Having seized the initiative, on the night of May 1, 1863, Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson met to make plans for the next day. They had 45,000 men to fight Joe Hooker's 90,000 soldiers on this part of the battlefield. Learning that Hooker's right flank was vulnerable, Lee decided to send Jackson with 30,000 men to attack the Union weak spot.
The meeting lasted much of the night. According to tradition, Lee and Jackson sat on cracker barrels during part of the conference. Afterwards the generals got a brief sleep. The next morning, James Power Smith of Jackson's staff noted that Jackson had a fever.
Early on the morning of May 2, Lee and Jackson met for the last time. As Jackson led his men down to Furnace Road, Lee never saw Jackson again. This famous sketch of the last meeting captures the spirit of the moment, but the hills in the background are a figment of the artist's imagination.
The meeting occurred at the intersection of the Orange Plank and Furnace roads. This late 19th century view is looking across the Plank Road to the meeting site on the right side of the image.
This modern photo is taken from almost the same place and angle as the late 19th century image shown above. Interpretive signs explain what happened at the famous meeting.
This is one of ten monuments in the Fredericksburg area erected by James Power Smith in 1903. Smith was a member of Jackson's staff and a son-in-law of the Lacy's who owned two historical plantations in the area, Chatham and Ellwood. Smith served as a Presbyterian minister in Fredericksburg after the war.