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Hooker, Joseph, 1814–79, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Hadley, Mass. After fighting the Seminole and serving in the Mexican War, Hooker resigned from the army in 1853 and was for several years a farmer in California. At the outbreak of the Civil War he became a brigadier general of volunteers. He distinguished himself in subordinate commands in the Peninsular campaign, at the second battle of Bull Run, and in the Antietam campaign, and was made a brigadier general in the regular army in Sept., 1862. After the battle of Fredericksburg, Hooker severely criticized Ambrose Burnside, whom he succeeded (Jan., 1863) in command of the Army of the Potomac.
In Apr., 1863, he advanced against Robert E. Lee, but in the resulting battle of Chancellorsville, he failed to justify his nickname of “Fighting Joe.” Hooker followed Lee closely in the subsequent Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, but, angered at General Halleck's refusal to send him reinforcements from Harpers Ferry, he asked on June 28, 1863, to be relieved. Hooker ably commanded reinforcements from the East in the Chattanooga campaign, and in 1864 he fought in the Atlanta campaign until General Sherman passed him over as successor to John B. McPherson.
See biography by W. H. Hebert (1944).