James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
members of his Cabinet concerning Hooker. Who can take command of this Army? he asked Welles after the second Battle of Bull Run. Who is there among all these generals? Without much consideration Welles replied, Hooker. The President looked approving, but said, I think as much as you or any other man of Hooker butI fear he gets excited. Blair remarked, He is too great a friend of John Barleycorn; whereupon Welles: If his habits are bad, if he ever permits himself to get intoxicated, he ought not to be trusted with such a command. After the appointment, Welles wrote in his Diary, I am surprised at his selection.
In his discouragement and growing irritability, Lincoln permitted himself to be guided by public sentiment which had been so serviceable in political affairs; he felt that a vote of the rank and file of the army and of the Northern people would have plainly indicated, Fighting Joe Hooker. It is true, as Lincoln wrote in a private letter, that in considering military merit the world has abundant evidence that I disregard politics;1 and up to this time and afterwards, he showed his respect for the West Point education, although he did not rate it as high as we do at the present day. But in forming our opinion we have behind us the total experience of the Civil War and the records of both sides which attest by severe and thorough practice the in-estimable value of the training of our Military Academy.
Although Hooker was a graduate of West Point and had proved an excellent division and corps commander, his appointment to the chief command should never have been considered. Halleck was opposed to it and Stanton, it is said, backed him in his opposition.2 Most of the old