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Gods and Generals - THE AGONY OF DEFEAT

A.R. Waud, an artist who produced drawings during the Battle of Chancellorsville, created this work between May 1-3, 1863. Its caption reads: "Couch's Corps Forming Line of Battle in the Fields at Chancellorsville to Cover the Retreat of the Eleventh Corps Disgracefully Running Away." Maintained by the Library of Congress.

 

The President visited General Hooker at his Chancellorsville headquarters on May 7th. Perhaps because the general had been slightly injured himself, Lincoln was not as hard on his commander as he could have been. But in a letter he gave to Hooker during his visit, Lincoln noted the likely effects of the loss on Hooker’s men:

...An early movement [of federal troops on their way to a new offensive] would also help to supersede the bad moral effect of the recent one, which is sure to be considerably injurious. Have you already in your mind a plan wholly, or partially formed? If you have - prosecute it without interference from me - If you have not, please inform me, so that I, incompetent as I may be, can try to assist in the formation of some plan for the Army.

A month after the battle, Hooker was no longer in charge. The president had relieved him of command.

Later, despite distinguishing himself at Lookout Mountain, Hooker reflected on the Union’s disastrous results at Chancellorsville. He confided to a friend that he had lost confidence in himself. (Gods and Generals, page 490.)

It is said that Chancellorsville was Lee’s greatest Civil War victory. But it was costly. In addition to the loss of 22% of its Chancellorsville forces, the Confederacy sustained a blow from which it never recovered.

On the evening of May 2nd, Thomas Jackson was mortally wounded.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Sep 27, 2016


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