Abraham Lincoln was not trained as a military man. He once joked that as a young Illinois militia officer during the Black Hawk War, the only “live, fighting” enemies that he had attacked were mosquitoes. Yet, he was a remarkably self-confident commander-in-chief. Students in History 288 should be able to identify reasons for Lincoln’s self-assurance after reading articles about his wartime leadership from James McPherson and Brooks Simpson. As a test case involving their theories and other ideas about Lincoln’s wartime success, we will also conduct a close reading of Lincoln’s famous letter to Union General Joseph Hooker in January 1863.