Talk:Joseph Hooker

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Regarding the derivation of the term "hooker" meaning prostitute as coming from Joseph Hooker's name, from the American Heritage dictionary website:


SYLLABICATION: hook·er PRONUNCIATION: hkr NOUN: 1. One that hooks. 2. Slang A prostitute. WORD HISTORY: In his Personal Memoirs Ulysses S. Grant described Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker as “a dangerous man … not subordinate to his superiors.” Hooker had his faults. He may indeed have been insubordinate; he was undoubtedly an erratic leader. But “Fighting Joe” Hooker is often accused of one thing he certainly did not do: he did not give his name to prostitutes. According to a popular story, the men under Hooker's command during the Civil War were a particularly wild bunch, and would spend much of their time in brothels when on leave. For this reason, as the story goes, prostitutes came to be known as hookers. However attractive this theory may be, it cannot be true. The word hooker with the sense “prostitute” is already recorded before the Civil War. As early as 1845 it is found in North Carolina, as reported in Norman Ellsworth Eliason's Tarheel Talk; an Historical Study of the English Language in North Carolina to 1860, published in 1956. It also appears in the second edition of John Russell Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms, published in 1859, where it is defined as “a strumpet, a sailor's trull.” Etymologically, it is most likely that hooker is simply “one who hooks.” The term portrays a prostitute as a person who hooks, or snares, clients.

Corps command[edit]

Edited slightly to clarify that Hooker was made commander of I Corps before Antietam. The previous article had implied that he commanded III Corps (which was left in DC).

According to Eicher, the III Corps, AoV, ceased existence on Sept 12 and the I Corps, AotP, started up the same day. He did command III Corps Sept 6-12. Hal Jespersen 16:05, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

"Hooker" as a prostitute[edit]

I am 99.9% certain that the term "Hooker" was in fact derived from the fact that Hooker formalized the army brothels, which had previously existed, but until that point were not considered a part of the army. As soon as I get time, I will find a reliable source that proves this and change the article accordingly. Ninja! 02:01, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Copyright violation?[edit]

I just reverted an update that was an exact copy of that had no indication of permission or other suggestion of why it could be used here. see WP:COPYVIO. If I am wrong, I'll gladly revert my change (or feel free). I'll leave the editor a note as well. (John User:Jwy talk) 23:53, 12 May 2007 (UTC)


The main picture was appalling bad -- covered in scratches, dust, etc. I cleaned it up a bit in Photoshop and uploaded it, and then changed the picture in this article. Someone a little more experienced in photo restoration could probably take it even further. (I've previously uploaded a photo I took of Hooker's statue outside the Mass. Statehouse lower in the article.) Fogster 19:46, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Joseph Hooker[edit]

Graduated From U.S. Military Academy in 1837 =]

Joseph Hooker[edit]

Why dont you guys have any information on him. Dont forget there is no info on his parents =[

his mother was Mary M. Hartley his father was James D. Hooker  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:13, 27 May 2014 (UTC) 

Expanding on his changes to the Army[edit]

Would it be possible to include a little more about Hooker's renovations to the Army of the Potomac while in his charge? I remember reading all sorts of examples in Catton's book about that army (where is that damn little red book now when I need to use it?) and the obvious impact they had, just as initially McClellan and later Grant did. Although it can be argued both Hooker and Mac didn't fully use that army properly, it can also be argued all three of them pretty much saved it at very key times. Kresock (talk) 00:46, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Feel free to make specific suggestions here or edit the article to add the detail you are looking for. Please adjust the references and footnotes if you use sources other than those currently listed. Hal Jespersen (talk) 01:10, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I have found sources for the renovations Hooker made, mostly from Army of the Potomac; Glory Road by Catton, and another from the Official Records. They detail fixes to the daily diet of the gropos (veggies and such), lots of sanitary changes, accountability of the quartermaster system, addition and monitoring of company cooks, hospital reforms, an improved furlough system (one per company by turn 10 days each), acts to stem desertion (one from Lincoln combined with mail review, ability to shoot deserters, better camp picket lines), more and better drills, officer training, command changes (including asking for exiled Gen. Stone to be his chief of staff!!!), combining the calvary, etc.

I do not want to add 14+ paragraphs to the page, so I would like input as to which aspects to concentrate on for this article. Please feel free to ask for elaboration on any of these suggestions. Kresock (talk) 06:19, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

I would suggest that a single paragraph with about the level of detail you describe above would be the appropriate addition the article. In comparison, George B. McClellan had a lot greater impact on the organization of the Army of the Potomac than Hooker did, and his contributions are described in his much lengthier biography article in only the highest levels of detail. Hal Jespersen (talk) 17:11, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the ideas. I added the info I mentioned to the particular paragraph and updated the ref & notes for them. If necessary I can add more depth so just let me know. Is there a plan to in-line cite the rest of the page? I would help with that too. Kresock (talk) 03:25, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

I have inline cites on my to-do list, but it won't bubble up in priority any time soon. Help is always welcome. Hal Jespersen (talk) 15:36, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Dead end link?[edit]

I tried the last link from this page's reference section and got a 404 error for my troubles. The site is still running just the direct link is gone, however I could not find Hooker's bio there. It may be time to remove this link, but I was wondering what parts of the article use this ref so they might me cited from another source. Kresock (talk) 02:21, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

I fixed it. Thanks for finding. Hal Jespersen (talk) 16:14, 20 April 2008 (UTC)


I know the page says that there is no basis for this, but I learned in History that the term "hooker" comes from the phrase "Hooker's Army has the best whores" - although the term was used before the Civil War, Hooker did serve before then, and I see no reason why he couldn't have been in command somewhere before then. Can anyone else confirm this?

A little "back-history". . . although the generals did not specifically find whores or bring them along, they did have nurses as on-site medical aids - many of whom would also sell themselves as whores for money and for the pleasure of the men serving. So while General Hooker may not have set out to bring whores with him, word spread throughout the troops that his group always had the best whores as nurses. -- (talk) 15:01, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Cite, please? Just saying "I learned in History" could imply that your History teacher mentioned this as a good public speaker would an attention getting from time to time to keep the less enthusiastic students' attention - not that you would have needed the attention getter yourself, but there are always some who do. (talk) 13:38, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Hooker myth #2 and 2a[edit]

These statements:Hooker did not take the promotion with modest reserve. He was quoted as saying that the country at war would be best served by a dictator. and his hard drinking social life, even on the battlefield. both need some revision because they either perpetuate an old myth or are a little off in timing. Stephen W Sears, on pp.54-55, 60 and pp.505-506 of his book Chancellorsville shows convincingly that Hooker was not a hard drinker during the Civil War, nor was he ever intoxicated on the battlefield. Hooker did state that the country needed a dictator, but this was during the "Mud march", before he knew that he would be appointed to take Burnside's place (it should also be noted that Henry J. Raymond, editor of the New York Times, and the one who reported this statement to Lincoln, had a personal dislike of Hooker and was passing on second hand information from the Time's army correspondant William Swinton). Hooker did, however, have a reputation for being a man who often talked badly.(Sears p.54)

As for this: Despite this, Fighting Joe would set a very bad example for the conduct of generals and their staffs and subordinates. His headquarters in Falmouth, Virginia, was described as being a combination of a "bar-room and a brothel". these statements are completely uncited and should not be part of an encylopaedic article without there being at least some foundation of truth, or at least some explanation as to the accuracy of the claims. Hooker had plenty of enemies who enjoyed wrecking his reputation after the fact - Sears mentions Washington A Roebling as being one of them on p.506. Minorhistorian (talk) 09:53, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Requested Move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was: Article not moved. Station1 (talk) 05:29, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Joseph HookerJoseph Hooker (soldier) — Current article name is too easily confused with Joseph Dalton Hooker (more usually known as simply Joseph Hooker). the American general is undoubtedly very well-known in America, but I would suggest that globally the botanist is more notable. The page "Joseph Hooker" should be a dab page, with the contents of Joe Hooker moved here. DuncanHill (talk) 16:46, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Are you willing to personally update everything that links here? I stopped counting once I went over 750 articles.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 17:44, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Well I'm used to doing that for certain admins who don't even bother to ask before moving pages. Did you check that every one of those links was correct? It was the discovery of incorrect links here which spurred me to make the suggestion. DuncanHill (talk) 18:05, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Anyway, many of the incoming links are from templates, so easily fixed en masse. DuncanHill (talk) 18:07, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The general's page already has an ample disambiguation notice at the very top (unlike the botanist's) and I see no compelling reason to force hundreds of Civil War articles to change their links. You would conceivably have a point if the names were identical, but they are not. Hal Jespersen (talk) 18:16, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
The names are identical as normally used. The article on the botanist would be better placed at Joseph Hooker (botanist). The proposed move would make it easier to ensure that incoming links were correct (of course, if editors would rather have incorrect links, then leave it as it is). DuncanHill (talk) 19:11, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I am in no way in support of this move, but couldn't the traffic stats for this page be skewed by people looking for the botanist' article? So if someone was looking for Joseph Dalton Hooker and came to this page by mistake, that would increase article views for Joseph Hooker. Just an observation.--Jojhutton (talk) 18:56, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
It wouldn't matter. If we assumed that all of the hits for JD Hooker came here first you would still have (11,121-4,249 = 6,872) almost 7,000 to 4000 ratio favoring General Hooker...and we know that all of those hits for the botanist didn't come here. It would be nice to get the referral statistics from Wiki's Apache logs to get more precise answers.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 04:06, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd never heard of the general until someone corrected a link in an article on my watchlist. DuncanHill (talk) 19:12, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
That's fair. I'd never heard of the botanist until you suggested this move.Face-grin.svg
The reason why we know that there aren't that many confused folk coming here is gathered from relational studies of the traffic statistics. A general comparable in fame/notability to Hooker is Ambrose Burnside (12471 hits)...there is also George Meade (10902 hits), then ascending upwards we have George B. McClellan (31061 hits), William Tecumseh Sherman (51557), Ulysses S. Grant (181158), Robert E. Lee (193521) get the idea. The thing Hooker is most notably associated with is the Battle of Chancellorsville (26589) although he gets a fair mention in the Battle of Antietam (64331). Since I compared Hooker most closely with Burnside, the thing he is most noted for is the Battle of Fredericksburg (23022). These statistics establish a popularity trend about Hooker, his associates, and the American Civil War in general.
The botanist, JD Hooker at 4249 hits, is comparable to Asa Gray (3509), and gardeners Alan Titchmarsh (5321), Charlie Dimmock (4425), and surprisingly substandard-ranked designer, Diarmuid Gavin (1349). The highest rated thing I could find in the world of botany was one of my favorites, Carl Linnaeus (61851). The most notable thing associated with JD Hooker, I believe, is Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (10541) which contrasts against Chancellorsville's 26589 hits.
Indeed, the entire subject of Botany (51870) doesn't seem to hold a candle to the subject of the American Civil War (560511). So, I feel confident that the general is substantially more notable than the botanist.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 04:06, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I have to say if someone mentioned Joseph Hooker to me I'd immediately think of the general. And I'm British! -- Necrothesp (talk) 17:27, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Hooker's Railroad Extravaganza[edit]

(copied from Berean Hunter's talk page)

I put the mention of Hooker's grand railroad exploit back into his article WITH citation this time. I will continue putting it back in every time you remove it.

Rebels moving less than 4,000 men a mere 14 miles on rails proves nothing in comparison to moving 22,000 men nearly 12,000 miles in 7 days. Most history books, both military history and rail history, consider the rail use at Bull Run insignificant at best, a mere footnote to Hooker's efforts. Even the training material for the railroad brigade at Ft Eustis completely skips Bull Run to focus on Hooker's railroad extravaganza.

Also, who left you in charge of deciding if Hooker's rail use adds nothing to his list of achievements? It is quite literally the most important thing he ever did in the entirety of his military service, and one of the only things that occurred during the ACE that still has any bearing on the military today. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:08, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

I first reverted this addition with the edit summary "Rm unsourced...Confederates established this point at First Bull Run (Hoooker didn't do anything new)" and would then receive the above response on my talk page. The IP then added this edit which I have removed citing problems with original research.
The main problem that I have with both edits is that Hooker didn't prove anything new as what is written seems to imply. I used First Bull Run as an example which despite the IP's original research and incorrect claim that rail use at Bull Run was "insignificant at best", was the first time that major troop movements were achieved by rail. It indeed had a major impact and was a significant factor in the Confederacy's victory. His facts & figures concerning the movements to Bull Run are quite wrong but that isn't necessary to establish to refute his editing. The IP uses page 5 of this Osprey book to cite Hooker's achievement in 1863.
I counter that with the following:
"Before the battles of First Bull Run, Shiloh, and Chickamauga, for example, the Confederacy was able to shift thousands of troops quickly, by rail, from divergent locations and effect forceful concentrations against the enemy. In July 1862, General Braxton Bragg achieved the largest Confederate Railroad movement of the war when he dispatched 30,000 men from Mississippi to Chattanooga, Tennessee, by a roundabout, 776-mile route that avoided Union forces." from p. 352, The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference By Margaret E. Wagner, Gary W. Gallagher, James M. McPherson
I'm not totally against mentioning the feat accomplished by Hooker but it needs to be cited and accurate. He didn't prove the new technology as was written.
As to First Bull Run, I believe that you will find that Johnston moved 10,000 of his 12,000 troops for 57 miles (the last 34 by rail) in about 25 hours. He had far fewer trains to do this with as well. Using Osprey as a source is somewhat slipshod as they aren't considered all that accurate by reputation in view of more academic scholarly sources. (tongue-in-cheek) But seeing your penchant for this type of source any dummy can tell you First Bull Run's railway first is nothing to dismiss:
"Railroads: A first at First Manassas, Johnston's arrival by rail to Manassas marks the first time in military history that the railroad had been used to bring troops quickly into battle. Without the railroad, Johnston's army would have to spend many days on the march, arriving tired and worn out. The use of the railroad cut the time significantly, allowing Beauregard to mass Confederate forces at a single place to achieve a decisive effect on the enemy. After Manassas, generals would use railroads to concentrate widely dispersed forces and fight a battle. Troop movement by rail is still a hallmark of modern war." from p. 108, The Civil War for dummies By Keith D. Dickson

⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 00:32, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
Although moving these troops to Chattanooga was a significant achievement, two points need to be considered: (1) It is unclear what personal role Joseph Hooker played in this logistical effort (other than occupying a seat in a rail car), which is important to understand in a biographical article, versus an article about the campaign or about railroads during the war. This was primarily a War Department initiative, which Hooker certainly did not conceive or initiate. (2) The hyperbole needs to be tempered with the knowledge that the Confederates achieved a much more logistically difficult series of rail transfers, as cited above, even though more troops were involved in this movement. Hal Jespersen (talk) 18:35, 18 October 2011 (UTC)