Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative
Image: 8.9 × 5.9 cm (3 1/2 × 2 5/16")
Sheet: 12.7 × 10.2 cm (5 × 4")
Mat: 35.6 × 28.1 cm (14 × 11 1/16")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Born Hadley, Massachusetts
Following General Ambrose Burnside’s resounding defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, President Lincoln named the charismatic Joseph Hooker as commander of the Army of the Potomac in January 1863. With signature bravado, Hooker proclaimed, "May God have mercy on General Lee, for I will have none." But it was Lee who emerged victorious in May when his vastly outnumbered Army of Northern Virginia bested Hooker’s forces at Chancellorsville, Virginia. When Lincoln’s confidence in him plummeted, Hooker asked to be relieved of his command. He was succeeded by General George Gordon Meade just days before the Battle of Gettysburg. In the autumn of 1863 Hooker returned to the field as a corps commander in the war’s western theater, where he contributed to the Union victory at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. He later served ably in Sherman’s Atlanta campaign but relinquished his command when he was passed over for promotion.