Through the mist early on the morning of Sept. 17, 1862, Joseph Hooker spied his objective from the edge of this strip of woods: the high ground about 3/4 of a mile away and small white-washed building, the Dunker Church. And as it grew lighter and the sun burned off the fog, the commander of the Union I Corps could see in the distance the glint of the bayonets of Rebel troops massed in the 32-acre cornfield of farmer David R. Miller.
|I Corps commander General Joseph Hooker was|
wounded in the right foot at Antietam.
As the I Corps marched out of the North Woods at the start of the battle, the soldiers were shelled by Rebel artillery from Nicodemus Heights, causing casualties and confusion. Hooker, too, became a casualty later that morning. Astride his white horse, he was wounded on the inner side of his right foot by a minie ball -- "without his knowledge," he wrote in his report -- and taken to the Philip Pry farm for treatment. For him, the Battle of Antietam was over.
"Gen. Hooker is open in the expression of his amazement that the rebel army failed to be captured or destroyed, a result which he did not deem possible to fail, when he was borne from the field," the New York Times
Of course, Hooker got his "great command" when he was promoted to commander of the Army of Potomac on Jan. 26, 1863. He put himself in harm's way again later that year. On May 3, 1863, as the general observed the Battle of Chancellorsville from the second-floor porch of the Chancellor House, he was knocked senseless when an artillery shell crashed into a pillar he was leaning against.