Although he was an able journalist, a gifted orator, and a talented party organizer, Hawley failed to win prominence as governor, congressman, or senator. His major contributions as a lawmaker were to strengthen the regular army and to help shape the nascent Civil Service Commission. He left a larger mark as a regimental, brigade, and division leader during the Civil War. His devotion to duty and his fearlessness under fire won the respect of his troops, but his impulsiveness and hypercritical nature involved him in feuds with several superiors. Antagonists included West Pointers, such as Henry W. Benham and Quincy A. Gillmore, as well as political generals, including Butler, whom Hawley threatened to beat up on at least two occasions.
Edward G. Longacre, "Hawley, Joseph Roswell," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/05/05-00329.html.