James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
CHANCELLORSVILLE demonstrated Hookers incompetence to command a large army and would have justified his removal. That he was kept in his place by an intrigue of Chase and his Radical followers has (I think) little evidence to support it. It is true that Chase was devoted to the general but, if Lincoln was to be swayed by advice, Hallecks on a military matter would have carried the greater weight, and it is notorious that the General-in-Chief lacked confidence in Hookera feeling that was probably shared by the Secretary of War. Hookers steadfast friend was the President himself. He visited the army soon after the battle and, taking the view that no one was to blame and it was a disaster that could not be helped, so cheered up Hooker that the general came to feel secure in his position and to show apparent unconcern at the prevalent distrust in which he was held by the army. Hooker is safe, I think, wrote Meade, from the difficulty of finding a successor and from the ridiculous appearance we present of changing our generals after each battle.1 The President, wrote Welles in his Diary, has a personal liking for Hooker and clings to him when others give way.2 Reynolds, when in Washington, was informed by a friend that he was being talked of for the head of the Army of the Potomac; he immediately went to the President and told him he did not want the command and would not take it. But during the interview he spoke freely of Hookers defects, whereupon
Note 1. General Meade, May 20, I, 379. Also 373. 374, 375, 382. [back]