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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Remembering Chancellorsville and Suffolk – 150 years later

May 1 through 5 marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle at Chancellorsvile and the lesser-known conflict at Suffolk. Chancellorsville was yet another in a long line of Union defeats by a much smaller Confederate force. At Chancellorsville the Union forces outnumbered the Confederates by more than two-to-one, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee boldly divided his army and surrounded the Union troops from both sides.
General Thomas “Stonewall” Jacksons’s brilliant flanking movement ended in tragedy when he encountered friendly fire from his own troops while maneuvering inside his own picket lines after nightfall.

He was transported by litter to nearby Ellwood Plantation, where his left arm was amputated.

General Jackson was conveyed by ambulance to Guinea Station, where he died one week later from pneumonia. General Robert E. Lee’s greatest victory was a pyrrhic one, as he lost one of his most able generals.

May 3 marks the 150th anniversary of the conclusion of the Siege at Suffolk. Confederate forces under the command of General James Longstreet were guarding the supply lines in and around Suffolk, and the Ninth Union Corps was deployed to harass the Confederates and break the supply lines. General Lee ordered Longstreet to rejoin the main body of the Union Army on May 3 as the Confederates planned their next move: to strike north of Washington to force the United States to come to terms of surrender. That next move would take place in early July at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

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