Joseph Hooker, 1814-1879
Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print, 1863
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, DC

After General Ambrose Burnside's defeat at Fredericksburg in the winter of 1863, Lincoln named handsome, charismatic Joseph Hooker to the command of the Army of the Potomac. With signature bravado, Hooker announced, "May God have mercy on General Lee, for I will have none." But at the end of April 1863, he marched his troops to Chancellorsville, where over the course of six days, Lee and Stonewall Jackson defeated the Union army, though they were outnumbered nearly two to one. But even Lee's victory was costly, for among his fourteen thousand casualties was the gifted General Jackson. At the end of June, just before the Battle of Gettysburg, Hooker handed his command to General George Meade. He went on to serve ably under Generals William T. Sherman and George Henry Thomas in the Department of Cumberland. This portrait was probably made in the spring of 1863, just before Hooker relinquished command of the Army of the Potomac.

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