officer's mode of conducting operations, and at times too much space is given to discussing the exact measure of responsibility which attached to him for various failures.
This, too, has diverted the author's attention from shortcomings of others that might fairly have come in for a larger share of blame than is assigned to them; not that we think Colonel Dodge
is unjust to General Hooker
; he is simply not generous.
Nor, it must be confessed, has General Hooker
, in this matter, any claim to generous treatment.
proved his ability and courage on many fields, and left behind him a reputation that may well be dear to his friends.
But the Chancellorsville campaign
, in which, having assumed the offensive at his own time and place, he allowed himself to be thrown upon the defensive, and then beaten by an army less than half as numerous as his own, was a demonstration of incapacity for the chief command of a large army, which needed no additional illustrations to make it satisfactory.
His taste, too, was as faulty as his judgment.
For his proclamations were as bombastic as his performance was impotent.
makes an altogether higher and more reputable figure in history than General John Pope
, but his orders and despatches during the Chancellorsville campaign
often recall the rare series with which Pope
illustrated his too brief career in Virginia
the preceding summer.
This, however, was a small matter, compared with selfish and ungenerous efforts that Hooker
always made to throw the blame of his failure on any shoulders other than his own, and which have properly provoked severe treatment from many of his comrades.
But if Colonel Dodge
has criticised General Hooker
not more severely than he deserved, he has been very kind, to say the least, towards General Sedgwick
, and far too lenient, in view of the facts, to General Howard
The manner in which Sedgwick
's slowness is explained, and the hesitation with which he is blamed for his feeble handling of the strongest corps in the Federal
army is hardly fair.
Much less so is the failure to criticise Howard
for his mismanagement of the Federal
right flank, a mismanagement which placed his own corps, at the very onset of the struggle, hors du combat
, which initiated a panic whose disastrous effects were probably only checked by the fall of Jackson
, and which led, more than any other one thing, to Hooker
's subsequent defeat.
's outlook, at the beginning of the Chancellorsville campaign
, was highly favorable.
He had over 130,000 well-drilled and well-equipped soldiers, the mass of them trained to war in the great struggle of 1862.
He lay on the north side of the Rappahannock
, opposite Fredericksburg
, within a dozen miles by railroad of the Potomac
and his depots of supply.
In his front, on the south side of the