Reconnoitering the ground after dark on May 2nd, Lt. General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, mistaken
for an advancing Federal soldier, was accidentally wounded by Confederate pickets as he returned to friendly lines. Of the three
bullets that hit him, one shattered his upper left arm. Having no other course of action for such a devastating wound, at approximately
2:00 am that morning, Dr. Hunter McGuire amputated
Jackson's left arm
at a field hospital near the Wilderness Tavern west of
Chancellorsville. Years later, Jackson's wife, Mary Anna, would describe the procedure.
"The round ball (such as is used in a smooth-bore
Springfield musket), which had lodged under the skin, upon the back of the right hand, was first extracted. It had entered the palm
about the middle of the hand, and fractured two bones. The left arm was then amputated about two inches below the shoulder, very
rapidly, and with slight loss of blood, the ordinary circular operation having been made. There were two wounds in this arm, the first
and most serious was about three inches below the shoulder-joint, the ball dividing the main artery, and fracturing the bone. The
second was several inches in length - a ball having entered the out-side of the forearm, an inch below the elbow, came out upon the
opposite side, just above the wrist. Throughout the whole of the operation, and until all the dressings were applied, he continued
After the surgery, in a show of great
respect, the Reverend Beverly Tucker Lacy, Jackson's Chaplain and friend, buried the general's amputated arm in the Lacy family
cemetery at Ellwood, an estate owned by the Reverend's brother. As per the orders of General Lee, the wounded General was taken
behind Confederate lines to Guinea Station in order to recover sufficiently to be transported to Richmond.
Upon learning of his valued subordinate's condition, General Robert E. Lee famously responded, "Give him my affectionate regards,
and tell him to make haste and get well and come back to me as soon as he can. He has lost his left arm; but I have lost my right."