2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Chancellorsville - Sunday, May 3rd, 1863
Major General JEB Stuart Takes Command

Jackson Lee and Stuart during a review

After Stonewall Jackson's tragic wounding, command of his Corps would normally have devolved to Major General Ambrose Powell Hill, the most senior of Jackson's division commanders. The price of the Southern victory continued to mount however as A. P. Hill was also struck down shortly after Jackson's disabling wound.

In a somewhat detached manner, General Hill briefly described what occurred in his official report beginning with the Confederate's successful assault of the Union's 11th Corps.

"The attack was made about 6 p.m., Rodes' division and some artillery in advance, Colston and Hill supporting. The attack of Rodes was made with great energy. The enemy were driven for 3 miles and into his works at Chancellorsville, with the loss of ten pieces of artillery and many prisoners. This was about 9 p.m., and General Jackson directed General Hill to take charge of the pursuit. While Lane's brigade was forming its lines for advance and throwing out his skirmishers, General Jackson was wounded. The enemy then made an attempt to retake their rifle-pits immediately fronting Chancellorsville, but were handsomely driven back by Colonel Mallory, Fifty-fifth Virginia, Heth's brigade. The enemy during this time had concentrated a most terrible fire of artillery on the head of Hill's division from thirty-two pieces of artillery. General Hill was disabled during this fire." [5]

Although Hill would recover, the Confederacy now faced a serious void in their command structure. Although a cavalry commander, Major General James Ewell Brown "JEB" Stuart was only a few miles away and respected enough to be considered for the role. He would say in his report:

"It was already dark when I sought General Jackson, and proposed, as there appeared nothing else for me to do, to take some cavalry and infantry over and hold the Ely's Ford road. He approved the proposition, and I had already gained the heights overlooking the ford, where was a large number of camp-fires, when Captain [R. H. T.] Adams, of General A. P. Hill's staff, reached me post-haste, and informed me of the sad calamities which for the time deprived the troops of the leadership of both Jackson and Hill, and the urgent demand for me to come and take command as quickly as possible. I rode with rapidity back 5 miles, determined to press the pursuit already so gloriously begun. General Jackson had gone to the rear, but General A. P. Hill was still on the ground, and formally turned over the command to me. I sent also a staff officer to General Jackson to inform him that I would cheerfully carry out any instructions he would give, and proceeded immediately to the front, which I reached at 10 p.m." [5]

Despite possessing somewhat of a kindred spirit to Jackson concerning his aggressive nature, based on information quickly received about their circumstances, General Stuart would decide that continuing the offensive this late would prove reckless and dangerous. Stuart would explain:

"I was also informed that there was much confusion on the right, owing to the fact that some troops mistook friends for the enemy and fired upon them. Knowing that an advance under such circumstances would be extremely hazardous, much a against my inclination, I felt bound to wait for daylight. General Jackson had also sent me word to use my own discretion. The commanding general was with the right wing of the army, with which I had no communication except by a very circuitous and uncertain route. I nevertheless sent a dispatch to inform him of the state of affairs, and rode around the lines restoring order, imposing silence, and making arrangements for the attack early next day. I sent Colonel E. P. Alexander, senior officer of artillery, to select and occupy with artillery positions along the line bearing upon the enemy's position, with which duty he was engaged all night." [5]

Chancellorsville Jackson's Corps TrenchesThe faint remains of the Confederate trenches which you see here, still bear a silent albeit fading witness to the efforts of the southern soldiers who worked to fortify their lines and even the narrowing odds. Despite their resounding success on May 2, 1863, they still found themselves tremendously outnumbered by the men in blue just a short distance away. Lee's smaller detachment remained in General Hooker's front and Major General Jubal Anderson Early's men yet faced General Sedgwick's at Fredericksburg. Still separated from General Lee, in the morning, JEB Stuart would confront the task of rejoining these two sections of the Army of Northern Virginia in order to coordinate their assaults on the Union forces entrenching around the vicinity of the Chancellors House. General Lee would hope that the pugnacious General Early would hold Sedgwick at Fredericksburg, keeping them from coming to General Hooker's aid. In the days after Jackson's wounding, the Army of Northern Virginia would need to rely on outstanding, aggressive leadership and a fervent belief in their commanding officers to attempt to drive from this soil a well equipped army more than twice their size.