"Lee won but the South lost" Chancellorsville by etfromnc

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The Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville

On 27 April 1863, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac Gen. Joseph Hooker led the V, XI, and XII Corps on a campaign to turn the left flank of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia by crossing the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers above Fredericksburg. Passing the Rapidan via Germanna and Ely's Fords, the Federals concentrated near Chancellorsville on 30 April and 1 May. Union Gen. John Sedgwick's VI Corps and Gen John Gibbon's division remained closer to Fredericksburg to demonstrate against the Confederates there. In the meantime, Lee left a covering force under Gen. Jubal Early in Fredericksburg and marched with the rest of the army to confront the Federals. As Hooker's army moved toward Fredericksburg on the Orange Turnpike, they encounterer increasing Confederate resistance. Hearing reports of an overwhelming Confederate force, Hooker ordered his army to suspend the advance and to concentrate again at Chancellorsville. Pressed closely by Lee's advance, Hooker adopted a defensive posture, thus giving Lee the initiative. On the morning of 2 May, Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson directed his corps on a march against the Federal left flank, which was reported to be "hanging in the air." Fighting was sporadic on other portions of the field throughout the day, as Jackson's column reached its jump-off point. At 5:20 pm, Jackson's line surged forward in an overwhelming attack that crushed the Union XI Corps. Federal troops rallied, resisting the advance, and counterattacked. Disorganization on both sides and darkness ended the fighting.

While making a night reconnaissance, Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men and carried from the field. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart took temporary command of Jackson's Corps. On May 3, the Confederates attacked with both wings of the army and massed their artillery at Hazel Grove. This finally broke the Federal line at Chancellorsville. Hooker withdrew a mile and entrenched his forces in a defensive "U" with his back to the river at United States Ford. On the night of 5-6 May, after Union reverses at Salem Church, Hooker recrossed to the north bank of the Rappahannock. This battle is considered by many historians to be Lee's greatest victory.

  • Last visit to Chancellorsville: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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