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Wounding of Stonewall Jackson Trail

In early 1996, Robert K. Krick, the Chief Historian for Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania N.M.P., identified the exact spot of Jackson's wounding. This folder guides people on a short loop trail around the Chancellorsville Visitor Center to this location. A printed brochure with a map is available in the Visitor Center. For those wanting additional details ask the historian at the visitor center. Call the visitor center (540) 786-2880 to find out if guided walking tours will be given on the day of your visit. Also consult Krick's essay in "Chancellorsville: The Battle and Its Aftermath," edited by Gary Gallagher, pages 107-142.

In the midst of his great victory over Union general Joseph Hooker Confederate commander Robert E. Lee suffered an irreparable loss. On the night of May 2, 1863, during the The Battle of Chancellorsville his dynamic subordinate Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was mortally wounded by friendly fire. This short walking tour will guide you through the area where that momentous event occurred.

The tour begins at the large battlefield painting in front of the Chancellorsville Visitor Center.

STOP 1: BATTLE PAINTING

On May 1 Hooker entrenched around Chancellorsville, waiting for the heavily outnumbered Confederates to launch a frontal attack. Faced with seemingly overwhelming odds, Lee and Jackson instead developed a daring plan to attack the vulnerable right flank of the Union Army, which stretched along the Plank Road (Modern Route 3). Early the next morning, Jackson and the 28,000 gray-clad soldiers who comprised his Second Corps began a maneuver that would culminate in both a dazzling Confederate victory and a Southern tragedy.

Snaking through the dense woods of the Wilderness, the column covered a twelve-mile path that eventually led it north to the Orange Turnpike. In the late afternoon of May 2, Jackson smashed into the unsuspecting troops of the Union Eleventh Corps, two miles to your left. Outnumbered and outflanked, the Northerners gave way. In just over two hours of fighting the Confederates drove them back more than two miles, into the woods to your right as you face the battle painting.

Follow the brick path to the left and around the visitor center to the signs.

STOP 2: HISTORICAL SIGNS

Jackson's attack had been a great success, but the aggressive general was not completely satisfied. Hoping to cut off Hooker's line of retreat, Jackson urged his men forward despite the growing darkness and late hour. In order for the attack to continue, Jackson needed to deploy fresh troops; his Confederates had become tangled in the thickets.

The North Carolina brigade of General James Lane moved up the Plank Road to form the new Confederate line. Confusion and uncertainty pervaded Lane's men as they moved into position; they knew that Union troops were in the immediate area, but the Northerners' exact location remained a mystery. To the north of the Plank Road Lane's line crossed the Bullock Road, which is visible to your right-front as you face the sign. Covering this portion of the line was the 18th North Carolina regiment. A volley from the 18th led to Jackson's wounding just moments later.

Follow the trail straight ahead to the monument.

STOP 3: WOUNDING OF JACKSON MONUMENT

Several markers commemorate Jackson at Chancellorsville. The first was the unmarked quartz Jackson Rock, which is located on the path to your left. It was placed here sometime between 1876 and 1883 by former Confederates including Reverend Beverly Tucker Lacy and James Power Smith, two men who had served on the general's staff. Then in 1888 the "Stonewall" Jackson Monument Association erected the granite monument inscribed with the general's name.

These stones mark the area where Jackson was first tended, rather than where he was wounded. When the 18th North Carolina fired on Jackson's party the general's horse bolted into the woods. Near this spot Captain Richard E. Wilbourn of the signal corps seized the animal's bridle and eased Jackson to the ground. He and division commander General A.P. Hill cut open the sleeve of Jackson's coat and applied handkerchiefs to his wounds to stop the bleeding.

Follow the path to the Jackson Rock and turn left. Turn right onto the wood chip path and follow it to Stop 4.

STOP 4: OLD MOUNTAIN ROAD

You are now standing in the trace of the Old Mountain Road, the road on which Jackson was riding when he was injured. Accompanied by aides and couriers, Jackson scouted in front of his main line, hoping to determine the new Union position. Private David Kyle served as Jackson's guide through the tangled woods. He described the path taken by their party:

"We went down that old Mountain road some four hundred yards when we came in hearing of the Federals....We stayed there I should judge from two to four minutes when the Gen Jackson Turned his horse around and started back up the road we had come down....When we were about halfway back...he turned his horse head toward the south and facing the front of our own line of Battle he started to leave the old Mountain road and just as his horses front feet had cleared the edge of the road while his hind feet was still on the edge of the bank there was a single shot fired...in an instant it was taken up and...a volley as if from a regiment was fired."

Spurred by the belief that the returning Confederates were Union cavalrymen charging their line, Lane's men had fired into the darkness. One bullet lodged in Jackson's right palm and two struck his left arm. As a result of the wounds Jackson would lose his left arm. One week later, on May 10, 1863, Jackson would his life. Click here to read more about the death of Jackson. Click here to read about visiting the "Stonewall" Jackson Shrine where the general died.

Learn more about visiting Chancellorsville by clicking here.

 
Site of wounding of Jackson
Site of wounding of Stonewall Jackson is the immediate foreground.

Did You Know?

Chatham Manor

Three presidents have been inside Chatham Manor. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson visited the Fitzhughs, their good friends. Abraham Lincoln attended a meeting in Chatham. A fourth president, William Henry Harrison, visited the grounds of Chatham when he was the president elect.