7 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of Chancellorsville

Posted on

3. Lee won the battle—but at a high cost.

On the night of May 2, while returning from a reconnaissance mission, Jackson was accidentally shot by his own men, members of the 18th North Carolina Infantry, who had mistaken his group for Union cavalry. Jackson was hit three times—twice in the left arm and once in the right hand—and several of his men were killed by the friendly fire. When Lee learned of Jackson’s injuries, he wrote to his trusted lieutenant, stating that he wished he had been injured in Jackson’s place. After Jackson’s left arm was amputated, he seemed to be recovering well, but he soon developed pneumonia and died eight days after he was shot. Lee was devastated, reportedly saying that in losing Stonewall, he had lost his “right arm.” The death of Jackson, one of the South’s brightest stars and ablest generals, was a crushing blow to the Confederate cause.

4. Stonewall Jackson’s body is buried in two different places.

Following Jackson’s death, his body was transported to Richmond, where it lay in state for several days before his burial in Lexington, Virginia. But not all of the celebrated general made that final journey. Beverly Tucker Lacy, Jackson’s personal chaplain, had been well aware of Jackson’s fervent religious beliefs and arranged a proper burial for his amputated left arm in his family’s nearby cemetery. The following year, marauding Union soldiers reportedly dug up and reburied the limb. For nearly 40 years, the location of Stonewall’s arm remained unmarked, until one of his former officers, a member of the Lacy family, erected a stone monument—the only one in the plot—that reads “Arm of Stonewall Jackson May 3, 1863.” The location has become a pilgrimage site of sorts, drawing thousands of visitors every year.

5. Its 30,764 casualties made Chancellorsville the bloodiest battle in American history—briefly.

Nearly two-thirds of the battle’s casualties occurred on a single day—May 3, which produced more dead and wounded than the entire First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas). When the war ended in 1865, Chancellorsville ranked as the fourth deadliest clash of the Civil War, surpassed only by the battles at Gettysburg, Chickamauga and Spotsylvania Court House. Lee won the battle, but his 13,000 casualties equaled 22 percent of his fighting force—a number nearly impossible for the Confederacy to replace. When Lincoln learned of the Union’s losses (nearly 17,200 men) he was shocked, as was the rest of the North. Sadly, Chancellorsville maintained its grisly title for only a few short weeks before being eclipsed by the horrific casualties at Gettysburg.

PrevPage 2 of 3Next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *