By 1st Lt. William Carraway
Public Affairs Office, Georgia Dept. of Defense
A New Union commander and a new strategy
Following the debacle of Fredericksburg in December 1862, President Abraham Lincoln replaced Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, commanding general, Army of the Potomac, with Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker. Hooker had achieved a reputation for brash action as a brigade, division and corps commander. He received the nickname “Fighting Joe Hooker” accidentally when a New York newspaper editor misread a headline describing the actions at the Battle of Williamsburg. Instead of printing the headline “Fighting – Joe Hooker” the editor ran the headline “Fighting Joe Hooker.”
Hooker took immediate steps to reorganize and refit an army shattered by the Fredericksburg defeat. He devised a system of unit identification badges, elements of which survive in today’s army. He established a distinctive badge for each of his corps and a distinctive color for each division within that corps. For the first time, Soldiers could be identified at the division level. This action improved unit morale and facilitated faster re-consolidation of forces following a battle.
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