Vain, self-applauding "Fighting Joe" Hooker, whose grandfather was a Revolutionary War officer, graduated from West Point in 1837 and fought in Mexico before resigning from the army in 1853 to take up farming in Sonoma, California.
He accepted a Union commission at the start of the war and led a division on the Peninsula and a corps at Antietam. After Fredericksburg, he secceeded Burnside, against whom he had schemed, in command of the Army of the Potomac. In May 1863, he launched a campaign that he boasted would destroy the Army of Northern Virginia. Instead, Hooker became the victim of the most brilliant of Lee's victories, Chancellorsville.
Removed from command on the eve of Gettysburg and transferred west, he led two corps under Grant at Chattanooga. Passed over for command of one Sherman's armies in 1864, he asked to be relieved of duty and never returned to the field, though he remained in the service until he suffered a stroke in 1868.