• Fredericksburg Battlefield: Sunken Road, Stone Wall and Innis House sunrise

    Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania

    National Military Park Virginia

Kelly's Ford

During the long, cold winter of 1863, General Joseph Hooker had a long time to develop a plan for the spring campaign. On April 27, he put the infantry portion of the plan in motion by sending the Fifth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Corps west to cross the Rappahannock River at Kelly's Ford.

On the evening of April 28, Union forces splashed across the Rappahannock River at Kelly's Ford to establish a bridgehead. During the night a pontoon bridge was constructed across the river and three Union corps crossed the bridge. What had proved so difficult for General Burnside during the Fredericksburg Campaign, had been accomplished quickly and efficiently by General Hooker. Hooker then divided this force by sending the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps to cross the Rapidan River at Germanna Ford and the Fifth Corps to cross the Rapidan at Ely's Ford.

Map of Opening Movements at Chancellorsville
Map showing opening Union moves of the Chancellorsville Campaign. Note Kelly's Ford in the upper left hand corner of the map.
Kelly's Ford on the Rappahannock River
Kelly's Ford on the Rappahannock River
Sign directing people to site where John Pelham was wounded.
Kelly's Ford was the scene of a cavalry fight on March 17, 1863 in which "the gallant" John Pelham was mortally wounded. A brochure provides information and a guided tour of this battlefield. Union cavalry also crossed here during the Battle of Rappahannock Station on November 7, 1863. A brochure discusses this battle.
Ely's Ford on the Rapidan River

Ely's Ford on the Rapidan River

Proceed to Ely's Ford

Did You Know?

Information desk at Chancellorsville Visitor Center

The Wilderness Battlefield does not have a visitor center. Visitors should begin their visit at the Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville visitor centers where they obtain maps, brochures, and ask questions.