I've always wondered about how the Battle of Gettysburg would have gone if Hooker stays in command of the Army of the Potomac. So I ask you my panel of experts, does it play out the same way? Hooker was more aggressive I believe than Meade. But the high ground of Gettysburg was so strong does he stay on defense? Would he have pursued Lee more aggressively afterwards? Hooker was a very capable general. Although he had a tendency of stabbing his superiors in the back. Anyway just curious to everyones thoughts on Hooker at Gettysburg.
Difficult. I think Chancellorsville would have been a case of utter failure makes recklessness with Hooker wanting to avenge his defeat. With how well secrets were kept in the war the North probably knew Jackson was dead and Hooker would have probably felt that that would have meant there wouldn't be another Chancellorsville.
However, if we say that Day 1 goes the same as it does with Meade, then Hooker may have felt that he had a defendable position and might have held it without getting aggressive. If he remained on the defensive then I think he could have won. But I think had he gotten aggressive then Chancellorsville would have come back to haunt him.
I do not think Meade had much to do with Day 1, so he inherited the Cemetary ridge line. He recognized it as being an excellent postion and he took advantage of it. He also knew Lee's penchant for being aggressive and I am sure he knew all he had to do was wait for Lee to attack.
Hooker on the other hand did have the Chancellorsville debacle from his past and would have been looking to redeem himself. I do believe he would have been more aggressive which would have made Gettysburg even more bloody than what it was. I am not sure that by him being more aggressive would have made much of a difference in the battle since in the real battle the Union did have a lot more troops and some corps that did not see much action at all.
I'm torn on how he would have fought the battle. I can see it playing out both ways as far as aggressiveness on Hooker's part. He would want to redeem himself after Chancellorsville. So would he realize how good a position he was in defensively or want to deal a counterblow and get ppayback for Chancellorsville.
Also would Sickles do his stupid advance with a commander like Hooker in charge? I kind of wonder if Sickles advanced because he thought Meade inexperienced in overall command and didn't know what he was doing sort of thing.
Sickles was a Hooker man. I've seen it argued that he either misunderstood Meade's order on the Day 2 or deliberately ignored the order because he didn't like Meade being in command. If he misunderstood Meade's order, then he could do the same with Hooker. But if deliberately disobeyed the order, then you have to think he probably wouldn't have done the same if Hooker was still in command.
Hooker didnt know how to use cavary very effectively, he used his cavary predominately at chancellorsville to guard the supply wagons... if he had done the same during the gettysburg campaign then gettysburg my have never of happened. But if he had used them effectively and the 1st day went the same i think Hooker would have been very cautious. Chancellorsville taught him what cockiness can do to a commander Then you have to wonder about the night of the 2nd. would Hooker listen to the opinion of his corp commanders? He didnt at Chancellorsville. One hard day and i think he would have pulled back to a new defensive position.
Last edited on Sun Nov 6th, 2011 04:43 am by csamillerp