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The 11th Corps at the battle of Chancellorsville
The 11th Corps at the battle of Chancellorsville
Map taken from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: III: Retreat from Gettysburg, p.191
Return to battle of Chancellorsville
11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment
The 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment was a Union army regiment that participated in the American Civil War. It had the distinction of being the oldest unit in continuous service from Pennsylvania.
|11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment|
|Active||April 26, 1861 - July 1, 1865|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Part of||Army of the Potomac|
|Nickname(s)||"The Bloody Eleventh"|
|Engagements||Battle of Hoke's Run|
Battle of Cedar Mountain
Battle of Thoroughfare Gap
Second Battle of Bull Run
Battle of Antietam
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of North Anna
Battle of Cold Harbor
Battle of Hatcher's Run
Siege of Petersburg
Battle of Five Forks
2. A recent overhaul of the Union Army may have played a role in its defeat.
In January 1863, following the disastrous Union defeat and subsequent retreat from Fredericksburg by Ambrose Burnside, President Abraham Lincoln chose as his new commander Major General Joseph Hooker, one of Burnside’s fiercest critics. Soon after, two other senior Union generals resigned, leaving Hooker short on experienced field officers. When he set about reorganizing and streamlining the unwieldy Army of the Potomac, several of his key decisions backfired on him. He created a centralized cavalry unit—unusual for its time𠅊nd named Brigadier General George Stoneman to lead it. Stoneman performed poorly at Chancellorsville, continually failing to slow Lee’s advance. Another Hooker move, the reorganization of the 11th Corps under Major General Oliver Howard and the unpopular and cruel Brigadier General Francis Barlow, proved equally disastrous. The demoralized men of the 11th, many of them immigrants from the Midwest with poor English and little training, were completely unprepared to protect the Union’s right flank from Jackson’s assault and soon retreated, suffering significant casualties in the process.
Military rank Edit
- Gen = General
- LTG = Lieutenant General
- MG = Major General
- BG = Brigadier General
- Col = Colonel
- Ltc = Lieutenant Colonel
- Maj = Major
- Cpt = Captain
- Lt = Lieutenant
First Corps Edit
- 16th Georgia: Col Goode Bryan : Col Solon Z. Ruff : Col Robert McMillan : Ltc Luther J. Glenn
- Phillips' (Georgia) Legion: Ltc Elihu S. Barclay, Jr.
- : Ltc Willis C. Holt : Ltc Francis Kearse : Col William M. Slaughter (mw), Ltc Edward Ball (w), Maj Oliver P. Anthony
- 53rd Georgia: Col James P. Simms
- : Col John D. Kennedy
- 3rd South Carolina: Maj Robert C. Maffett
- 7th South Carolina: Col Elbert Bland
- 8th South Carolina: Col John W. Henagan : Ltc Joseph F. Gist
- 3rd South Carolina Battalion: Ltc William G. Rice
- 13th Mississippi: Col James W. Carter
- 17th Mississippi: Col William D. Holder
- 18th Mississippi: Col Thomas M. Griffin (c) : Col Benjamin G. Humphreys
Col Henry C. Cabell
Maj Samuel P. Hamilton
- Carlton's (Georgia) battery: Cpt Henry H. Carlton
- Fraser's (Georgia) battery: Cpt John C. Fraser
- McCarthy's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Edward S. McCarthy
- Manly's (North Carolina) battery: Cpt Basil C. Manly
- : Col Young L. Royston (w), Ltc Hilary A. Herbert : Maj Jeremiah H. J. Williams : Col William H. Forney (w) : Col John C. C. Sanders : Col Lucius Pinckard (w)
- 3rd Georgia: Maj John F. Jones (w), Cpt Charles H. Andrews
- 22nd Georgia: Ltc Joseph Wasden
- 48th Georgia: Ltc Reuben W. Carswell
- 2nd Georgia Battalion: Maj George W. Ross
- : Col George T. Rogers : Ltc Everard M. Feild : Ltc Richard O. Whitehead : Col William A. Parham : Col Virginius D. Groner
- 12th Mississippi: Ltc Merry B. Harris (w), Maj Samuel B. Thomas
- 16th Mississippi: Col Samuel E. Baker
- 19th Mississippi: Col Nathaniel H. Harris
- 48th Mississippi: Col Joseph M. Jayne (w)
- 2nd Florida: Maj Walter R. Moore (w)
- 5th Florida: Maj Benjamin F. Davis (w)
- 8th Florida: Col David Lang
- Grandy's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Charles R. Grandy
- Lewis' (Virginia) battery: Lt Nathan Penick
- Maurin's (Louisiana) battery: Cpt Victor Maurin
- Moore's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Joseph D. Moore
- Eubank's (Virginia) battery: Lt Osmond B. Taylor
- Jordan's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Tyler C. Jordan
- Moody's (Louisiana) battery: Cpt George V. Moody
- Parker's (Virginia) battery: Cpt William W. Parker
- Rhett's (South Carolina) battery: Cpt A. Burnett Rhett
- Woolfolk's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Pichegru Woolfolk, Jr.
- 1st Company: Cpt Charles W. Squires (c), Lt Charles H. C. Brown
- 2nd Company: Cpt John B. Richardson
- 3rd Company: Cpt Merritt B. Miller
- 4th Company: Cpt Benjamin F. Eshleman
Second Corps Edit
LTG Thomas J. Jackson (mw)
MG Ambrose P. Hill (w)
BG Robert E. Rodes
MG J. E. B. Stuart
Chief of Artillery: Col Stapleton Crutchfield (w), Col E. Porter Alexander, Col J. Thompson Brown
BG Henry Heth
Col John M. Brockenbrough
- : Col John M. Brockenbrough, Ltc Fleet W. Cox (w), Cpt T. Edwin Betts : Col Robert M. Mayo : Col Francis Mallory (k), Ltc William S. Christian (w), Maj Andrew D. Saunders (k), Lt R. L. Williams,  Maj Evan Rice  : Ltc Edward P. Tayloe
- 14th Georgia: Col Robert W. Folsom
- 35th Georgia: Cpt John Duke
- 45th Georgia: Ltc Washington L. Grice
- 49th Georgia: Maj Samuel T. Player
- 7th North Carolina: Col Edward G. Haywood (w), Ltc Junius L. Hill (k), Maj William L. Davidson (w), Cpt Nathan A. Pool : Col Thomas J. Purdie (k), Ltc Forney George (w), Maj John D. Barry
- 28th North Carolina: Col Samuel D. Lowe
- 33rd North Carolina: Col Clark M. Avery (w), Cpt Joseph H. Saunders
- 37th North Carolina: Col William M. Barbour (w)
BG Samuel McGowan (w)
Col Oliver E. Edwards (mw)
Col Abner M. Perrin
Col Daniel H. Hamilton 
- 1st South Carolina (Provisional Army): Col Daniel H. Hamilton, Cpt Washington P. Shooter : Col James M. Perrin (mw), Ltc Francis E. Harrison
- 12th South Carolina:  Col John L. Miller
- 13th South Carolina: Col Oliver E. Edwards, Ltc Benjamin T. Brockman
- 14th South Carolina: Col Abner Perrin
- 13th Alabama: Col Birkett D. Fry
- 5th Alabama Battalion: Cpt S. D. Stewart (k), Cpt A. N. Porter
- 1st Tennessee (Provisional Army): Ltc Newton J. George
- 7th Tennessee: Ltc John A. Fite (w)
- 14th Tennessee: Col William McComb (w), Cpt R. C. Wilson
- 13th North Carolina: Col Alfred M. Scales (w), Ltc Joseph H. Hyman
- 16th North Carolina: Col John S. McElroy (w), Ltc William A. Stowe (w)
- 22nd North Carolina: Ltc Chris C. Cole (k), Maj Laben Odell (k), Cpt George A. Graves : Col William L. J. Lowrance
- 38th North Carolina: Ltc John Ashford
- Brunson's (South Carolina) battery: Cpt Ervin B. Brunson
- Crenshaw's (Virginia) battery: Lt John H. Chamberlayne
- Davidson's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Greenlee Davidson (mw), Lt Thomas A. Brander
- McGraw's (Virginia) battery: Lt Joseph McGraw
- Marye's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Edward A. Marye
Col Edward A. O'Neal (w)
Col Josephus M. Hall
- 3rd Alabama: Cpt Malachi F. Bonham
- 5th Alabama: Col Josephus M. Hall, Ltc E. Lafayette Hobson (w), Cpt William T. Renfro (mw), Cpt Thomas M. Riley
- 6th Alabama: Col James N. Lightfoot
- 12th Alabama: Col Samuel B. Pickens : Ltc John S. Garvin (w), Lt Miles J. Taylor
- 6th Georgia: Col John T. Lofton
- 19th Georgia: Col Andrew J. Hutchins
- 23rd Georgia: Col Emory F. Best
- 27th Georgia: Col Charles T. Zachry
- 28th Georgia: Col Tully Graybill
BG Stephen D. Ramseur (w)
Col Francis M. Parker
- 2nd North Carolina: Col William Ruffin Cox (w)
- 4th North Carolina: Col Bryan Grimes
- 14th North Carolina: Col R. Tyler Bennett
- 30th North Carolina: Col Francis M. Parker
- 4th Georgia: Col Philip Cook (w), Ltc David R. E. Winn
- 12th Georgia: Col Edward Willis
- 21st Georgia: Col John T. Mercer
- 44th Georgia: Col John B. Estes
- 5th North Carolina: Col Thomas M. Garrett (w), Ltc John W. Lea (w), Maj William J. Hill (w), Cpt Speight B. West
- 12th North Carolina: Maj David P. Rowe (mw), Ltc Robert D. Johnston  : Col Thomas F. Toon (w), Ltc Nelson Slough
- 23rd North Carolina: Col Daniel H. Christie
- Reese's (Alabama) battery: Cpt William J. Reese
- Carter's (Virginia) battery: Cpt William P. Carter
- Fry's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Charles W. Fry
- Page's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Richard C. M. Page
- 13th Georgia: Col James M. Smith
- 26th Georgia: Col Edmund N. Atkinson
- 31st Georgia: Col Clement A. Evans (w)
- 38th Georgia: Col James D. Mathews
- 60th Georgia: Col William H. Stiles : Col John H. Lamar
BG Robert Hoke (w)
Col Isaac E. Avery
- 6th North Carolina: Col Isaac E. Avery, Maj Samuel M. Tate
- 21st North Carolina: Ltc William S. Rankin
- 54th North Carolina: Col James C. S. McDowell (mw), Ltc Kenneth M. Murchison
- 57th North Carolina: Col Archibald C. Godwin (w)
- 1st Battalion North Carolina Sharpshooters: Maj Rufus W. Wharton
- 5th Louisiana: Col Henry Forno
- 6th Louisiana: Col William Monaghan
- 7th Louisiana: Col Davidson B. Penn (c)
- 8th Louisiana: Col Trevanion D. Lewis (c) : Col Leroy A. Stafford (c)
- Brown's (Maryland) battery: Cpt William D. Brown : Cpt Joseph C. Carpenter
- Dement's (Maryland) battery: Cpt William F. Dement
- Raine's (Virginia) battery: Cpt Charles J. Raine
BG Elisha F. Paxton (k)
Col John H. S. Funk
- : Col John Q. A. Nadenbousch (w), Ltc Raleigh T. Colston : Maj William Terry : Col John H. S. Funk, Ltc Hazael J. Williams : Col James K. Edmondson (w), Ltc Daniel M. Shriver : Ltc Abraham Spengler
BG John R. Jones 
Col Thomas S. Garnett (mw)
Col Alexander S. Vandeventer
- : Maj John B. Moseley : Ltc Robert W. Withers : Maj Norvell Cobb (w), Cpt Thomas R. Buckner : Col Thomas S. Garnett, Maj Oscar White : Col Alexander S. Vandeventer, Maj Lynville J. Perkins
Col E. T. H. Warren (w)
Col Titus V. Williams (w)
Ltc Hamilton A. Brown
- : Col John A. McDowell (w), Cpt Jarrette N. Harrell (w), Cpt Louis C. Latham : Ltc Stephen D. Thruston (w), Maj William M. Parsley : Ltc Samuel T. Walker (k), Maj Joshua Stover (mw), Cpt A. H. Smals : Ltc Simeon T. Walton : Col Titus V. Williams
- 1st Louisiana: Cpt Edward D. Willett
- 2nd Louisiana: Col Jesse M. Williams, Ltc Ross E. Burke : Ltc John M. Legett (k), Cpt Auguste Perrodin
- 14th Louisiana: Ltc David Zable
- 15th Louisiana: Cpt William C. Michie
- Carrington's (Virginia) battery: Cpt James McD. Carrington
- Garber's (Virginia) battery: Lt Alexander H. Fultz
- Latimer's (Virginia) battery: Cpt William A. Tanner
- Thompson's (Louisiana) battery: Cpt Charles Thompson
Col J. Thompson Brown
Cpt David Watson
Cpt Willis J. Dance 
The American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville
Joseph Hooker had made an excellent plan to crush the Confederates, but he suffered a major setback in the Battle of Chancellorsville. (Image: Edwin Forbes/Public domain)
Hooker’s Campaign against the Confederate Army
For this campaign, the Northern army consisted of 120,000 men against 60,000 southern men. The harsh winter had decreased the fodder for animals and food for Confederate men. To supply forage for the animals, Lee had been forced to send his army to different places. So the army was much smaller than that of Hooker, and the odds were against the Confederates.
The first part of the campaign went exactly as Hooker had planned. He was behind Lee’s army at Chancellorsville, and Sedgwick’s men were in front of the Confederate army.
Hooker thought that, as he had planned, Lee would have two options: either retreat toward Richmond, where Federals were waiting for him or turn around and face Hooker and Sedgwick in opposite directions.
Robert Lee’s Reaction
Lee never reacted the way he was expected to do. He divided his army and put 10,000 men at Fredericksburg to watch Sedgwick. The rest of his men quickly marched to the west to confront Hooker. He planned to block Hooker’s army in a place called “wilderness of Spotsylvania” or “the wilderness.” It was covered with scrub vegetation, and big trees were cut for charcoaling operations. The area had very limited farms and clearings with almost no roads.
The area was not a suitable place for the Union Army, and their numbers wouldn’t help them. So, Hooker decided to go a few miles east of Chancellorsville so that his numbers could have a real influence.
On the morning of May 1, as Hooker’s troops were marching eastward, they ran into Stonewall Jackson’s men near Zoan Church. Absolutely nervous, Hooker decided to pull his men back quickly although there hadn’t been much fighting.
Putting Hooker’s army into a defensive position determined the fate of the Battle of Chancellorsville Hooker had already failed. Having now gained the initiative, Lee divided his army again and sent Jackson’s army around Hooker’s right flank and attacked them. On May 2, Jackson’s 28,000 men launched their famous assault while Lee’s 14,000 men engaged Hooker at Chancellorsville.
This is a transcript from the video series The American Civil War. Watch it now, on Wondrium.
Stonewall Jackson’s Death
Jackson crushed the Union 11 th Corps, under the command of O. O. Howard. Caught by surprise, the Union Army had to retreat for two miles. But as it got dark, the Confederate attack lost its steam. In an attempt to find a way to continue the attacks, Jackson rode forward. But the darkness led him into a path of a Confederate regiment firing a volley in another direction. Jackson was hit by some of those missiles and wounded, which led to the amputation of his left arm. Hearing about Jackson’s injury, Lee said, “He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right,” which was right.
Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot by the Confederate troops and he eventually died. (Image: Nathaniel Routzahn (1822 – 1908), Winchester, Virginia / Public domain)
The next morning, Lee managed to unite his divided forces that had Hooker’s army in between them. Although the number of Hooker’s men was much more significant than Lee’s, he had no strategies to attack. At the same time, Sedgwick had forced 10,000 Confederates out of Fredericksburg and was moving toward Chancellorsville.
Now, Lee had to divide his army again. Twenty-five thousand of his men remained in Chancellorsville to keep Hooker busy. The rest of his army went to fight with Sedgwick. They defeated Sedgwick’s army in the Battle of Salem Church on May 3 and 4. On the night of May 6, the Army of Potomac had to retreat across the Rappahannock after a bloody campaign with 17,000 Federal casualties and 13,000 fallen Confederate soldiers, including Stonewall Jackson. On May 10, Jackson died of pneumonia that was probably caused by the complications of his earlier injury.
Reactions to the Battle of Chancellorsville
The Chancellorsville victory was arguably the most significant victory for Lee because he had defeated an enemy that considerably outnumbered his army. But it came at the considerable cost of losing Stonewall Jackson.
The Chancellorsville defeat came as a shock to the North. When Lincoln heard about the news, he went pale and said, “My God, what will the country say?” Lincoln was facing much more adverse times as the defeat had come immediately after the one at Fredericksburg, heartening antiwar elements in the North and the Copperheads among the Democrats.
In the South, it was Lee who reaped the benefits of the great victory as he became the great military idol of the Confederacy. The achievements that he and his men had made were exactly what the people in the South wanted: forward-moving and aggressive. They became the most important national institution in the South. He established himself as a great commander through the victories of Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, the Seven Days, and the Maryland campaign.
Common Questions about the American Civil War: the Battle of Chancellorsville
The Battle of Chancellorsville was a crushing defeat for the North. For the South, it was a great victory, which established Robert Lee as the great military idol.
The Confederates, under the command of Robert Lee, won the Battle of Chancellorsville . An essential cause of the North’s defeat was that Joseph Hooker lost his nerves from the beginning and went into a defensive state.
Although, the South emerged victorious in the Battle of Chancellorsville , it came at an enormous cost. The South lost its most famous commander in this campaign, Stonewall Jackson.
Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot during the Battle of Chancellorsville by Confederate soldiers. He lost one arm and after a few days, died of pneumonia, probably caused by the complications of the injury.
The Flying Dutchmen
The target of Jackson's attack was General Oliver O. Howard's Eleventh Corps, which extended for more than a mile along the Orange Turnpike. The Eleventh Corps was relatively new to the Army of the Potomac. Its 11,000 men included a large percentage of German immigrants - men with names like Peisser and Buschbeck, Schurz and Schimmelfennig.
Union pickets had warned Howard of the enemy's approach, but he had ignored their reports. Headquarters had assured him that the Confederate army was in retreat. Now, as the Southerners bore down upon Howard's flank, the men of the corps broke ranks and fled. Although the general and his officers eventually restored order, they could not restore the corps' reputation. From then on, the Eleventh Corps would be known derisively as "the Flying Dutchmen."
"Why did we run? Well, those who didn't are there yet!"
-Private William B. Southerton, 79th Ohio Volunteers
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Location. 38° 19.019′ N, 77° 41.134′ W. Marker is near Wilderness Corner, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker can be reached from Plank Road
(State Highway 3), on the right when traveling west. Located at driving tour stop eight of the Battle of Chancellorsville. The site is west of the visitors center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10127 Plank Rd, Spotsylvania VA 22553, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pressing the Attack (here, next to this marker) Jackson Attacks (here, next to this marker) 154th New York State Volunteer Infantry (approx. 1.1 miles away) Here Fell General Alexander Hays (approx. 1.6 miles away) No Turning Back (approx. 1.7 miles away) On to Richmond! (approx. 1.7 miles away) 12th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers 1862 - 1865 (approx. 1.7 miles away) The Climax (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wilderness Corner.
More about this marker. On the lower left, "Clutching a Union banner under the stump of his amputated right arm, General Howard endeavored to rally his panic-stricken troops near Dowdall's Tavern. 'I felt. that I wanted to die,' Howard wrote, '. and I sought death everywhere I could find an excuse to go on the field."
On the lower right, "The Eleventh Corps, caught off guard by Jackson's unexpected attack, fled toward Chancellorsville in panic."
Regarding The Flying Dutchmen. This is one of several markers for the Battle of Chancellorsville along the Jackson's Flank March and Attack trail. See the Jackson's Flank March and Attack Virtual Tour by Markers in the links section for a listing of related markers on the tour.
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Chancellorsville. National Park Service site. (Submitted on December 2, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
(1) General Joseph Hooker, statement issued to his men before the battle of Chancellorsville (1st May, 1863)
It is with heartfelt satisfaction that the commanding general announces to the army that the operations of the last three days have determined that our enemy must ingloriously fly, or come out from behind his defenses and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him - the operations of the Fifth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Corps have been a succession of splendid achievements
(2) In his autobiography, Major General Carl Schurz, wrote how the senior officers reacted when Joseph Hooker predicted an easy victory over Robert E. Lee at Chancellorsville.
They hoped indeed that the Army of the Potomac, 130,000 strong, would prove able to beat Lee's army, only 60,000 strong. But it jarred upon their feelings as well as their good sense to hear their commanding general gasconade do boastfully of having the enemy in the hollow of his hand - that enemy being Robert E. Lee at the head of the best infancy in the world. Still we all hoped, and we explored the map for the important strategical point we would strike the next day. but the "next day" brought us a fearful disappointment.
(3) The journalist, Henry Villard, met General Joseph Hooker just before the battle at Chancellorsville. He wrote about the meeting in his book, Memoirs of Henry Villard (1904).
His exterior was certainly most attractive and commanding. He was fully six feet high, finely proportioned, with a soldierly, erect carriage, handsome and noble features, a slight fringe of side-whiskers, a rosy complexion, abundant blond hair, a fine and expressive mouth, and, most striking of all, great, speaking grey-blue eyes. He looked, indeed, like the ideal soldier and captain, fit for a model of a war-god.
He had even then an unenviable notoriety for a rash tongue, to which he added lamentably in his subsequent career. He burst forth into unsparing criticism of the general conduct of the war, of the government, of Halleck, McClellan and Pope. His language was so severe and, at the same time, so infused with self-assertion as to give rise immediately to a fear on my part that he might be inclined to make use of me for his own glorification and for the detraction of others.
(4) Major General Carl Schurz, wrote about the battle at Chancellorsville in his autobiography published in 1906.
On Friday, May 1st, our columns, advancing toward Fredericksburg, met the opposing enemy. Hooker recoiled and ordered his army back into a defensive position, there to await Lee's attack. Thus the offensive campaign so brilliantly opened was suddenly transformed into a defensive one. hooker had surrendered the initiative of movement, and given to Lee the incalculable advantage of perfect freedom of action. Lee could fall fall back in good order upon his lines of communication with Richmond, if he wished, or he could concentrate his forces, or so much of them as he saw fit, upon any part of Hooker's defensive position which he might think most advantageous to himself to attack.
(5) General Oliver Howard took part in the battle of Chancellorsville and later wrote about it in his autobiography published in 1907.
Chancellorsville was a dreadful field. The dead were strewn through forest and open farms. The wounded had often to wait for days before succor came. Sometimes it never came. One officer on my personal staff, Captain F. Dessaur, was killed while near me beside Barlow's entrenchments, endeavoring to rally the panic-stricken men. His young wife had besought him to resign and come home to Brooklyn, New York, before the battle commenced. He tendered his resignation, explaining the peculiar circumstances of the case. But we were before the enemy, and soon to be engaged in battle, so that I wrote my disapproval upon his application. Poor fellow, he was slain, and my heart was deeply pained at his loss and in sympathy with his stricken family. Dessaur is an example of that dreadful sacrifice made in the cause of our national unity and of human liberty.
It has been customary to blame me and my corps for the disaster. The imputations of neglect to obey orders of extraordinary self-confidence of fanatical reliance upon the God of battles of not sending out reconnaissances of not intrenching of not strengthening the right dank by keeping proper reserves of having no pickets and skirmishers of not sending information to General Hooker, etc., etc., are far from true. My command was by positive orders riveted to that position. Though constantly threatened and made aware of hostile columns in motion, yet the woods were so dense that Stonewall Jackson was able to mass a large force a few miles off, whose exact whereabouts neither patrols, reconnaissances, nor scouts ascertained. The enemy crossing the plank road, two and a half miles off, we all saw. So the turning at the Furnace was seen by hundreds of our people but the interpretation of these movements was certainly wrong. Yet, wherein did we neglect any precaution? It will be found that Devens kept his subordinates constantly on the qui vive so did Schurz. Their actions and mine were identical. The Eleventh Corps detained Jackson for over an hour part of my force was away by Hooker's orders part of each division fought hard, as our Confederate enemies clearly show part of it became wild with panic, like the Belgians at Waterloo, like most of our troops at Bull Run, and the Confederates, the second day, at Fair Oaks.
I may leave the whole matter to the considerate judgment of my companions in arms, simply asserting that on the terrible day of May 2, 1863, I did all which could have been done by a corps commander in the presence of that panic of men largely caused by the overwhelming attack of Jackson's 26,000 men against my isolated corps of 8,000 without its reserve thus outnumbering me 3 to 1.
There is always a theory in war which will to rest all the imputation of blame to those who do not deserve it. It is to impute the credit of one's great defeat to his enemy. I think in our hearts, as we take a candid review of everything that took place under General Hooker in the blind wilderness country around Chancellorsville, we do, indeed, impute our primary defeat to the successful effort of Stonewall Jackson, and our other checks to General Robert E. Lee.
(6) In his diary Walt Whitman recorded the arrival of the wounded from the battle of Chancellorsville (May, 1863)
The wounded have begun to arrive from Hooker's command from bloody Chancellorsville. I was down among the first arrivals. The men in charge told me the bad cases were yet to come. If that is so I pity them, for these are bad enough. You ought to see the scene of the wounded arriving on the landing here at the foot of Sixth Street, at night. Two boat loads came about half-past seven last night. the pale, helpless soldiers had been debarked, and lay around on the wharf and neighborhood anywhere. The rain was, probably, grateful to them at any rate they were exposed to it. The few torches light up the spectacle. All round - on the wharf, on the ground, out on side places - the men are lying on blankets, old quilts, etc., with bloody rags bound round heads, arms, and legs.
The attendants are few, and at night few outsiders also - only a few hard-worked transportation men and drivers. The wounded are getting to be common, and people grow callous. The men, whatever their condition, lie there, and patiently wait till their turn comes to be taken up. The men generally make little or do ado, whatever their sufferings. A few groans that cannot be suppressed, and occasionally a scream of pain as they lift a man into the ambulance. Today, as I write, hundreds more are expected, and tomorrow and the next day more, and so on for many days. Quite often they arrive at the rate of 1000 a day.
Greatest Charges of the Civil War
Union troops surge over the "Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania. Library of Congress
The manner in which Civil War soldiers fought seems foolish today. Advancing in large, tight formations toward well-fortified positions appears suicidal. Civil War soldiers were not stupid. They had no wish to die—they were using the modern tactics of the times. Advancing in tight ranks and delivering overwhelming, concentrated small arms fire against your enemy was an essential part of fighting the Civil War
Of the thousands of attacks that involved thousands of soldiers each, Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, stands out as the most well-known. But this famous attack of roughly 12,000 soldiers was far from the largest, bloodiest, longest, or most sustained. Consider these other lesser-known, but arguably more notable, Civil War charges, assaults and attacks.
The Largest Assault of the Civil War: General Lee’s attack at Gaines’ Mill, June 27, 1862
Not long after taking command of the Army of Northern Virginia, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee hatched a plan to drive Union Gen. George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac away from Richmond, Virginia. Lee moved most of his army north of the Chickahominy River and attacked an isolated part of McClellan’s army under Union Gen. Fitz John Porter. On June 27, 1862, the fighting that erupted at Gaines’ Mill was the bloodiest of the week-long battles known as the Seven Days.
After several unsuccessful attempts to break the Union line at Gaines’ Mill, at 7:00pm Lee ordered the bulk of his entire force to assault the strong, Union position. Precious little daylight remained when the Confederates attacked along a two-mile front. The aggressive Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, spearheaded the attack and others joined the fray. With more than 30,000 soldiers (by some calculations, the number should really be closer to 50,000) in a general simultaneous movement, Confederates at Gaines’ Mill carried the Union position before nightfall and could rightly claim to have participated in the largest assault of the Civil War.
Gen. John Bell Hood and his Texas Brigade spearhead the largest assault of the Civil War in this painting by Dale Gallon. Courtesy Gallon Historical Art
The Largest Flank Attack of the Civil War: Stonewall Jackson’s assault at Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863
On the morning of May 2, 1863, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson led his corps on a 12-mile march to gain the Union right flank west of Chancellorsville, Virginia. All day long his men tromped and by late afternoon they arrived squarely upon the exposed flank of the Union 11th Corps, commanded by Gen. Oliver O. Howard. Jackson approached from the west but almost all of Howard’s force faced generally southward.
The massive Confederate force unfolded astride the Orange Turnpike like a giant accordion. The movement was so enormous that it took hours to complete. At last, however, about 20,000 Confederates had arrayed themselves in lines of battle, several ranks deep and two miles wide. When Jackson’s men emerged from the woods some startled Yankees stood and fought but the outmatched Union soldiers had no real hope of actually blocking the Confederate juggernaut. Jackson had crushed the Union right flank and was prepared to push his enemy into the Rappahannock River. As darkness made forward movement almost impossible, it also brought on the wounding of Stonewall Jackson, which would lead to his death the following week—one of thousands of casualties in the greatest flank attack of the Civil War.
In 2010, the American Battlefield Trust preserved this portion of the Chancellorsville battlefield, over which Jackson's troops made their overwhelming flank attack. Rob Shenk
The Most Fortuitous Charge of the Civil War: General Longstreet’s attack at Chickamauga, September 20, 1863
In early September 1863, Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans captured Chattanooga, Tennessee without a fight. As Rosecrans moved into Georgia, his opponent, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg attacked a portion of Rosecrans’ army along the banks of Chickamauga Creek. The second largest battle of the Civil War had begun. For two days, the armies fought. They struggled mightily on September 19th. But on the 20th Rosecrans mistakenly thought there was a gap in his line which he aimed to fill. In doing so, he created a large and dangerous gap on his right flank, near the Brotherton farm.
During the battle, Bragg had received reinforcements under Gen. James Longstreet, who had just completed a tortuous journey on foot and by rail from northern Virginia. Longstreet was given command of the left wing of Bragg’s army and ordered to attack the Union right. He moved more than 20,000 Confederate soldiers on a narrow front and, entirely by chance, directly into the gap in the Union line. The power of his assault shattered the Union right flank and drove far into the Union rear. A full one-third of the Union army, including its commander was driven from the field in the most fortuitous attack of the Civil War.
Longstreet's troops take advantage of the gap in the Union line on September 20, 1863. Steve Stanley
The Most Compact Large-Scale Attack of the Civil War: General Hancock’s assault at Spotsylvania, May 12, 1864
Union Gen. U.S. Grant began his spring campaigns of 1864 by moving various armies at once on five fronts. His largest effort was with his eastern armies, with which he traveled. Grant failed to achieve success at the Wilderness and then moved onto Spotsylvania Courthouse where Grant and his opponent Confederate Gen. Robert. E. Lee engaged in a two-week struggle which proved to be one of the bloodiest of the Civil War. After the partial success of Union Gen. Emory Upton’s 12-regiment compact attack at Spotsylvania on May 10, 1864, Grant ordered Gen. Winfield S. Hancock to lead a much larger assault two days later, with more than 40 regiments, upon the strong Confederate position known as the Mule Shoe, but forever thereafter as the Bloody Angle.
At first light, Hancock’s "battering ram" of some 20,000 men smashed into the Confederate line, broke through, captured thousands of Southerners and then stalled. Powerful Confederate counterattacks ensued and even with more than 15,000 reinforcements, the Union soldiers failed to achieve victory. For 20 hours, American’s fought each other in the closest proximity, a result of the most compact large scale attack of the Civil War.
Union troops surge over the "Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania. Library of Congress
The Largest Cavalry Charge of the Civil War: Torbert’s grand charge at Third Winchester, September 19, 1864
Tasked with rendering the Shenandoah Valley useless to Confederates, Union Gen. Philip Sheridan, commander of the new Army of the Shenandoah, sought to deal with the main Confederate force in the Valley under Confederate Gen. Jubal Early. On September 19, 1864, Early and Sheridan clashed at the Battle of Third Winchester. Just before noon the bloodiest battle fought in the Shenandoah commenced. Early parried Sheridan’s thrusts until late afternoon.
Unfortunately for Early, Sheridan had three powerful cavalry divisions which numbered almost as many troopers as Early had infantry. Union cavalry chief Gen. Alfred Torbert unleashed two of his three divisions in an attack up the Valley Pike. While Union infantry pressed hard on Early’s front, Torbert’s troopers attacked in front and threatened the Confederate rear. The Southerners offered stubborn resistance at every fort, fence line and barricade they could find, but by nightfall, the city of Winchester was in Union hands. The Union cavalry charges were several but the final attack involved as many as 8,000 troopers in the largest cavalry charge of the Civil War.
Federal horsemen charge the Confederate works at Third Winchester in the war's largest cavalry charge. Library of Congress
The Civil War’s Deadliest Attack for General Officers: General Hood’s charge at Franklin, November 30, 1864
Confederate Gen. John B. Hood aimed to destroy a Union force under Gen. John M. Schofield before it could reach another Union army in Nashville, Tennessee. Schofield reached Franklin and sought to buy time for his supply trains by forming a defensive line on the southern edge of town. Hood reached Franklin anxious to destroy the Union force before it could escape and launched an assault in what is officially called the Second Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864.
Hood’s mighty charge consisted of 18 brigades—some 20,000 men—over two miles of open ground. Although sometimes called the "Pickett's Charge of the West" it was actually much larger and covered twice the distance. And unlike Pickett’s Charge, the Confederates did not retreat they stubbornly held advanced positions until nightfall. According to participants, this was a struggle unlike any other and resulted in horrific losses on both sides. Confederates, sustained particularly high casualties--more than 6,000 of which 12 were suffered by generals. Six of these generals (Cleburne, Carter, Adams, Granbury, Gist, and Stahl) were killed or mortally wounded in the Civil War’s deadliest attack for general officers.
The Most Consequential Attack of the Civil War: Horatio Wright’s Breakthrough at Petersburg, April 2, 1865
Confederate General Robert E. Lee had been essentially trapped in his lines around Richmond and Petersburg for nine months by the time spring came in 1865. On March 25th, Lee launched a desperate assault with some 20,000 men against Union-held Fort Stedman. The attack failed and his men filed back into their lines. But Union Gen. U.S. Grant countered with probes along his lines and his troops succeeded in capturing Confederate picket lines. In the Battle of Jones Farm, Sixth Corps troops, under Gen. Horatio Wright, took a key picket line which brought them within one-half mile of the thinly held Confederate position.
On the early morning of April 2, 1865, Wright formed his more than 14,000 men into a wedge formation and charged the Confederate position, manned by only 2,800 soldiers. The attack plunged through abatis, over the breastworks and, after nearly ten months, the Union finally broke through the main Confederate line. So serious was the breakthrough that General Lee wired Richmond that he intended to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond that night. The Union occupied the abandoned cities the next day. While other assaults may have been more decisive, none other could claim the fall of the Confederate capital and with it the distinction of being the most consequential attack of the Civil War.
The Federal Sixth Corps charged across this field in the wee hours of April 2, 1865, breaking through the Confederate line and effectively ending the Siege of Petersburg. Douglas Ullman, Jr.
154th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment
The monument to the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment is on Plank Road (Virginia Route 3) east of the Orange Plank Road intersection. (see map below) The monument is in the shape of the crescent moon, symbol of the Eleventh Corps of the Army of the Potomac.
Colonel Patrick H. Jones commanded the regiment at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Jones was born in Ireland and emigrated with his family to the United States in 1840. He was a correspondent and editor for newspapers in western New York before studying the law and becoming a leading attorney. Colonel Jones was wounded and captured in Jackson’s attack. He was a prisoner for five months before being exchanged. Lieutenant Colonel Henry C. Loomis took over command when Jones was wounded.
There is a monument to the 154th New York on Coster Avenue on the Gettysburg battlefield. There is another monument at Gettysburg to one of the regiment’s men, Sergeant Amos Humiston.
|Attached to the 11th Corps – 2nd Division – 1st Brigade|
From the front of the monument
154th New York State Volunteer Infantry
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 11th Corps
“The Hardtack Regiment”
Anchor of the Buschbeck Line
Near Dowdall’s Tavern
Battle of Chancellorsville
May 2, 1861
From the rear of the monument
590 present for duty
240 killed, wounded or captured
Dedicated to the memory of the regiment
by its descendents
Location of the monument to the 154th New York Infantry at Chancellorsville
The monument is on the south side of Plank Road (Virginia Route 3). It is about 0.35 mile east of the Orange Plank Road intersection. Plank Road is a divided highway at this point with no good access from the westbound lanes.
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