James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
regular officers were decided in their hostility to him. Meade, whose opinion was more favorable than that of his associates, thought Hooker a very good soldier and a capital officer to command an army corps, but doubted his qualifications to command a large army.1
All the objections to Hooker were known in Washington, and it is surprising that they were not formulated to the President, inasmuch as there were two generals in the Army of the Potomac, John F. Reynolds and George G. Meade, either of whom in respect of character, training and ability was properly qualified for the command. After Fredericksburg it was evident that a change should be made and these generals were both talked of for the place. Reynolds did not want the command and probably would not have accepted it, but if he, Couch and Sedgwick2 had been called in council by the President or by Stanton and Halleck (an easy matter, as they were only a few hours journey from Washington), they would unanimously have recommended Meade and, though his seniors,3 would have offered cheerfully to serve under his command. Meades correspondence with his wife and son4 is crowning evidence that he would have been an admirable selection. Devotion to his wife and children and religious faith were the distinguishing marks of his private character; and his earnest thought on the conditions of the conflict remind one of the commonsense
Note 2. Sedgwick commanded the 9th corps at the time of Burnsides resignation. Hooker took command on Jan. 26, 1863, and Sedgwick was transferred to the 6th Corps (with which his name is usually associated) on Feb. 5. [back]
Note 3. Sedgwick and Couch having been made major-generals on July 4, 1862 outranked Meade. Reynolds and Meade became major-generals on Nov. 29, 1862; but Reynolds is placed just ahead of Meade in the rank list. [back]