Saturday, May 4, 2013

Battle of Salem Church

See all posts about the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Battle of Salem Church
In the battles of the last three days, Lee had beaten back Hooker, but he was still in a dangerous position. Sedgwick on his flank, advancing from Fredericksburg. 150 years ago today he would adopt another daring plan. While Stuart kept Hooker's men contained with Jackson's old Second Corps, Lee, with the contingent of the First Corps present, would deal with Sedgwick. Confederate General Jubal Early was able to reoccupy Marye's Heights at 7:00 am. Sedgwick was forced back into a horseshoe position with both flanks on the river, very much like Hooker's position to the west. He had received no aid or orders from Hooker, other than an authorization to fall back across the river if he thought it necessary.

Union troops in a tench at Fredericksburg
Lee pushed Sedgwick throughout the day, but the attacks were disorganized, and were unsuccessful in breaking the Union line. Fighting raged around Salem Church. Many bullets struck the church, and their marks can still be seen to this day. Lee ordered a night attack be made, but it was morning before they were able to reach the Union lines. They found Sedgwick's trenches empty. With Hooker's permission he had retreated across Bank's Ford during the night.


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