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[267]

VIII. the Chancellorsville campaign. April—May, 1863.


I. The Army under Hooker.

In an army composed of citizens of a free country who have taken up arms from patriotic motives in a war they consider just there is a perennial spring of moral renovation. Such armies have constantly exhibited an astonishing endurance, and, possessing a bond of cohesion superior to discipline, have shown their power to withstand shocks that would dislocate the structure of other military organizations.

The Army of the Potomac was of this kind. Driven hither and thither by continual buffets of fortune; losing its strength in unavailing efforts; changing its leaders, and yet finding no deliverance; misunderstood and unappreciated by the people whose battles it was fighting—it was not wonderful that it had sunk in energy. Yet, notwithstanding the untoward fortunes the Army of the Potomac had suffered, it could hardly be said to be really demoralized, for its heart was still in the war; it never failed to respond to any demand made upon it, and it was ever ready to renew its courage at the first ray of hope.

Such a day—spring came with the appointment of General Hooker to the chief command, and under his influence the tone of the army underwent a change that would appear astonishing, had not its elastic vitality been so often proved.

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A. Hooker (2)
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