The Battle of Chancellorsville 30 April - 6 May 1863
By the Spring of 1863, the Union Army was on its third general and lost some key battles. After the stalemate at Antietam in September of 1862, General McClellan was relieved of command, and Burnside was appointed General of the Army of the Potomac. In December 1862, Burnside lost at the Battle of Fredericksburg and was soon relieved of command, and President Lincoln appointed Hooker as General in early 1863. Union and Confederate forces would meet in the Spring of 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville, a few short miles from where the Battle of Fredericksburg occurred months earlier.
Union forces were roughly 97,000, while the Confederate forces were approximately 57,000, and both sides suffered over 12,000 casualties. To Lincoln's dismay, Hooker's hesitancy cost the Union a victory making Chancellorsville Lee's most significant victory (as some would say). Lee's success allowed him to move into PA, leading to the Battle of Gettysburg; however, Chancellorsville did provide Lee with a significant blow with the death of Stonewall Jackson.
Visiting the Battlefield:
The Chancellorsville Battlefield is near the Fredericksburg, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Courthouse battlefields. The NPS maps them all out in one map, and visiting them all in one day is very doable—I did it! That said, here are some tips and tricks focused on Chancellorsville:
This is a driving battlefield with marked stops to get out.
The visitor center is where Jackson was shot (by his men) and has an excellent learning area.
This battlefield is GREAT for hikers. Numerous trials range in length but are, on average, 3 miles per trail.
The battlefield is sliced and diced by many busy roads; it is easy to get off track if you do not use the map provided by the NPS. So make sure to grab one at the Visitor Center. The address to the Visitor Center is 9001 Plank Rd, Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA 22553
Finding Stonewall's Arm:
Stonewall's arm grave is not on the NPS map or the Chancellorsville Battlefield. It just happens to be located in the Wilderness Battlefield (a total coincidence since the Wildnerness happened a year after Jackson's death). It is buried in a family plot along the route of his ambulance, and a gate blocks the drive, BUT you can park outside the gate and walk the path. So here is how you find it:
Put this address into your GPS—36380 Constitution Hwy, Locust Grove, VA 22508
The turn is off a busy road on your way to the Wilderness Welcome Center and is easy to miss. A sign at the turn will mention a house, and it is a gravel road. If you think it is the wrong turn, it is probably the right one.
Drive up the road until you get to the gate and park outside to walk the rest. You will walk up a gravel path to a house that is closed for touring.
Once you get to the house, a path will take you into the field, and finally, you will see some signs. His arm is buried near a tree and is enclosed by a wooden fence.
Location of Stonewall's Death
The location of Stonewall's death is about 20-30 mins from the Visitor Center but worth doing if you have the time. The address is 12019 Stonewall Jackson Rd, Woodford, VA 22580. The building is closed, but you can walk the property and be sure to peep into the windows; they put up some signage to read.
There you have it! My tour of the Chancellorsville Battlefield. I hope you enjoyed it and found the tips helpful.