Clio Logo
The Battle of Chancellorsville was a major battle that took place during the American Civil War. The result was a stunning victory for the Confederacy, which some consider the high point of Robert E. Lee's career. By overcoming the larger Union army, Lee was now free to plan an invasion of the Northern states. The battle also came at great cost for the Confederacy, as General Stonewall Jackson was lost to friendly fire. Today the battlefield exists as part of the Fredericksburg and Spotysylvania National Military Park. The location of this entry is to the Chancellorsville Visitor Center. The battle is dramatized in the 2003 film, Gods and Generals.

  • Map depicting movements taken during the battle
  • Painting showing an aerial view of the battle
  • Scene from Gods and Generals. Chancellor House burns after the battle having suffered damage from artillery fire. The House served as Hooker's  HQ before he was forced to flee.
  • Another scene from Gods and Generals. Confederates storm through the camp of the Union 11th Corps
  • Painting of Jackson's wounding by friendly fire. However, the wounding took place late into the night
  • Chancellorsville Visitor Center
  • Chancellor House ruins after the battle
  • CSA General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
  • CSA General Robert E. Lee
  • Union General Joseph Hooker
  • DVD cover for Gods and Generals
The Battle of Chancellorsville took place in the late spring of 1863 in Spotsylvania County, Va.  After suffering a major loss at Fredericksbug, General Joseph Hooker was given the command of the Army of the Potomac, and attempted to engage Lee's forces at Fredericksburg. Hooker hoped to deal a decisive blow to the Confederate army, to bolster the low morale that was a result of devastating casualties at Fredericksburg.
Although outnumbered, Lee divided his force, leaving a small holding force at Fredericksburg and leading the majority of his men through the Wilderness, blocking hooker at the Chancellorsville crossroads.  The next day, General Stonewall Jackson was sent to flank the Union right.  This had devastating results, as the Union XI corps was routed. The third day of fighting was the fiercest, as Lee launched several assaults on the Union position (who at this point were on the defensive).  The next day, Hooker ordered a withdraw from the battlefield due to heavy casualties.

Chancellorsville would come to have a great impact on the way the war turned out.  After the victory, Lee was free to plan an invasion of the North, which would ultimately result in the battle of Gettysburg.  Many historians also view the battle as the finest display of tactics that Lee exhibited during the entire war. 

The same ground, and then some, that the battle of Chancellorsville would be scenes for the Battle of the Wilderness, which took place in 1864. Many entries created for Clio that focus on these two battles will seem to overlap, so be careful not to confuse them all as one big battle. 

1. "Civil War Trust" accessed 11/2. 2. "" accessed 11/2. 3. "National Park Services" accessed 11/2. Furgurson, Ernest B. Chancellorsville 1863: The Souls of the Brave. New York: Knopf, 1992. Gallagher, Gary W. The Battle of Chancellorsville. National Park Service Civil War series. Conshohocken, PA: U.S. National Park Service and Eastern National, 1995. Goolrick, William K., and the Editors of Time-Life Books. Rebels Resurgent: Fredericksburg to Chancellorsville. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1985. Hebert, Walter H. Fighting Joe Hooker. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. Krick, Robert K. Chancellorsville—Lee's Greatest Victory. New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., 1990. Sears, Stephen W. Chancellorsville. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996