Joseph Hooker

Commander Army of the Potomac from Jan to June 1864

Taken in the Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton County.

Civil War Union Major General. A native of Massachusetts, he was known as "Fighting Joe" Hooker (although he detested the nickname). He attended Hopkins Academy in Massachusetts and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1837, 29th in his class. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 1st U. S. Artillery and fought in the Seminole Wars in Florida. He then served in the Mexican-American War on the staff of Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. He received three brevet promotions during the conflict for his staff leadership and gallantry in battles attaining the brevet ranks of Captain, Major, and Lieutenant Colonel. He stayed in the military after the war as an assistant adjutant-general for the Pacific Division until he testified against Winfield Scott in the court martial of Gideon Pillow and subsequently resigned in 1853. He resettled in Sonoma County, California and briefly tried to earn a living as a farmer. Became an officer in the California Militia from in 1859 when he was unsuccessful in obtaining a Lieutenant Colonel's commission with the United States Army. When the Civil War began, his bid for a commission was accepted and he was appointed as a Brigadier General in August, 1861. He served under Major General George B. McClellan and was assigned to train and re-organize the Union's Army of the Potomac. In 1862, he commanded the 2nd Division of the III Corps with distinction in the Peninsula Campaign and earned a promotion to Major General. He was transferred to command a division in the III Corps of the Army of Virginia under Major General John Pope and assumed command of the entire Corps on September 6th after the disastrous Union defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run. He was wounded at the Battle of Antietam, and after a brief period of convalescence, he returned to command the 5th Corps during the Battle of Fredericksburg. After the battle, he replaced Major General Burnside as the commander of the Army of the Potomac. He failed to make solid and successful decisions against Confederate General Robert E. Lee's smaller army at the Battle of Chancellorsville where his army was consequently routed by Confederate forces. Hooker was furious at the outcome of the engagement and became enraged while defending himself in a heated debate at Army Headquarters which resulted in his resignation. Three days before the Battle of Gettysburg, he was replaced by Major General George Meade and transferred to the Western Theatre. In 1864, he successfully led troops at the Battle of Lookout Mountain but was relieved of his command due to his inability to cooperate with fellow officers. He was then assigned to command the army's Northern Department headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio where he remained for the rest of the war. During his stay in Cincinnati, he married Olivia Groesbeck, the wealthy sister of a U. S. Congressman. He retired from the Army in 1866. While visiting Garden City, New York in 1879, he died from apoplexy at the age of 64. Hooker was honored with an equestrian statue erected near the Massachusetts State House in Boston and Hooker County, Nebraska was named after him. (bio by: K Guy)

JOSEPH HOOKER, who was born November 13,1814, in Hadley, Massachusetts, held higher rank than any of the other generals buried in Spring Grove Cemetery. After graduation from West Point in 1837, he served as a young officer in the regular army. His record in the Mexican War was unsurpassed for gallant and meritorious service, and on June 9,1849, he became assistant adjutant general of the Pacific Division of the United States Army. After fourteen years of service, he resigned his commission to begin an unsuccessful venture in farming in California. His whereabouts and activities are obscure until 1858, when he requested reappointment as an army officer. His request was refused, and he remained in California and Oregon until the Civil War, when he was appointed brigadier general of volunteers. He soon became a major general and played a conspicuous role in all major battles in Virginia in 1861 and 1862. He was dubbed "Fighting Joe Hooker" after an Associated Press dispatch sent out during the Seven Days' Battles described the combat under the title "Fighting-Joe Hooker," a headline which other editors picked up omitting the hyphen. From then on Hooker, to his chagrin, was known as "Fighting Joe Hooker." After Bumside's defeat at Fredericksburg, Hooker was given command of the Army of the Potomac, then considered the highest command in the Union Army. He was defeated at the battle of Chancellorsville and requested relief from command, which was granted. In late 1863 he commanded the XI and XII Corps in Grant's Chattanooga campaign with skill and success, and in early 1864 he successfully commanded an army corps in Sherman's Atlanta campaign. Resenting subordination to a general who was junior in rank, Hooker asked Sherman to relieve him of his command. Hooker was sent to Cincinnati where he took charge of the Northern Department, which embraced Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. In Cincinnati he married Olivia Groesbeck, sister of Congressman William Groesbeck. He remained in the regular army and was retired in 1868 as a major general of regulars. General Hooker died at age sixty-four on October 31,1879, while visiting in Garden City, New York.

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