why was the battle of chancellorsville fought
Battle of Chancellorsville, (May 1Б5, 1863), in the, bloody assault by the Union army in
that failed to encircle and destroy the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Gen. Stonewall Jackson's attack at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, May 2, 1863; colour lithograph. Following the Бhorror of FredericksburgБ (December 13, 1862), the Confederate army of Gen. and the Union force under Gen. had spent the winter facing each other across the in Virginia. On April 27 Hooker dispatched his cavalry behind LeeБs army, intending to cut off a retreat. Two days later he sent a diversionary force consisting of two corpsБroughly 30,000 men under the command of Gen. John SedgwickБacross the Rappahannock below and crossed upriver with the main body of his army. By May 1 his superior forces were massed near Chancellorsville, a crossroads in a densely forested lowland called the Wilderness. Deprived of his cavalry, however, Hooker was blind to LeeБs movements, and on May 2, when Lee ordered Gen. Бs Бfoot cavalryБ to swing around and attack the Union right, HookerБs surprised flank was routed.
The maneuver, which saw Lee violate basic military doctrine by dividing his forces in the face of a superior enemy, further cemented LeeБs reputation among both friend and foe. The Union general withdrew, and LeeБs pressure over the next three days forced a Union retreat north of the river. The SouthБs greatest casualty was the loss of Jackson, who was accidentally shot by his own men while returning from a reconnaissance of Union lines. He survived the amputation of his left arm in the field, but infection set in, and he died of pneumonia on May 10. Of 130,000 Union soldiers engaged at Chancellorsville, more than 17,000 were casualties (some 7,500 were killed or reported missing); of 60,000 Confederates, more than 12,000 were casualties (more than 3,500 were killed or reported missing). Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson (left) and Robert E. Lee meeting for the last time at the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1863. Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. (digital file no.
LC-DIG-pga-02907) Message to General Robert E. Lee from Stonewall Jackson, May 2, 1863, during the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia. The body of the message reads, БThe enemy has made a stand at Chancellor's which is about 2 miles from Chancellorsville. I hope as soon as practicable to attack. I trust that an ever kind Providence will bless us with great success. Respectfully, T. J. Jackson. Б Jackson's attack was the turning point of the battle. Jackson, Stonewall The wounding of Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863. Kurz Allison/Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. (neg. no. LC-USZC4-1760) Maj. Gen. Joseph HookerБs well-executed crossing of the Rappahannock River fords above Fredericksburg on April 30, 1863 placed most of his rejuvenated and reorganized Army of the Potomac on General Robert E. LeeБs vulnerable flank. б Rather than retreat before this sizable Federal force, Lee opted to attack Hooker while he was still within the thick undergrowth of the Wilderness. б After making contact with Lee on May 1st along the Orange Turnpike east of the Chancellor house, Hooker pulled his men back and surrendered the initiative to Lee.
Late that night, Lee and Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson conceived one of the boldest plans of the war. б Jackson, with 30,000 Confederates, would follow a circuitous route to the Union right and from there conduct an attack on that exposed flank. б The May 2nd flank attack stunned the Union Eleventh Corps and threatened HookerБs position, but the victorious Confederate attack ended with the accidental mortal wounding of Jackson. On May 3rd, the Confederates resumed their offensive and drove HookerБs larger army back to a new defensive line nearer the fords that held for two days. б Swinging east, Lee then defeated a separate Federal force near Salem Church that had threatened his rear. б Having divided and successfully fought his outnumbered army four times in the face of superior numbers, Lee's victory at Chancellorsville is widely considered to be his greatest of the entire war.
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