Battle of Chancellorsville
The Bataille of Chancellorsville was one of the most important battles of the American Civil War in 1863. Also called " Lee' S perfect battle" (the perfect battle of Lee) because of its tactic, victorious but be likely to divide its forces vis-a-vis an enemy largely higher of number. The battle put at the catches the armed with Potomac ordered by the Major Général Joseph Hooker with a armed with Virginia of North smaller half ordered by the general Robert E. Lee assisted " Stonewall" Jackson. The audacity of Lee , combined with the pusillanimity of Hooker resulted in a very serious defeat from the Union.
The countryside began when the army of the union crosses the river Rappahannock, the morning of the April 27th 1863. Intense combat began on May 1st and ceased with only with the retirement of the soldiers of the union in the night from May 5th to 6th.
Armed with Potomac: general major Joseph Hooker.
Provost Marshall: general sergeant Marsena Rudolph Patrick.
1 body: general major John Fulton Reynolds.
- 1 division: general sergeant J.S. Wadsworth.
- 1 brigade: colonel Walter Phelps Jr.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant Lysander Cutler.
- 3 brigade: general sergeant Gabriel Rene Paul.
- 4 brigade: general sergeant Solomon Meredith.
- 2 division: general sergeant John Cleveland Robinson.
- 1 brigade: colonel A.R. Root.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant Henry Baxter.
- 3 brigade: colonel S.H. Leonard.
- 3 division: general major Abner Doubleday.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant Thomas Algev Rowley.
- 2 brigade: colonel Roy Stone.
- 2 bodies: general major Darius Nash Couch.
- 1 division: general sergeant Winfield Scott Hancock.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant John Curtis Caldwell, then colonel George W. von Schack.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant Thomas Francis Meagher.
- 3 brigade: colonel Samuel Kosciuszko Zook.
- 4 brigade: colonel J.R. Brooke.
- 2 division: general sergeant John Gibbon.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant Alfred Sully, then colonel H.W. Hudson, then colonel B. Laflin.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant Joshua Thomas Owen.
- 3 brigade: colonel N.J. Hall.
- 3 division: general major William Henry French.
- 1 brigade: colonel Samuel Sprigg Carroll.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant William Hays (captured), then colonel C.J. Powers.
- 3 brigade: colonel John Dunn Mac Gregor, colonel Charles Albricht.
- 3 bodies: general major Daniel Edgar Sickles.
- 1 division: general sergeant David Bell Birney.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant Charles Kinnaird Graham, colonel T.W. Egan.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant John Henry Hobart Ward.
- 3 brigade: colonel S.B. Hayman.
- 2 division: general sergeant Hiram Gregory Berry (killed), then general sergeant Joseph Bradford Carr.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant Joseph Bradford Carr, then colonel W. Blaisdell.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant Joseph Warren Revere, colonel J.E. Farnum.
- 3 brigade: general sergeant Gersham Mott, then colonel W.J. Sewell.
- 3 division: general major Amiel Weeks Whipple (killed), then general sergeant L.K. Graham.
- 1 brigade: colonel E. Franklin.
- 2 brigade: colonel S. Mr. Bowman.
- 3 brigade: colonel H. Berdan.
- 5 bodies: general major George Gordon Meade.
- 1 division: general sergeant Charles Griffin.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant James Barnes.
- 2 brigade: colonel James Mac Quade, colonel J.B. Sweitzer.
- 3 brigade: colonel T.B.W. Stockton.
- 2 division: general major George Sykes.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant Romeyn Beck Ayres.
- 2 brigade: colonel S. Burbank.
- 3 brigade: colonel P.H.O' Rorke.
- 3 division: general sergeant Andrew Atkinson Humphreys.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant Erastus Bernard Tyler.
- 2 brigade: colonel P.H. Allabach.
- 6 bodies: general major John Sedgwick.
- 1 division: general sergeant William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks.
- 1 brigade: colonel H.W. Brown, then colonel W.H. Penrose, then colonel S.L. Buck, then colonel W.H. Penrose.
- 2 brigade: colonel H.L. Cake.
- 3 brigade: general sergeant David Allen Russell.
- 2 division: general sergeant Albion Paris Howe.
- 2 brigade: colonel L.A. Grant, lieutenant colonel E. Martindale.
- 3 brigade: general sergeant Thomas Hewson Neill.
- 3 division: general major John Newton.
- 1 brigade: colonel A. Shaler.
- 2 brigade: colonel W.H. Browne, then colonel H.L. Eustis.
- 3 brigade: general sergeant Frank Wheaton.
- light Division: colonel H. Burnham.
- 11 bodies: general major Oliver Otis Howard.
- 1 division: general sergeant Charles Devens Jr., then general sergeant Nathaniel Hakes Mac Lean.
- 1 brigade: colonel L. von Gilsa.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant Nathaniel Hakes Mac Lean, then colonel J.C. Lee.
- 2 division: general sergeant Adolph Wilhem von Steinwehr.
- 1 brigade: colonel A. Buschbeck.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant Francis Channing Barlow.
- 3 division: general major Carl Schurz.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant Alexander Schimmelfennig.
- 2 brigade: colonel Wladimir Kryzanowski.
- 12 bodies: general major Henry Warner Slocum.
- 1 division: general sergeant Alpheus Starkey Williams.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant Joseph Farmer Knipe.
- 2 brigade: colonel S. Ross.
- 3 brigade: general sergeant Thomas Howard Ruger.
- 2 division: general sergeant John White Geary.
- 1 brigade: colonel C. Candy.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant Thomas Leiper Kane.
- 3 brigade: general sergeant George Sears Greene.
- Body of cavalry: general sergeant George Stoneman.
- 1 division of cavalry: general sergeant Alfred Pleasonton.
- 1 brigade of cavalry: colonel B.F. Davis.
- 2 brigade of cavalry: colonel T.C. Soothsayer.
- 2 division of cavalry: general sergeant William Woods Averell.
- 1 brigade of cavalry: colonel H.B. Sargent.
- 2 brigade of cavalry: colonel John Baillie Mac Intosh.
- 3 division of cavalry: general sergeant David Mac Murtrie Gregg.
- 1 brigade of cavalry: colonel J. Kilpatrick.
- 2 brigade of cavalry: colonel P. Wyndham.
- Brigade of cavalry of reserve: general sergeant John Buford Jr.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Marsena Rudolph Patrick: colonel W.F. Rogers.
- Brigade of the Genius: general sergeant Henry Washington Benham.
- Artillery: general sergeant Henry Jackson Hunt.
- Artillery of reserve: general sergeant Robert Ogden Tyler.
Army of Virginia of North: general Robert Edward Lee
- Division of general major Lafayette Mac Laws.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Joseph Brevard Kershaw.
- Brigade of the general sergeant William Barksdale.
- Brigade of the general sergeant William Tatum Wofford (casualty), then colonel R. Mac Milan.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Paul Jones Sow.
- Division of general major Richard Heron Anderson.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox.
- Brigade of the general sergeant William Mahone.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Winfield Scott Featherston.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Ambrose Ransom Wright.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Edward Aylesworth Perry.
- 2 bodies: general lieutenant Thomas Jonathan Jackson (killed), then general major Ambrose Powell Hill (casualty), then general sergeant Robert Emmett Grind, then general major James Ewell Brown Stuart.
- Division of general major Daniel Harvey Hill: general sergeant Robert Emmett Grind, then general sergeant Stephen Dodson Ramseur.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Robert Emmett Grind.
- Brigade of the general sergeant George Pierce Pare.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Alfred Holt Colquitt.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Alfred Iverson Jr.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Stephen Dodson Ramseur, then colonel F. Mr. Parker.
- light Division: general major Ambrose Powell Hill, then general sergeant Henry Heth (casualty), general sergeant William Dorsey Pender (casualty), then general sergeant James Jay Archer.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Henry Heth, then colonel J. Mr. Brockenbrough.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Samuel Mac Gowan (casualty), then colonel O.E. Edwards (casualty), then colonel A. Perrin, colonel D.H. Hamilton.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Edward Lloyd Thomas.
- Brigade of the general sergeant James Henry Lanee.
- Brigade of the general sergeant James Jay Archer, then colonel B.D. Fry.
- Brigade of the general sergeant William Dorsey Pender.
- Division of the general sergeant Jubal Anderson Early.
- Brigade of the general sergeant J.B. Gordon, colonel C.A. Evans.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Robert Frederick Hoke (casualty).
- Brigade of the general sergeant William Smith.
- Brigade of the general sergeant Harry Thompson Hays.
- Division of general major Isaac Ridgeway Trimble: general sergeant Raleigh Edward Colston.
- 1 brigade: general sergeant Franklin Elisha Paxton (killed), then colonel J.H.S. Funk.
- 2 brigade: general sergeant John Robert Jones, then colonel T.S Garnett (killed), then colonel A.S. Vandeventer.
- 3 brigade: general sergeant Raleigh Edward Colston: colonel E.H.T. Warren (casualty), then colonel T.V. Williams (casualty), then lieutenant colonel S.D. Thruston (casualty), then lieutenant colonel H.A. Brown.
- 4 brigade: general sergeant Francis Redding Tillon Nicholls (casualty), then colonel J. Mr. Williams.
- Artillery of reserve: general sergeant William Nelson Pendleton.
- Division of cavalry: general major James Ewell Brown Stuart.
- 2 brigade of cavalry: general sergeant Fitzhugh Lee.
- 3 brigade of cavalry: general sergeant William Henry Fitzhugh Lee.
TacticsOn paper, it was to be a question of one of the most unbalanced confrontations war. Union having approximately 130.000 soldiers while the confederation had only less than half of this number with approximately 60.000 soldiers. Moreover forces of the union were well better supplied and left rested several months of inactivity. The forces of Lee, moreover were scattered on all the State of Virginia, 15.000 soldiers of the army of Virginia de Nord could not arrive in time to help Lee.
The battle plans of the army of the union were, which more is, largely higher than the majority of the preceding plans. The army started from its winter quarters around Fredericksburg, where it was vis-a-vis Lee of the other with dimensions of the river Rappahannock. Hooker considered a broad surrounding of the armies of Robert Edward Lee, sending 4 army corps to circumvent its forces by the west while the large one of the troops was to directly attack Lee through Fredericksburg. During this time, 7.000 riders ordered by the Major Général George Stoneman were to carry out raids in the back lines of the confederation to destroy the provisioning along the way of Richmond to Fredericksburg.
However, in spite of its numerical superiority and of the ambition of its plans, the absence of qualified generals to the head of the Armée with Potomac ruined all its efforts.
The 27 and the April 28th, the 4 army corps of Potomac crossed the rivers Rappahannock and Rapidan in several places around a hamlet named Chancellorsville , while the second army of 30.000 men crossed it to Fredericksburg and that the cavalry of Stoneman left towards the back lines Lee.
May 1st, the general major Joseph Hooker had approximately 70.000 men and 108 guns concentrated around Chancellorsville, while Lee hopelessly tried to gather its forces. He opposed 40.000 men, while on his right wing, the Major Général Jubal Anderson Early occupied the solids positions of Marye' S height with Fredericksburg with 12.000 men, seeking to prevent the general major John Sedgwick from tackling the back keeps of Lee. The density of the vegetation prevented Hooker from determining the size of the forces of the general sergeant Early, moreover Lee ordered to them to deploy an important activity and a continuous fire to mislead the Northerners. The following day, of the combat took place close to Chancellorsville, the troops of the union having many problems to be driven in the coniferous trees and filled characteristic of the place. This was considered like one of the element-key for the victory by the generals of the union, if the battle proceeded in the coppices, the enormous advantage of the army of the union in the field of artillery was minimized, this one being not very effective on these grounds. However, Hooker had decided before to fight defensively and to force Lee, in numerical inferiority to attack.
With the Battle of Fredericksburg, the army of the union, offensive, had undergone a bloody defeat whereas it launched successive attacks against the confederated motionless ones on Marye' S height .
Hooker knew that Lee could not allow such losses, it thus required of its men to make retirement in the underwoods and to take a defensive position around Chancelorsville. It left the choice to Lee thus to tackle a difficult position or to make retirement, continued by a higher army of number.
May 2ndLee accepted the challenge and planned an attack for on May 2nd. The night previous the attack, Lee and its second, the lieutenant-general Stonewall Jackson reflect at the point a plan extremely dared and risked. They would divide their 40.000 men into two. Jackson would take 28.000 men of with dimensions to attack the right side of the union. Lee, during this time would order the 12.000 remaining men directly and would be opposed to the 70.000 men of Hooker with Chancellorsville. So that this can go, one needed many met conditions: It was necessary that Jackson carries out a walk of 18 kilometers by roads diverted to circumvent the army of the union, and it had to be done without being located. Then, it was necessary for Lee that Hooker remains on the defensive. It was necessary also that Early can contain Sedgwick with Fredericksburg. And especially, it was necessary that the attack of Jackson takes the troops Nordistes completion by surprise.
Surprisingly, all these conditions were met: The cavalry of the major-general Stuart prevented the Northerners from locating Jackson and its troops in their operations (which took almost all the day). The only location of the operations occurred whereas Jackson was withdrawn in the south of Chancellorsville and this was badly interpreted by Hooker, with the advantage of confederated: Hooker thought that the Nordiste cavalry of George Stoneman had succeeded in cutting the provisioning of Lee and that Lee was about to make retirement. Therefore, it remained on its positions and did not plan to make a massive attack, sending right sound 3°corps of 13.000 men ordered by the major-general Sickles. This one captured some crumbs of the second body of Jackson then stopped.
John Sedgwick (in Fredericksburg) and Joseph Hooker found themselves in the impossivility to communicate because of a breakdown of telegraph between the two. And when Hooker finally succeeds in ordering in Sedgwick in the evening of the 2 to late attack Early, this one did not do it, thinking that Early laid out of more than men than it really did not have any.
But the main reason of the failure was the incompetence of the commander of the 11°Corps of army of the union, the Major Général Oliver Otis Howard, which was on the right wing of the union. This one neglected to take defensive precautions in spite of the orders of Hooker in this direction. The right wing was not at all sheltered and the only precaution against an attack of side consisted of two guns directed towards the thickets. To worsen the things, the 11°Corps was a little trained unit, composed almost entirely of German immigrants, about which some did not speak English. To 16:30, the 28.000 men of Jackson left filled and completely took the soldiers of Howard by surprise while the majority of them were occupied cooking. More than 4000 were made prisoners before have been able to draw a shot and the majority of the others left in rout. Only one of divisions of the 11°Corps offered a temporary resistance. To fallen the day the 2°corps had progressed of more than 3 km, until being for Chancellorsville and was any more separated from the army of Lee only by the army corps from Sickles which was always at the place where its attack of the morning had been completed. Hooker even had been slightly wounded for him when a Sudiste ball had reached the pillar against which it rested on most extremely of the engagements at his HQ. Although very handicapped, he refused to transmit the command to his second, the general Darius Nash Couch and this was detrimental with its command the following days, making it particularly nervous and disturbing its judgment.
Died of JacksonHooker as Jackson made errors there this night, Jackson lost the life of it. Dubitative Hooker as for the capacity of Sickles to be preserved covering it conquered in the Sudistes positions brought back his 3°Corps of army on Chancellorsville during the night.
Unfortunately, that gave two advantages to confederated:
- They could gather the forces of Lee and those of Jackson
- They could take the control of a high clearing called Hazel Grove , one of the rare places or the artillery could be effective.
Sickles was bitter to have to thus leave the free field to the enemy, his insubordinations with Peach Orchard at the time of the Bataille of Gettysburg one month later can be more easily appreciated with this light. The error of Jackson was to want to push its advantage to prevent that Hooker can regain the lost positions this day, It was in recognition with horse when it was taken under a friendly fire. Its wound, benign with the first access, was worsened by a pneumonia which it contracted during the amputation of its arm, it died on May 10th, with the great despair of all the confederated camp.
May 3rd, the general major Ambrose Powell Hill which had replaced Jackson wounded with the head of the 2°Corps of army was immobilized, it took council near the general sergeant Robert Emmett Rodes, the older second of the body which was of agreement with its decision to require of James Ewell Brown Stuart to replace it what would be announced to Lee later. This intrepid rider showed also a good chief of infantry, it decided to launch a massive attack on the whole of the face. Helped by Hooker which withdrew its troops of Hazel Grove , it placed there its artillery which could bombard that of the union. Wild combat engaged the evening when Stuart launched its troops to the attack of the Nordistes lines which lost foot gently, under the pressure and in consequence of a shortness of provisions and reinforcements. The evening even, confederated had captured Chancellorsville and Hooker had to gather its troops exhausted on defensive positions around their only way of possible retirement.
The battle was still undecided, with most extremely of the engagements it had still ordered in Sedgwick to tackle the back keeps of Lee and once more this one had tergiversated before nothing to make.
The evening, it finally decided to tackle the position of Early, (that this one had left besides following an order of badly interpreted Lee) and conquered it, too late in the course of the day to be able to help Hooker. In fact, a simple brigade of troops of the Alabama ordered by the sergeant-general Cadmus Wilcox put itself across their road on the Orange Plank Road , in the west of Fredericksburg and succeeds in still delaying an advance already extremely slow. Reinforcements ordered by the major-general Lafayette Mac Laws arrived of Chancellorsville late in the course of the day and rejoinrent Wilcox with the church of Salem 6 km in the west of Fredericksburg it succeeded in preventing Sedgwick from joining Chancellorsville.
The combat of May 3rd among were started of the war and could alone have been considered in the list of the battle bloodiest. Approximately 18.000 men also divided in the two camps were killed or wounded this day.
Since the evening of the 3 and all the 4, Hooker remained cut off from its positions, while Lee and Early attacked Sedgwick. Sedgwick after having taken defenses of Early, neglected to make safe Fredericksburg. Early reconsidered its steps then and re-occupied the heights in the west of the city, dividing the forces of Sedgwick.
During this Lee time the division of the general major Richard Heron Anderson brought back since the face of Chancellorsville and could reinforce McLaws before Sedgwick carried out only if few men were vis-a-vis him. Sedgwick was shown as stubborn in defense as it had been hesitant to attack and it resisted this day there before being folded up beyond the Rappahannock to rivet with Banks' Ford during the night last hours of the 5. Ironically, it was about another communication error between Hooker and him, Hooker wanting simply that he holds Banks' Ford so that Hooker can be withdrawn from Chancellorsville and recross the river with Banks' Ford to counter-attack. When he learned that Sedgwick had left southern bank, Hooker thought that he did not have any possibility of saving the battle and in the night of the 5 to the 6 he made retirement in the North of the river.
AssessmentGeorge Stoneman, after one week of unfruitful raids in the center and the south of Virginia or it had not attacked any the laid down objectives folded up on worms the lines of the army of the union in the east of Richmond the May 7th, finishing the countryside.
A notable characteristic of the battle was the terrible conditions of combat, the soldiers were lost in the thickets among which many fires occurred. One reported cases of wounded burned alives by these fires.
Lee, although exceeded in proportions of 5 per 2, gained its greater battle of the war for which it however paid a very high price. For only 52.000 troops, it had more than 13.000 soldiers out of combat, losing 25% of its troops that the confederation, of limited population could not replace so easily only the union. Almost also tragically, it lost several of its best generals, the first of which Thomas " Stonewall" Jackson, its most offensive general. The loss of Jackson was going to be felt one month later at the time of the Bataille of Gettysburg.
Hooker, which began the countryside by saying that it had " 80 chances out of 100 to be vainqueur" , the battle because of problems of communication lost, of the incompetence of its generals (in particular Howard and Stoneman, without forgetting Sedgwick), and of errors of its share. The errors of Hooker are, inter alia, the abandonment of its offensive on May 1st and the order with Sickles to leave Hazel Grove and to withdraw on May 2nd. He neglected also the placement of his troops: approximately 40.000 of its men did not draw a shot from the battle. When one asked him later why it ordered the stop of advanced on May 1st, it answered: " For the first time, I lost faith in Hooker"
On the 90.000 soldiers of the union who engaged the hostilities, only 17.000 were put out of combat in the battle, a rate of loss quite lower than that of confederated and this without taking into account the 4.000 men of the 11°Corps who went without fighting in the initial panic of May 2nd.
The tactics of Hooker to force Lee to attack it were certainly good in its concept but tragically weak by the way in which it was applied by him and its staff. The confrontation itself showed that the armies of the union had reached a level comparable with the armies hitherto higher of Lee, which would be redémontré later in Gettysburg. Lee, perked up by the victory felt invincible and the victory decided it to continue its advantage by attacking the Pennsylvania with its army of Virginia of North what would lead to the battle of Gettysburg 2 months later.
The Union was shocked by the defeat, one reports that Abraham Lincoln known as: " My God! My God! What will say the country? " The careers of some generals suffered from the battle. Hooker dismissed Stoneman for incompetence. Couch if was disgusted direction of Hooker (and its permanent political operations) which it resigned and was named responsible for the Milice of Pennsylvania. Hooker itself was dismissed on June 28th, right before the Bataille of Gettysburg.
- Dupuy, R. Ernest, Dupuy, Trevor NR., and Braim, Paul F., Military Heritage off America , McGraw-Hill, 1956, ISBN 0-8403-8225-1.
- Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: In Military History off the Civil War , Simon & Schuster, 2001, ISBN 0-684-84944-5.
- Esposito, Vincent J., '' West Point Atlas off American Wars '', Frederick A. Praeger, 1959.
- Foote, Shelby, Civil The War, has Narrative: Fredericksburg to Meridian , Random House, 1958, ISBN 0-394-49517-9.
- Sears, Stephen W., Chancellorsville , Houghton Mifflin, 1996, ISBN 0-395-87744-X.
- National Park Service battle description
- The Brothers War: The Battle off Chancellorsville
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