Forthcoming titles

(Book titles are subject to change)

Algernon Blackwood's Shorter Supernatural Fiction (2 vols.)

Terrys Texas Rangers

The Last Crusaders

The Defeat of the U-Boats

Sup Richard Middleton

The Battle of Austerlitz

The Campaigns of Alexander

Sabre and Foil Fighting

The Fourth Leonaur Book of Ghost and Horror Stories

The Irish Legion

General Von Zieten

Armoured Cars and Aircraft

The Chinese Regiment

Texas Cavalry and the Laurel Brigade

The First Crusaders

The Lionheart and the Third Crusade

The Winnebagos

Roger Lamb and the American War of Independence

Gronow of the Guards

Plumer of Messines

... and more

The Campaign of Chancellorsville

enlarge Click on image to enlarge
enlarge Mouse over the image to zoom in
The Campaign of Chancellorsville
Qty:     - OR -   Add to Wish List

Also available at:

Amazon Depository Wordery

Author(s): Theodore A. Dodge
Date Published: 2009/12
Page Count: 208
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-867-4
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-868-1

A major Civil War battle—and Lee's triumph

The Battle of Chancellorsville was one of the principal engagements of the American Civil War. It was fought between Hooker's Army of the Potomac and Lee's Army of Northern Virginia which was half the size of the enemy. Battle was joined in Spotsylvania County, Virginia on April 30th 1863 and it raged until May 6th. Irrespective of the eventual outcome of the war, Chancellorsville has remained a text book battle for military historians. Lee, always renowned for command capability, here showed military nerve and audacity by dividing his army in the face of a vastly numerically superior enemy. Further, he demonstrated the maxim of 'know your opponent' for he clearly had the measure of the timid prevaricating Hooker. The outcome was an overwhelming Confederate victory and won the accolade, 'Lee's Perfect Battle'. The edge was taken off the success by the death of 'Stonewall' Jackson—a military genius both Lee and the Confederate cause could ill afford to lose. Dodge's history, written from a Union perspective, provides interesting mitigating circumstances concerning Federal actions and personalities—usually absent from later histories—for the student of the period to evaluate.

At this farm, called Hazel Grove, during the night, and until just before daybreak, holding a position which could have been utilized as an almost impregnable point d'appui, and which, so long as it was held, practically prevented, in the approaching battle, a junction of Lee's severed wings, had lain Birney's and Whipple's divisions. This point they had occupied, (as already described,) late the evening before, after Sickles and Pleasonton had finished their brush with Jackson's right brigades. But Hooker was blind to the fact that the possession of this height would enable either himself or his enemy to enfilade the other's lines; and before daybreak the entire force was ordered to move back to Chancellorsville. In order to do this, the intervening swamp had to be bridged, and the troops handled with extreme care. When all but Graham had been withdrawn, a smart attack was made upon his brigade by Archer of Hill's command, who charged up and captured the Hazel Grove height; but it was with no serious Federal loss, except a gun and caisson stalled in the swamp. Sickles drew in his line by the right, and was directed to place his two divisions so as to strengthen the new line at Fairview.
Reynolds's corps had arrived the evening before, and, after somewhat blind instructions, had been placed along the east of Hunting Run, from the Rapidan to the junction of Ely's and United-States Ford roads, in a location where the least advantage could be gained from his fresh and eager troops, and where, in fact, the corps was not called into action at all, restless however Reynolds may have been under his enforced inactivity.
The Eleventh Corps had gone to the extreme left, where it had relieved Meade; Sykes was already formed on Reynolds's left, (having rapidly moved to the cross roads at dusk on Saturday;) while Meade with the rest of his corps, so soon as Howard had relieved him, went into position to support this entire line on the extreme right of the Army of the Potomac. Thus three strong army corps henceforth disappear from effective usefulness in the campaign.
The Confederate position opposite Fairview had been entirely rectified during the night to prepare for the expected contest. The division of A. P. Hill was now in the front line, perpendicular to the road, Archer on the extreme right, and McGowan, Lane, Pender, and Thomas, extending towards the left; the two latter on the north of the road. Heth was in reserve, behind Lane and Pender. Archer and McGowan were half refused from the general line at daylight, so as to face, and if possible drive Sickles from Hazel Grove. Archer was taking measures with a view to forcing a connection with Anderson; while the latter sent Perry by the Catharpen road, and Posey direct, towards the Furnace, with like purpose.
Colston was drawn up in second line with Trimble's division; while Rodes, who had led the van in the attack on Howard of last evening, now made the third. The artillery of the corps was disposed mainly on the right of the line, occupying, shortly after daylight, the Hazel-Grove crest, and at Melzi Chancellor's, in the clearing, where the Eleventh Corps had met its disaster.
There was thus opposed to the Federal right centre, (Berry's, Whipple's, and Birney's divisions of the Third Corps, and Williams's of the Twelfth,) consisting of about twenty-two thousand men, the whole of Jackson's corps, now reduced to about the same effective; while Anderson, on the left of the plank road, feeling out towards the Furnace, and McLaws on the right, with seventeen thousand men between them, confronted our left centre, consisting of Geary of the Twelfth, and Hancock of the Second Corps, numbering not much above twelve thousand for duty.
Owing to Hooker's ill-fitting dispositions, and lack of ability to concentrate, the fight of Sunday morning was thus narrowed to a contest in which the Federals were outnumbered, with the prestige of Confederate success to offset our entrenchments.
The right and left wings proper of the Union army comprised the bulk and freshest part of the forces, having opposite to them no enemy whatever, unless a couple of cavalry regiments scouting on the Mine and River roads.
You may also like