Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 210
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 210
view of Lincoln and of Grant. “This war will never be terminated,” he wrote, “until one side or the other has been well whipped and this result cannot be brought about except by fighting.” He was popularly known as a “fighting general” and stood well with the officers of the army. On the other hand, Wade, Chandler and Covode, Radical members of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, treated him with “great distinction,” for he was sound according to the Radical touchstone by virtue of his willingness to command negro troops. 1 Meade could have been better known in Washington in January, 1863, than we can now know him up to that time through his private correspondence; hence it must be concluded that Hooker’s appointment was an instance of the popular voice overbearing expert opinion. “A superior intellect and long and hard study are required to make an efficient commander,” wrote William R. Livermore. Doubt could not exist on January 1, 1863, that, as tried by this standard, Meade’s worth was much greater than Hooker’s.  50
  When Hooker took command, the Army of the Potomac was depressed to a degree that seemed almost hopeless. Desertions were of “alarming frequency.” 2 The new general went energetically to work to alter this condition and made his eminent talent for organization felt throughout the army. “The sullen gloom of the camps soon disappeared,” wrote Schurz, “and a new spirit of pride and hope began to pervade the ranks.” 3 “The morale of our Army is better than it ever was,” wrote Meade to his wife on March 30, “so you may look out for tough fighting next time.” 4 Early in April the President looking “careworn and exhausted” paid Hooker a visit, reviewed the whole
Note 1. General Meade, I, 340, 347, 349, 356, 365. [back]
Note 2. Letterman, 101. [back]
Note 3. Schurz, Reminiscences, II, 403. [back]
Note 4. General Meade, I, 362. [back]


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