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Monday, 29 January 2018 19:24

Episode 28 - Life Lessons from the Civil War (Part III-Joseph Hooker)

Episode Description: 

In Episode 27 we learned there is an old English saying from the Bible (Proverbs 16:18), “Pride goeth before a fall.” That was certainly the case with Union General George McClellan, but also with General Joseph Hooker. Many times in 1862, the Northern armies greatly outnumbered their Southern foes, but the Rebel armies under the brilliant leadership of Lee, Jackson, and others, continually beat back the Yankee armies. When Lincoln named Hooker lead general of the Northern Army of the Potomac, Hooker boasted: “My plans are perfect, and when I start to carry them out may God have mercy on General Lee, for I will have none.”

That boast reminds me of another old English saying: Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. In Hooker’s case, he should have had more humility and less conceit when taking on the wily Lee, even though Hooker’s men outnumbered Lee’s by about two to one! Despite those lopsided odds, Hooker managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and led the Northern army to another horrific loss at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Lee’s stunning victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863 then gave him the confidence to invade the North, which led to the titanic struggle at Gettysburg in July. Had things at Gettysburg gone differently, Lee’s army might have invaded Washington, taken Lincoln prisoner, won the Civil War, and been independent! Truly an amazing “what if?” to think about.

Word of the Day: conceited (adj.) overly prideful; arrogant

Question of the Day: Where is the “fine line” between healthy self-confidence and conceit? Can one be confident, yet still humble? If so, how? 

Listen to Episode 28 below.  

Listen Here

Check your listening ability!

1. How many troops were in Hooker's army?

A. 1,000,000

B. 50,000  

C. 100,000

D. 100

 

2. Why was it conceited for Hooker to claim victory and prayer for God's mercy on General Lee?

 

3. T/F The day after Jackson was killed by his own men, Hooker's army was now outnumbered by Lee's army.

 

Answer Key:

1. C. 100,000

2. Conceited means to be self-centered and vain. He underestimated Lee's abilities and overestimated his own abilities.

3. False, Hooker still outnumbered Lee 2 to 1.

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Scott Dreyer

A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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