Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 213
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 213
a sharp battle would have ensued, of which the result would of course have been dubious; but the army would not have been demoralized by having to retreat so soon after they had taken the offensive, and Hooker would not have lost the confidence of his officers by the vacillation exhibited in his actual orders of that day. Couch saw him soon after the retreat and got the impression that he was a “whipped man.”  53
  The story of May 2 is that of a contest between Lee’s and Hooker’s brains; between Jackson’s and Howard’s execution. In the course of this History, we have gained some acquaintance with the two Confederates; but if more is needed, William R. Livermore’s technical analysis of their qualities and Hooker’s 1 should enable us to realize that the result could have been no other than the one we have actually to record. History seemed to be repeating itself, for here was another general who knew not how to handle a hundred thousand and more men, who made furthermore an unfortunate choice for the commander of a corps (the Eleventh) that was to be terribly exposed in the ensuing action. 2 Howard did not impress Schurz who commanded a division under him “as an intellectually strong man. A certain looseness of mental operations, a marked uncertainty in forming definite conclusions became evident in his conversation.” 3  54
  After his retreat Hooker decided to remain on the defensive. He expected that Lee would make a frontal attack on his centre, to repel which he had made adequate preparation. But Lee was not the man to do what his enemy desired. He saw that such an attack “would be attended with great difficulty and loss in view of the strength of
Note 1. W. R. Livermore, I, 114, 178. [back]
Note 2. J. Bigelow, Jr., 41. [back]
Note 3. Schurz, Reminiscences, II, 405. [back]


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