06981 - Major General Joseph Hooker; 'Fighting Joe' [LC-DIG-cwpb-06981]
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"Fighting Joe" Hooker was the fourth Commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Ambrose Burnside after only two and a half months in the position. Hooker, who served under Burnside, had been at odds with his boss almost since Burnside took over. He continued to protest Burnsides decisions to the point that Burnside sent a message to Lincoln asking for permission to remove Hooker. Instead, Burnside was removed and Hooker was brought in to replace him. For Hooker, this too would be short lived, lasting five months between the end of January and the end of June 1863.
Hooker's inability to stop or even slow Lee frustrated Lincoln. When Lee pushed North to what ultimately would become the battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln insisted that Hooker stop him. Instead Hooker proposed an attempt to seize Richmond. This would have left Lee on the move and little defense for Washington D.C. itself. The idea was rejected. Shortly thereafter, Hooker became frustrated with the defenses of Harpers Ferry and, in a rash move that he would probably regret later, offered his resignation. Lincoln took the opportunity to replace him with Meade and shortly before Gettysburg Hooker was out.
This however did not end his career. He was given several commands of what later became XX Corps and participated in a number of battles including Chattanooga and the Atlanta Campaign under Sherman. He ended the war in command of the Northern Department headquartered in Cincinnati for the last 5-6 months of the war.
Popular belief is that the term for prostitutes derives from his name due the large amount of brothels that followed his army (true). The term however, had appeared in print as early as 15 years before the war began. It may be true that the term gained wider acceptance during the war for the women known as "Hooker's Brigade". Whatever the reason, he will be forever linked with the term.