Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

What was going on in 1863?

In 1861, the American Civil War had started. The war started due to the differences between the southern states and the northern states. The southern states supported slavery while the northern states were against it. This and many other differences led the southern states to break away from the Union and form a Confederacy of their own. The northern states, on the other hand, remained a part of the Union. The war was fought between the armies of the Union and the Confederacy. In 1863, the war was still going on.


Background of the Battle of Chancellorsville

By April 1863, the Union armies had scored many important victories and were already moving into the Confederate territories. The Confederacy feared that the Union army may get hold of their capital city of Richmond in Virginia.

So a Confederate army under General Robert E. Lee was stationed near Vicksburg to protect the capital. On the other hand, the Union army under General Joseph Hooker started arriving near the positions of the Confederate army by the end of April and soon the fighting began.

Commanders on both sides

The Union army was led by General Joseph Hooker. He commanded an army of 130,000 soldiers. The Confederate army, on the other hand, was led by General Robert E. Lee and comprised of only 60,000 soldiers.

When and where was the battle fought?

This was a long battle. Most other battles of the Civil War were fought in a day of two. But the Battle of Chancellorsville started on April 30, 1863 and continued until May 6, 1863. It was fought in Spotsylvania County of Virginia near the village of Chancellorsville.

The Fighting

The Union army was almost twice the size of the Confederate army. So General Joseph Hooker of the Union army split his army into two parts and decided to attack the Confederate army on two fronts. One part of the Union army was to attack from the front while the other was to attack the Confederate army from the side.

Fighting began on April 30. Instead of panicking, General Robert E. Lee divided his Confederate army into two portions as well and engaged both parts of the Union army. He led one part of the army while the other was led by the famous Confederate commander, Stonewall Jackson.

Robert E. Lee continuously moved around the Confederate army to attack different parts of the Union army without getting overwhelmed by the greater numbers of the Union soldiers. This tactic worked very well. Despite having so many soldiers, the Union army had to suffer repeated attacks from the Confederate and suffered many losses. After many days of fighting, the Union army finally retreated from the battlefield on May 7, 1863.

Result and Aftermath

The battle was a victory for the Confederacy. The Union army suffered around 17,000 casualties which include 1600 deaths. The Confederate army suffered around 13,000 casualties with around 1700 deaths. Although the Confederacy won, it lost one of the its famous and brave commanders during fighting – Stonewall Jackson.

Learn More about the Battle of Chancellorsville 1863 at Wikipedia