James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
The Union soldiers resisted bravely. Officers and men made praiseworthy efforts, but there was no guiding head; nothing was effective that emanated from headquarters. Thirty to thirty-five thousand fresh troops, near at hand and eager to fight, were not called into action. Lincolns parting injunctions to Hooker on his visit to the Army of the Potomac in April, In your next battle put in all your men had gone unheeded.
Shortly after 9 oclock in the morning, Hooker was knocked senseless by cannon-ball striking a pillar of the Chancellor House veranda against which he was leaning;1 but at that time the battle was practically lost. By 10 A.M., said Lee in his report, we were in full possession of the field.
The rest of the Battle of Chancellorsville need not detain us. At midnight of May 4, Hooker assembled his accessible corps commanders to consider the question whether he should withdraw the army to the north side of the river. Couch and Sickles voted for its withdrawal. Meade, Reynolds and Howard favored an advance which would bring on another battle. Then Hooker said he should take upon himself the responsibility of recrossing the river.2 This movement was accomplished safely and without molestation. The loss of the Union Army in the Chancellorsville campaign was 16,792; that of the Confederate 12,764.3
Hooker throughout was free from the influence of alcohol. Accustomed as he was to the use of whiskey, he had entirely stopped drinking probably at the outset of this campaign or, at all events, not later than the day when he reached Chancellorsville.4 His defeat was due to lack of
Note 1. Hooker recovered and directed the retreat of his army. [back]