Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9: General Burnside

On this date in History .... 1862:
Ambrose Burnside is appointed command of the Union Army, replacing Gen’l McClellan less than 2 months after Gen’l McClellan failed to pursue Gen’l Lee. Born in Liberty, IND, Burnside was a West Point graduate but did not feel qualified to lead the Army. His lasting claim to fame, however, is his legacy in facial hair fashion: his trademark facial hair gave birth to the word “Sideburns”. 

About a month after his appointment to lead the Union Army, he led the Army to invade Richmond VA, leading to a costly defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg with 13,000 casualties.  Officers began to mutiny against Burnside. He was removed from command and replaced by Gen’l Hooker the following January 26, 1863. 

While Gen’l Hooker was credited with restoring morale and being an outstanding administrator, he is also described as the most “immodest and  immoral” Union commander. His headquarters was known as the party place and it is said the immoral women that were frequent visitors became known as “Hooker’s Girls”.

Over the years, this was shortened to just “Hooker’s” but while the slang term to describe prostitutes has been attributed to General Hooker and his entourage, the term “hookers” to describe these women has been found in print before the General Hooker legacy began.

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