In early May 1863, the Army of the Potomac was at the height of its power as it bore down on Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia near Fredericksburg, where the Confederates had defeated the Union the previous December. Although heavily outnumbered, Lee’s army persevered and went on to win the Battle of Chancellorsville, perhaps its most impressive tactical victory. The battle is famous for Lee’s decision to split his army in the face of the Army of the Potomac, despite being outnumbered, having Stonewall Jackson march around the Union’s right flank and surprising the XI Corps with an attack. The bold tactics eventually resulted in General Hooker ordering his army’s retreat, paving the way for Lee to invade Pennsylvania.
However, Lee would lose his “right arm” at the Battle. Stonewall Jackson had become famous for his role at the First Battle of Bull Run, the 1862 Valley Campaign, and Second Manassas, but the flank attack at Chancellorsville may have been his greatest feat in the Civil War. But Jackson was struck down the very night of the attack, mortally wounded by his own men during the night of May 2, 1863 after conducting scouting ahead of his own lines. Jackson would die 8 days later,
Before all of the generals relived the Battle of Chancellorsville in their memoirs, they wrote official accounts of the campaign to their superiors, and those accounts were preserved in the Official Records. This collection of Union generals’ accounts of the battle includes the accounts of Commanding General Joe Hooker, XI Corps Commander Oliver O. Howard, VI Corps Commander John Sedgwick, and General Winfield Scott Hancock. It is specially formatted with a Table of Contents for each general’s account, and pictures of the generals who fought in it.