The army of the potomac

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The Army of the Potomac was in a state of disarray and had suffered yet another embarrassing loss to the outnumbered, ill-equipped, and starving Army of Northern Virginia. General Ambrose Burnside had replaced General George McClellan as the Commander of the Army of the Potomac and was using the Battle of Fredericksburg to destroy the Confederates. However, General Burnside was to do the exact opposite of his intent, after suffering great losses crossing the Rappahannock River General Burnside refused to give in and sent wave after wave of Union troops up the long hill to Marye’s Heights. The night fell and fighting ended and the next morning the hillside was so thoroughly covered with Union dead it was said, “One could have walked up from the river to the heights without ever touching the earth.”1 General Burnside would attempt a flank attack that would later be known as the Mud March and only further humiliate the Union Army. It is after this debacle that President Abraham Lincoln decided that General Hooker was the man to take control of the Army of the Potomac. Arriving in Washington from California, where Hooker had lived since resigning from the Army after the Mexican War, in time to see Union Soldiers defeated at the first Battle of Bull Run, he soon had an audience with the President. At that first meeting, he said, “Mr. President, I was at Bull Run the other day, and it is no vanity in me to say I am a damned sight better general than any you had on that field.”2 President Lincoln would give Hooker a commission as a Brigadier General. General Hooker would continue to distinguish himself in the Seven-day campaign and at Antietam were he gained his nickname “Fightin’ Joe Hooker”. Hooker’s use of mission command... ... middle of paper ... ... also send the Army of the Potomac retreating to Washington to defend the Capital. His greatest downfall was his inability to assess the battlefield correctly leading to the ruin of his mission command. Works Cited Andy, Joseph A., “The Battle of Chancellorsville.” Military Digest, October 1998. Chancellorsville: a Documentary Film. Directed by Brad Graham. 2004. Lansing, MI: Media Magic Productions, 2004. DVD. Longacre, Edward G., The Commanders of Chancellorsville: the Gentleman Versus the Rogue, Rutledge Hill Press, 2005. Pearcy, Matthew T., “Nothing but the Spirit of Heroism.” Army History, Summer 2013. Sears, Stephen W., Chancellorsville, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996. Smith, Carl, Chancellorsville 1863: Jackson’s Lighting Strike, Osprey Publishing, 1998. Smith, Gene, “The Destruction of Fighting Joe Hooker.” American Heritage Magazine, October 1993.

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