Perhaps the most invidious subject fell to my lot. What I said was merely a summary of the foregoing pages. But one point in my lecture aroused the ire of some of Gen. Hooker’s partisans, and was made the subject of attacks so bitter that virulence degenerated into puerility. The occasion of this rodomontade was a meeting of Third-Corps veterans, and its outcome was a series of resolutions aimed at the person who had dared to reflect on Gen. Hooker’s capacity, and to refer to the question of Gen. Hooker’s habitual use of stimulants. The public mention of my name was as sedulously avoided as a reference to his satanic majesty is wont to be in the society of the superstitious; but the exuberance of the attack must have afforded unbounded satisfaction to its authors, as it very apparently did to the audience.
Following are the resolutions, which are of mild flavor compared to their accompanying seasoning of speeches:—
The veterans of the Third Army Corps assembled here to-day, soldiers who served under Gen. Joseph Hooker in his division, corps, and army, re-affirm their lifelong affection for their old commander, their admiration for his brilliant achievements as one of the prominent generals of our armies, and protest against the recent revival of unjust assaults made on his conduct at Chancellorsville. Whether, after one of the most noted tactical victories of modern times, having placed the Army of the Potomac across the Rappahannock River on the flank of Lee, he might have gained a still farther advanced position; whether the failure of the cavalry to fully accomplish what was expected of it; whether the disaster to the Eleventh Corps and the delay in the advance of the Sixth Corps,—are to be attributed to errors of judgment of Gen. Hooker or of the subordinate commanders, are points which will be discussed again and again with profit to the military student. But we, who witnessed his successful generalship at Williamsburg, Glendale, Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, and Antietam, have no language at our command strong enough to express our contempt for any one who, twenty years after the war, affirms that on any occasion in battle, with the lives of his men and the cause of his country in his keeping, Gen. Hooker was incapacitated for performing his whole duty as an officer by either the use of liquor or by the want of it.
We protest against oft-repeated statements that “Fighting Joe Hooker,” while one of the bravest and ablest division commanders in the army, was possibly equal to handling a corps, but proved a failure as an independent commander. Assigned to the Army of the Potomac in January, 1863, after the disaster at Fredericksburg and the failure of oft-repeated campaigns, our army demoralized by defeat, desertions, and dissensions, Gen. Hooker re-organized his forces, stopped desertions, brought back to their colors thousands of absentees, and in three months revived confidence, re-established