By Arnold Blumberg “Fighting Joe” Hooker was fighting mad when he summoned his chief of cavalry, Brig. Gen. George Stoneman, to his headquarters at Falmouth, Virginia, on February 26, 1863. “We ought to be invincible, and by God, sir we shall be!” Hooker exclaimed. “You have got to stop these disgraceful cavalry surprises. And by God, sir, if you don’t do it, I give you fair notice; I will relieve the whole of you and take command of the cavalry myself.” Having lavished much care and consideration, including arms, equipment, horses, training, and better rations, on his horse soldiers since assuming command of the Army of the Potomac in late January, Hooker expected a solid return on his investment. Instead, his mounted arm had just experienced another embarrassing blow, one that not only mortified every member of the newly formed cavalry corps but led Hooker to wonder if his efforts to revive the cavalry service had been in vain. The source of Hooker’s ire was a recent cavalry foray by Confederate Brig. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, Robert E. Lee’s nephew. At Hartwood Church, Lee’s troopers had captured a number of Federal troopers along with their horses and equipment. Making the episode even worse from Hooker’s point of view, Federal pursuit of the Confederate raiders had rapidly degenerated into a comedy of errors that allowed the raiders to escape unharmed. Hooker’s rebuke of Stoneman notwithstanding, the consensus in the Army of the Potomac was that Brig


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