Gods and Generals - JACKSON IS SHOT

This chromolithograph, published in Chicago during 1888, is by Kurz & Allison. In it the artist depicts an interpretation of the Battle of Chancellorsville when General Stonewall Jackson is shot (by friendly fire). Image of print online via the Library of Congress. Click on it for a full-page view.


On the 2nd of May, 1863, astride his horse "Little Sorrel," General Jackson reconnoitered with his staff on the Old Plank Road near the Chancellorsville battlefield. Convinced by his men that he should turn back, Jackson was well beyond the relative safety of his own camp.

At about 9 p.m., shots were fired. Jackson was wounded (the link depicts the exact location of the shooting) in his left shoulder and right hand. Confederate soldiers had fired a "smoothbore volley" at the unsuspecting commander and his staff. (Men of the 18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment were following the orders of Major John D. Barry who never forgave himself for what happened.)

Jackson was struck by three (scroll down 40%) smoothbore musket balls. (Robert Krick, former chief historian of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, reports that around 800 men of the North Carolina brigade still carried obsolete smoothbore muskets at Chanchellorsville). Barry’s commander, General James H. Lane, later wrote a detailed account of the shooting. (Scroll nearly to the bottom of his Reminiscences.)

Carried from the field on a litter, the general was dropped at one point. That mishap would later have fatal consequences. His left arm, badly injured, had to be amputated at a field hospital near the battlefield.

When Robert E. Lee received word that Jackson was injured, he sent the following message:

I have just received your note, informing me that you were wounded. I cannot express my regret at the occurrence. Could I have directed events, I should have chosen, for the good of the country, to have been disabled in your stead. I congratulate you on the victory, which is due to your skill and energy. (Title page from The Life of Stonewall Jackson. From Official Papers, Contemporary Narratives, and Personal Acquaintance. By a Virginian. 1863.)

Two days later, at Lee’s insistence, Jackson was moved to the "Fairfield" plantation of Thomas and Mary Chandler, near Guiney’s Station. Although his wounds were healing, the man who had inspired so many would soon develop a fatal case of pneumonia.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: May 01, 2019

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"JACKSON IS SHOT" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2003. Feb 17, 2020.
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