Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Battle of Chancellorsville – May 1, Council of War

See all posts on the Battle of Chancellorsville

As the fighting wound to a close on May 1, 150 years ago today, Stonewall Jackson met with Robert E. Lee near the Confederate line. Jackson told Lee he thought that Anderson and McLaws were making too easy progress. He thought that Hooker would soon retreat across the river. Lee disagreed. “But, General,” he replied, “we must get ready to attack the enemy, if we should find him here tomorrow, and you must make all arrangements to move around his right flank."

Lee and Jackson began planning what would go down as one of the greatest Confederate feats of the war. If Hooker remained, Lee planned to again break the established rules of warfare and divide his force in the face of the superior enemy. While this conference was progressing, JEB Stuart arrived with a report from his cavalry. He said that Fitz Lee, a cavalry general and Robert E. Lee's nephew, had discovered that the Federal right flank was in the air. There was nothing to stop Jackson from marching around and surprising the Federals. Lee decided that he would take this opportunity. Studying the maps, they agreed on a route that Jackson would take in his march early the next morning. Lee asked him what troops he proposed to make the attack with. "With my whole command," Jackson answered. Lee responded, "What will you leave me here to hold the Federal army with?" "The two divisions you have here," replied Jackson. Lee paused for a moment, doubtless to consider the tremendous risks the plan would entail. Jackson wished to leave Lee only two divisions to hold back Hooker's fifteen. Lee quickly made up his mind. "Well, go ahead," he said. This would be Jackson's most brilliant attack of the war.


Gerald said...

War is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

Your article is very well done, a good read.

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