April 30, 1863: Hooker Arrives at Chancellorsville

 

 

 

Fighting Joe HookerHooker arrived at Chancellorsville on the morning of April 30.  He was in high spirits and issued this order to his army:

GENERAL ORDERS No. 47.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Camp near Falmouth, Va., April 30, 1863.

       It is with heartfelt satisfaction the commanding general announces to the army that the operations of the last three days have determined that our enemy must either ingloriously fly, or come out from behind his defenses and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him.  The operations of the Fifth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Corps have been a succession of splendid achievements.

       By command of Major-General Hooker:

S. WILLIAMS, Assistant Adjutant General.

It should be a military commandment that no celebratory orders are issued until after a battle is won.  However, Hooker had reasons for confidence.  He had successfully placed Lee between his 70,000 men and Sedgwick’s 40,000 men south of Fredericksburg.  If he and Sedgwick could simply coordinate their attacks, numbers alone stood a good chance of winning the coming battle for him, Lee being outnumbered more than two to one.

However, in the order issued by Hooker there is an indication that something was beginning to go wrong with Hooker internally.  He indicates that Lee would either have to fly or come out from his defenses and give battle on the ground occupied by the Army of the Potomac.  That was an odd formulation for a man leading a force that outnumbered Lee so vastly, and yet expected that Lee would be the one attacking.  Hooker was already ceding the initiative to Lee.

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Published in: on April 30, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. I live in the middle of the Chancellor battlefield.
    Didn’t know that when I moved in to this area…..but I know it now.
    I wrote about it in my post…Civil War Graveyard Meditation.
    Won’t be too surprised if one evening, a ghost comes knocking on my door.

    • It is amazing Mary the number of sightings of ghosts that have occurred around Civil War battlefields. I envy you your opportunity to become so familiar with the site of two massive Civil War battles. In Illinois where I live I am very familiar with a lot of Lincoln sites, but other than a skirmish between Republicans and Copperheads in Charleston, Illinois, not even a skirmish was fought in Illinois.


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