of the authorities called to the subject in order that mistakes might be remedied. I was too earnestly in the war to look on blunders approvingly, or silently, utterly regardless of any influence it might have on myself, and accordingly when the opportunity presented itself newspaper scribblers, bookmakers, all went to work industriously, and unscrupulously, I may say, to disparage my services, not only in the campaign of Chancellorsville, but throughout the war. Even some officers on my staff, whose selfish purposes had been thwarted in the exercise of my command joined in the hue and cry against me, the greater part of them Genl. McClellan’s admirers. I do not refer to those matters for the reason that they were annoying to me, but merely allude to it that you may know all of my surroundings at the time. When I peruse some of their productions, I almost feel that I was not in the war at all, but as the Army seem to think that I was, I remained complacent, and happy. Their approving testimony was all that I required.

I will now commence the review before me, and I wish it to be regarded, as supplemental to my testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, as that is almost entirely made up of documentary evidence, which admits of no controversy, and which constitutes an indispensable narrative of the events under consideration, to which I propose to add a little light furnished me by the publication of the enemies side of the question.

To begin with, I desire to call your attention to the relative strength of the two armies, as stated by themselves on page 23 and 24. I have no particular objection to their statement of the strength of my army, which they report to have been 123,000 aggregate, that is including officers, and men, artillery, cavalry, and indeed my entire force. At the same time they report their army to number 58,200 muskets. Why they should report muskets in one case, and men in the other, is incomprehensible to me, except to deceive the reader. A little further investigation involves the subject in still greater doubt. Genl. Lee’s report 31st of March (I have seen none for April) makes it to consist of 77,379 men, of whom 60,298 men were present for duty [published in Official Records, Series I, Vol. 25, Part 2, P. 696]. Subsequently, the reports of his subordinates are consolidated, and they make the number of their Army about 10,000 less. Genl. Longstreet’s three divisions had left his command for the South a month or more before the date of Lee’s return, and therefore is not included.

Hotchkiss says (page 14) that Jackson’s Corps grew in three months from twenty five to thirty three thousand muskets and unquestionably the two divisions [of] Longstreet’s Corps with the Army of Northern Virginia increased in the same proportion, making Lee’s Army to number I should judge not less than 65,000 muskets. To return to my Army I must deduct from 123,000 men, 40,000 nine months and two years men, all but a moiety of my Artillery (taking but two Batteries to a Division with me) and all of my Cavalry, except three Regiments and a Battery of horse Artillery, with [Brig Gen. Alfred] Pleasonton, for the others can scarcely to be said to have been engaged in the battle. We have an approximate statement of the relative strength of the two armies at the commencement of operations.

I knew of no other possible mode of accomplishing my object but to divide my Army temporarily into two nearly equal parts, to transfer one portion over the two rivers which separated me from the enemy, and even in making this division, it was necessary to conform to the condition of my encampment irrespective of the qualities of soldiership of the officers in command. However that was accomplished in broad daylight to the entire surprise of the commander of the enemies forces. I do not recall a parralell achievement throughout all time. But singularly enough Hotchkiss’ work seems to omit all mention of this fact, under the impression perhaps that it would impeach the character of his Commanding General, for want of vigilance.

Three corps however, and soon followed by two divisions of another, were concentrated at Chancellorsville, where three roads leading to Fredericksburg united, distance about eleven miles from that city, the Hd. Qrs. of the enemy. I probably might [have] advanced by desperate marches to a nearer point but that I did not desire with my limited knowledge of the country, and with the force not equal in number to the enemy, and considerably wearied by two days of long and heavy marching, one column harrassed by the enemies cavalry almost all of the second day. This was Thursday night, May 1st. After devoting a few hours to gaining information of the country I was in and its roads, I ordered an advance at 11 o’clock a.m. as is stated in the work before me, a portion of my command on the River road, a portion by the Turnpike, and a portion by the Plank road. That by the river road was ordered to advance to midway between Mott and Colon runs, and it is not probable that they proceeded beyond that point, as not one of their number was observed by the command at Banks’ ford though located on high and commanding ground

It is scarcely possible that any of Genl. Meade’s command passed within sight of Banks’ ford. The remaining columns stretched out as they were ordered in slender columns which admitted of no other advance. I soon discovered that I was hazarding too much to continue the movement. The field of operations was in what is called the Wilderness but of which I had no adequate conception. It was impossible to manoeuvre, on which I had largely depended for success, but finding myself confined in my movements, I countermanded the order for an advance, and for the troops, to resume the position they had but a short time before abandoned. This movement has since been severely criticised by persons fancying that they were judges, apparently having been misled by misaprehensions of the relative forces of the two Armies, one portion being in a line of battle behind defenses, while it was impossible to advance the other in season to form line for attack or defence. These criticisms appear trifling to me, as their authors have never seen the ground and know nothing of my surroundings, in comparison with myself, who took in at a glance all of my circumstances, had more at stake than anyone but the cause itself, but deliberately though suddenly determined on that as being my wisest movement.

If situated in like manner again I do not hesitate to declare as my conviction I should repeat the order. The following morning I made an inspection of the right of my line and on my return to Hd. Qrs. found a Georgia Regt. just captured by [Maj. Gen. Daniel E.] Sickles, on the road which Jackson had passed over in his march to turn my right. At 9:30 a.m. I sent a dispatch to Genl. [Oliver O.] Howard, in command of the right, advising him of this movement, and to make the necessary dispositions to meet it. Also see Genl. Devins’ [Charles Devens Jr.’s] testimony before Committee on Conduct of the War (p. 179) [“Army of the Potomac.—General Hooker,” Report of the Joint Committee of the Conduct on the War, at the Second Session Thirty-Eighth Congress, Washington: G.P.O., 1865].

Hotchkiss nowhere informs his readers of this desperate movement made by Genl. Jackson’s command, nor the time and manner in which I learned it, an omission doubtless purposely made. Genl. Howard was attacked at 6 o’clock p.m. that day. It will be observed from the dates that Genl. Howard had ample time to prepare his Corps for defence, but instead of doing that he criminally allowed his enemy to fall on his rear while his own troops had their arms stacked and they themselves considerably removed from them, and were busily engaged in cooking and eating their suppers.

I have no desire to add to my report my condemnation of this negligence. He was attacked, routed, almost without resistance, and his command driven into the centre of the Army, demoralized, panic stricken to a degree never before witnessed by myself. At this juncture, I felt that I had made a mistake in dispatching the greater part of my Cavalry force to sever Genl. Lee’s communication with Richmond. However, I doubt if all my cavalry could have arrested the flight of these frenzied people. They might as well have stopped the winds blowing. In a moment my whole Army, [due] to this stampede, were thrown momentarily into a nervous and excited condition, which for a time filled me with alarm. Civilians cannot understand the suddenness with which troops are so readily demoralized. Nervousness at once took the place of the fullest confidence.

In order to convince you of the desperate movement of Jackson, I must beg you to examine with me Map No. 3 [Hotchkiss and Allan, “Saturday, May 2, 1863”] and see in what condition Jackson would have found himself had he encountered any opposition from Howard’s command. I say with a good deal of confidence that I believe any Corps commander acquainted with the roads in the Wilderness would have considered it an easy task, with a few Batteries, to have arrested Jackson in his march sufficiently to have given some of my troops an opportunity to have fallen on his flanks and dispersed or destroyed his whole command. Genl. Jackson attempted one of his eccentric movements in the presence of my Corps at Antietam, and in consequence his command were terribly punished. Any one who saw the cornfield in which he had stationed his Corps will probably remember its fearful mutilation.

You will see Jackson’s formation in column by Divisions, with all of his Artillery, advancing on the road, and can therefore draw your own conclusions.

But these were only some of the consequences which Howard’s negligence brought upon my Army. He abandoned a position which commanded the entire field around the Chancellorsville House, and when I found it could not be recovered, I called up my engineers and pointed out to them where to trace a new line, as I would soon have to move upon it. Early the [next] morning the battle was renewed, and after waiting some time to hear from Gen. [John] Sedgwick, at 11 o’clock a.m. I moved in good order upon my new line. Lee followed me closely, but on coming up to where my Artillery could strike him, not my small arms, they gave him a shock, before which he suddenly retired, and never repeated the experiment.

[Robert L.] Dabney [Jackson’s staff officer and biographer] and Hotchkiss seem to regret that Jackson fell as early in the action, as he had it in mind to drive me into the river. The poor man did not know what he was talking about.

The lines on which my Army stood were being run at the time he fell mortally wounded, and he never had an opportunity to inform himself of how my Army was posted. The right resting on the Rappidan, the left on the Rappahannock.

On receiving a report that a heavy infantry column had left the cars at Gordonville, which I believed to be Longstreet, as his was the only available column to the south of me, I dispatched Reynolds’ Corps to my extreme right in addition to Meade’s Corps, which had previously been stationed to protect my communications.

As my official reports of Corps commanders are now with you, I cannot conveniently go into detail in regard to the several conflicts, but you will find on examination that they did not all result in favor of the Confederacy, as Mr. Hotchkiss appears to desire you to believe.

There was certainly two sides to this issue. With the exception of one Corps, and I have never blamed any member of it, but its commander, our troops had uniformly acquitted themselves as heroically and devotedly as I could desire.

Before quitting this subject you will allow me to call your attention to what Mr. Chancellor, our guide, told us on our late visit to Chancellorsville, that an individual informed General Howard, that Jackson as he passed off to the South, informed Genl. H. that the road led to Richmond. This may have thrown Genl. H. off his gaurd. Since my return from Fredericksburgh I sent Mr. Chancellor to ascertain the name of this individual, to which he replied he was not able to find him.

I will now turn to the Cavalry. I had stripped myself of this arm of the service to sever Lee’s communication with Richmond. See my orders dated April 12th and reiterated at Morrisville April 28th [published in OR, ser. 1, vol. 25, pt. 1, P. 1065-67]. By these orders Genl. [George] Stoneman was instructed to make the primary object of his raid to cut Lee’s communications by the Aquia and Richmond Rail Road. He was told what opposition he would have to encounter and where stationed, and to go prepared to destroy the Rail Road. For reasons not necessary now to repeat, Averil’s [Brig. Gen. William W. Averell’s] Division was ordered to make a slight detour, and recommended to reunite the two columns of Cavalry on the Pamunkey river. They crossed the bridges at Kelly’s ford a little before the infantry ordered to Chancellorsville. The two forces had about two marches to make and I supposed would reach their destination about the same moment. Averil never did reach his and Stoneman struck the Rail Road five days after he had crossed the Rappahannock, and so far disregarded his orders that he disposed of his troops, as stated in his report ([Hotchkiss and Allan,] page 104). If he had attempted to give my orders a flagrant and full disobedience, he could not have made his dispositions to accomplish that purpose more complete. He did strike the Rail Road on the 3rd and encountered a train filled with prisoners and wounded men, but doing the Rail Road no damage beyond a temporary delay. He also dispatched the 1st New Jersey Regt. to destroy a large canal aqueduct, but when they reached there the Col. found he had nothing to do it with! And the famous shell to which Genl. Stoneman’s command was compared was bursted into so many fragments that they were all incapable of being felt by the enemy. On the 3rd of May, hearing that Genl. Averil was not one day’s march from me, I ordered him in, his loss having been two men wounded and one killed. General Stoneman returned on the 8th of May, having lost of his force of 12,000 men 150, showing clearly he kept well out of harm’s way.

Hotchkiss makes out the enemy Stoneman had to encounter with his whole force about 3,000 men, considerably less than my estimate of all the cavalry of the enemy, when united, he could meet. Before I dismiss this subject, I may as well add my distrust of the want of zeal in this officer to execute my wishes.

While at Morrisville, April 28th, he handed me a written application for his command to visit Stanton, ostensibly to break up some shoe manufactory, which I declined, saying that it was too small a matter for his whole force to be employed in. On his return he asked for this paper to be returned to him, anticipating I suppose that its ghost might appear to him again when he would not want to see it.

On the return of both those cavalry officers, I had them removed from my command. Could I have heard that Genl. Stoneman complied with his instructions, I had it in mind to essay the breaking of the enemies lines in my front, but without this information my victory would have been a fruitless one, as the enemy would only have to fall back to take a stronger position than the one I had driven him from, and in the end after frightful losses I would have to succumb[.] I had no reason to suppose that the commanding general would be any more indulgent to my requisitions than he had been in the earlier exercise of my command. In other words I had no ambition to defeat myself.

We will now proceed to consider the case of General Sedgwick.

After the misfortune of Howard’s Corps, I telegraphed this officer May 2nd (see my report, page 129) [reprinted in Report of the Joint Committee…] to move towards Chancellorsville, and sent my chief engineer, General [Gouverneur K.] Warren, as being better acquainted with the roads than anyone of my staff officers.

When Warren returned to me and reported verbally, in the presence of one of [the] staff officers, and perhaps more, that “Genl. Segwick would not have moved at all, but for his presence, and that when he did move, it was not with sufficient confidence or ability.” I am informed that Genl. Warren has since denied this fact, hence my explicitness.

The heights around Fredericksburg were occupied by a small number of the enemy, but in front of the walls of Marye’s Heights, as you well know a formidable stone wall with earth embankments as a support, and as Genl. Sedgwick ought to have known from his services with Genl. [Edwin V.] Sumner the 13th of December the year previous. By far the most formidable point and the most difficult of assailing in all the works around Fredericksburg, and I could not think that he would select that point in preference to all others for his point of attack. If he had gone up Deep Run, I still think that the position could easily have been turned without the loss of time required to form his columns for assault, and when this was carried his advance was irresolute, and extremely cautious, so much as to invite the enemy to come and attack him (see Hotchkiss’ report pp. 83 & 84), and when he had reached Salem Church or near there, May 4th, as will be seen by reference to my report (page 131) [reprinted in Report of the Joint Committee…] I telegraphed him again dated May 4th, same page, not to cross the river at Banks’ ford unless compelled to, and by a continuance of the reading of the telegrams of that day it will be found that General Sedgwick could hold his position, south side of the Rappahannock, when he was again telegraphed to remain, but owing to the irregularities of communication, this telegram appears not to have reached him until his movement had commenced. My intention was to recross the river at the United States ford and recross again at Banks’ ford, thus turning the enemies defences around my front, which I felt could be carried only at a frightful loss, and I saw no difficulty in his corps maintaining a position on the south side of the river, under the shelter of thirty four pieces of artillery, which were abundantly able, in my judgment, to cover an army of double the number of his own. He also alleges his apprehensions for the safety of his bridges while under the protection of the same guns. But to a demoralized army, there is no accounting for its whims and caprices.

It will be seen by reports that I wanted Genl. Sedgwick to take a position on the high ground, where the ampitheatre of hills around Fredericksburg terminate, on the river, called Taylor’s [Hill], a mile or more above the city, high and commanding ground, which would enable him to defend himself with slight rifle-pits form [sic] the attacks of the whole rebel army. This position was only a short distance from Banks’ ford, but in this too I was doomed to disappointment.

Thus ended the campaign of Chancellorsville. I felt at the beginning of the campaign that I had eighty chances in one hundred of being successful, but how victory slipped from my hands the reader can now see, and form an intelligent judgment himself. It would be unbecoming in me to express an opinion, although the army have given me abundant reason to believe, and so has the country, that they attach no part of the failure to my conduct. One word more as to the losses of the two armies.

Mine is reported at 17,197, that of the enemy 10,277 [Hotchkiss and Allan, P. 100], while every corps commander on the right of the army except Howard and Stoneman, whose opinions were never solicited, were of opinion that we hurt the enemy more than we suffered ourselves, and that was the impression of the surgeons in the Rebel camp, as was reported to me by our surgeons left in charge of our wounded on the field, while the Medical and Surgical History of the War [of the Rebellion (1861-65), Vol. 7, Washington: G.P.O, 1870, P. lxxiv] gives the losses at Chancellorsville, Union Army 16,030, Rebel Army, 12,281, and still another statement from the Richmond Dispatch as follows:

West Point, Virginia 7th 9 p.m.

Since telegraphing you an extra of the Dispatch (newspaper) of yesterday, found on a prisoner a note, endorsed by the surgeon of one of the Richmond Hospitals, stating the Rebel loss at 18,000.”

(signed) John A. Dix

Maj. Gen.

If the statement of the Rebel losses is signed by Genl. Lee, I will not impeach its truthfulness, but if made up from the report of his subordinates, I do. For ought I know, they are as liable to err in their report of losses as they were in making their reports of the strength of their army. I have no idea in what mode they formed their estimate, and do not desire to know, when they aim to make it appear the Union losses at Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg were greater than their own.

Sometime, and not far distant, I hope the Records of the War will be published, and the facts ascertained. I am thankful however our losses were no greater.

When acting under my own volition, I endeavored to avoid butcheries, as I think I did in not advancing from Chancellorsville, which I probably should have done had I heard that Stoneman had seriously interupted Lee’s communications with Richmond.

The last campaign in the Wilderness should satisfy the most skeptical on this point.

My objective point was the enemy’s army, and beyond that he possessed nothing for which I was willing to make heavy sacrifices to acquire. I felt it to be in my power every moment I was on the south side of the Rappahannock to advance but with the enemy’s communications unbroken he would only fall back and take a still stronger position than the one I drove him from, and all of my countrymen, who have read my report, know what chances I had of being reinforced under Genl. Halleck [then general-in-chief]. I had no desire to have my army whipped by its own heroism, as was the case at Balacklava, by the immortal Six Hundred.

Messrs. Hotchkiss and Allen appear to indulge in a good deal of eulogy of their chief and cause, which may be regarded as pardonable, having served through so many eventful conflicts with their general, and it is natural that they should espouse his reputation and their cause with zeal and fervor. But when they reflect injuriously upon their brethren in the North, they must expect to encounter some adverse reflections.

In contrast with their representations of the depression of the North and the gloom and despondency of her army at the end of the Chancellorsville campaign, I will simply record an extract from a telegram from the Secretary of War dated Washington City, May 7th (page 228 of my report) [as reprinted in Report of the Joint Committee…]: “The result at Chancellorsville does not seem to have produced any panic. Gold has only risen 6 per cent in New York, and at the close to day had gone down 4. The public confidence seems to remain unshaken in the belief of your ultimate success. (signed) Edward M. Stanton.” From which it appears the country was not in such a hopeless condition as the authors of this work under review labor to make it appear.

In order to ascertain the true feeling of the North and South, I regret that the latter had no unerring indicator of the feelings of the body politic, not only in this campaign but all others of the war. Then it would be unnecessary to give the imagination license to paint fancy pictures. However, the best comentary on all these doleful reflections will be a reference to the movements and success of this same army, which they tried to defame. In but little more than a month after the return to camp, it embarked in the campaign of Gettysburg, and fought the great battle of the war there.

I think no appearance of demoralization can anywhere be found in those events, for every desire of my heart on that campaign was anticipated by the enthusiasm and devotion of the officers and men.

The officers, who prepared this book, had an unusual share in war, and doubtless know that an army, to make successful campaigns and to win battles, is not the creation of a month, or several months, and yet it manoeuvred and fought successfully the supreme effort of the Confederacy to destroy the country. This army had swollen to immense proportions by bringing together all their available resources, in men and means, and yet this poor, dejected [Northern] army neutralized and put to flight all their hopes and expectations.

After recrossing the river, I had it in my mind to establish myself on high ground, where I directed Sedgwick to take a position from which I fully expected to be able to drive the enemy from its amphitheatre of hills around Fredericksburg, but the steep banks would require to be worked considerably, and that would discover my intention, defeat my purpose, and was abandoned.

If the Gettysburg movement was inspired by the President of the Confederacy from what had just transpired at Chancellorsville, it is fortunate perhaps that our efforts in that campaign were not all crowned with success.

This concludes my review of the work before me, in which I have aimed more at perspicacity than elegance more of truth than fiction, and if it impresses you favorably, I shall be doubly rewarded in having prepared it for you.

You will discover that I turned my experience to some account in sending forward troops from Frederick, Md., to Gettysburg. If Genl. Meade had understood Genl. Sedgwick’s true character, he would never have sent that officer in pursuit of a retiring enemy.

I feel that I have now completed my task, in order to secure a just recognition of the services of my army at Chancellorsville. Not altogether congenial to me, I must confess, nevertheless it had to be done, and it is not in my nature to hesitate or falter when the character and services of my army are ruthlessly impeached.

I believe that I have omitted until now all mention of the maps which accompany Hotchkiss’ work on Chancellorsville as the most credible part of it. They appear to have been prepared with great care and accuracy.

I have just found two papers which I forward, one from my acting chief of artillery (Captain [Stephen H.] Weed) on the field, the other from General [John C.] Robinson, commanding a division in Reynolds’ corps. The former tells you how my artillery was posted in my final position at Chancellorsville, the other of the line held by the 1st Corps. After reading which, you will be able to form your own opinion as to whether or not I was much distressed for the safety of my troops. See Map 4 [Hotchkiss and Allan, “Sunday, May 3, 1863”].

Before concluding, Professor, you may like to know my opinion of the battle of Chancellorsville, so far as my individual efforts were concerned, and I feel no hesitation in giving it to you. I won greater success on many fields in the war, but no-where did I deserve it half so much, and when all of the records, North and South, are correctly published, I believe it will be conceded by all of my countrymen.

Very respectfully,

Your obt. Svt.,

J. Hooker

Maj. Genl.

 

A manuscript copy of this letter in Hooker’s handwriting is contained in the Ezra A. Carman Papers, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. For additional reading, see The Battle-Fields of Virginia. Chancellorsville; Embracing the Operations of the Army of Northern Virginia, from the First Battle of Fredericksburg to the Death of Lieutenant-General Jackson, by Jedediah Hotchkiss and William Allan, reprinted in 1985.

Originally published in the May 2007 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here

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