On January 25, 1863, President Lincoln appointed Joseph Hooker to head the Army of the Potomac. A Massachusetts native, Hooker graduated West Point in 1837 and served in the war against Mexico from 1846 to 1848.
Appointed Brigadier General in 1861, Hooker earned the nickname “fighting Joe.” He is perhaps better known, however, for another moniker that he actually had no part in earning. Due to the general’s alleged predilection for hard drink and easy women, a legend emerged that prostitutes attached to his division were called “Hookers girls,” or simply “Hookers.” In fact, the term had likely been used before the Civil War.
Although successful in improving army morale, diet, sanitation and medical care, Hooker was relieved of his command just three days before the critical Battle of Gettysburg.