Battle of Chancellorsville

Thursday, April 30, 1863 to Wednesday, May 6, 1863

Kurz & Allison portrait of the Battle of Chancellorsville. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Major General Joseph Hooker, who replaced Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac after the Battle of Fredericksburg, leads Union forces back across the Rappahannock River, this time near Chancellorsville, Virginia. General Robert E. Lee, outnumbered 2-to-1, gambles and sends General Stonewall Jackson's corps through the wilderness in an attempt to outflank the Union forces. Lee's unorthodox decision to divide his forces ultimately pays off, and the battle is won, but Jackson is mortally wounded by friendly fire. View a video clip of historian Ethan S. Rafuse discussing "Fighting" Joe Hooker at the Kansas City Public Library. The battle continues a series of disappointing performances by the commanders of the Army of the Potomac, as General Hooker's tactics kept nearly 1/3 of the Union Army's soldiers out of the battle. For the South, the battle is remembered as Lee's "perfect battle," as he prevailed against seemingly overwhelming odds. The Confederate losses are steep, though, as Lee loses General Stonewall Jackson and more than 22% of the Army of Northern Virginia. For his part, General Hooker is relieved of command just three days before the Battle of Gettysburg


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