2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Chancellorsville - Saturday, May 2nd, 1863
The Wounding of Thomas J. Jackson

Chancellorsville Mountain Road
As darkness settled in, blanketing the gruesome carnage wrought by his success, Lt. General Jackson insisted that the victorious Southerners press on and destroy the Union Army. To that end, Stonewall ordered Major General Ambrose Powell Hill and his Division to come forward forcefully commanding "Press Them! Cut them off from the United States Ford Hill! Press them!" [C] Jackson then went with a party of men on horseback to reconnoiter the ground ahead. The General moved quietly east on the Old Mountain Road towards his Federal foes hoping to find an opportunity or advantage. While Jackson scouted ahead, General James Lanes' Brigade of North Carolinians from A. P. Hill's Division formed ranks perpendicular to the Plank Road and the Old Mountain Road, directly behind Jackson's party. As Jackson turned back and approached friendly lines, several close shots pierced the darkness. One in Jackson's party shouted the command, "Cease firing. You are firing on your own men." Unconvinced, an officer from the now proximate Southern lines responded, "Who gave that order? It's a lie. Pour it into them boys." [44]

Chancellorsville Stonewall Jackson's WoundingSeconds later, the North Carolinian line blazed with fire flashing through the darkness as the concealed Southern muskets dealt their sightless fury against men from their own lands. Three round balls tore into the flesh of perhaps the South's greatest general. One bullet lodged in his right hand while two others shattered bone in his left arm. Little Sorrel, Stonewall's frightened horse, bolted into the dark woods, branches scratching at her rider's face while Jackson's men pursued. Catching their commander, they eased him down to the ground. Yet Jackson and his men still faced grave danger, this time from the nearby Federals. Union cannon raked the area with deadly canister, iron balls packed into cans which transformed cannon into huge shotguns. His men would twice drop their precious cargo until safely in the rear of their lines.

Chancellorsville Jackson's LitterCaptain James Power Smith, later the Reverend Smith, described this trying time as they tried to protect their felled leader.

"With difficulty litter-bearers were brought from the line near by, and the general was placed upon the litter and carefully raised to the shoulder, I myself bearing one corner. A moment after, artillery from the Federal side was opened upon us; great broadsides thundered over the woods; hissing shells searched the dark thickets through, and shrapnel swept the road along which we moved. Two or three steps farther, and the litter-bearers ran to the cover of the trees, I threw myself by the general's side and held him firmly to the ground as he attempted to rise. Over us swept the rapid fire of shot and shell -grape-shot striking fire upon the flinty rock of the road all around us, and sweeping from their feet horses and men of the artillery just moved to the front. Soon the firing veered to the other side of the road, and I sprang to my feet, assisted the general to rise, passed my arm around him, and with the wounded man's weight thrown heavily upon me, we forsook the road. Entering the woods, he sank to the ground from exhaustion, but the litter was soon brought, and again rallying a few men, we essayed to carry him farther, when a second bearer fell at my side. This time, with none to assist, the litter careened, and the general fell to the ground, with a groan of deep pain. Greatly alarmed, I sprang to his head, and, lifting his head as a stray beam of moonlight came through clouds and leaves, he opened his eyes and wearily said: "Never mind me, Captain, never mind me." Raising him again to his feet, he was accosted by Brigadier-General Pender: "Oh, General, I hope you are not seriously wounded. I will have to retire my troops to re-form them, they are so much broken by this fire." But Jackson, rallying his strength with firm voice said: "You must hold your ground, General Pender; you must hold your ground, sir!" and so uttered his last command on the field." [59]

Chancellorsville Wilderness Tavern RemainsBorne by litter to a shelter four miles away, at 2am that morning, his friend and Corps Medical Officer, Dr. Hunter McGuire, amputated his arm just below the left shoulder at the Wilderness Tavern. General Lee, hearing of his Lieutenant's wounding would write to him, "General: I have just received your note, informing me that you were wounded. I cannot express my regret at the occurrence. Could I have directed events I should have chosen for the good of the country to have been disabled in your stead. I congratulate you upon the victory which is due to your skill and energy. Most truly yours, R. E. Lee, General." Upon having the note read to him, the wounded General responded, "General Lee is very kind, but he should give the praise to God." [C,D]

Chancellorsville Jackson Wounding Monument Chancellorsville Jackson Wounding MonumentThe photograph of the old country lanes at the top of this page notes the location where the United States National Park Service believes that Stonewall Jackson received his wounds. They state in their literature that both the commemorative monument (left) and the stone laid by former Confederates (right), each resting only a few yards from the other, indicate where the General was first treated and not where he was wounded. Please click here to view a National Park Service Map depicting the location where their historians believe Stonewall Jackson was wounded in respect to the current National Park Service Visitor's Center and the remains of the old roads. [C]

Chancellorsville Jackson's Raincoat Bullet HoleThe Museum at the Virginia Military Institute, where Thomas Jackson taught cadets prior to the war, holds several items once belonging to Jackson. The most poignant perhaps is a worn and tattered old raincoat displayed without fanfare to one corner. A closer inspection however reveals that this was the coat worn by Jackson when he received three wounds on the night of May 2, 1863. Somewhat of an eerie sight greets the visitor who walks around the display to the left. A small hole in the upper left sleeve shows where a bullet tore into Jackson's arm, tearing flesh and shattering bone, necessitating the amputation which contributed to his death at Guinea Station eight days later on Sunday, May 10, 1863.