Battle Of Chancellorsville 1863

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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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11.00am

A flock of birds race off skywards near the Union line on the Orange Turnpike; disturbed by the sudden booming of a Yankee battery targeting Mahone's brigade. General Lee spurs his horse, riding fast to check on his right flank. Rebel guns return fire, as silence falls for a few minutes, being quickly broken by the escalating sound of continuous fire from the south-west. Mahone takes out a pocket-watch and notes a time of 11 minutes past the hour of eleven.

Jackson rides to the Orange plank road and nods his head, as the rangy lines of soldiers pass by, some raising their hats and cheering. Brig. Gen. Heth rides up and is greeted by Jackson. “ A fair morning to you, Henry;.... yore boys not too tuckered out. ? “. Heth replies, “ An early rise and quite a march, I dare say; …..nothing, we'd not seen... many a day, …..General. “ !
Jackson points to the trailing rear of McGowan's brigade, “ Yule be in second line this day, …. Henry, on the right of McGowan's brigade ….....yore boys may garner some little repose , ….if the Yankees are jus' pickin our lines. “ Heth salutes and rides back to the head of his marching column.

On the far left of the rebel line, Brig. Gen. Wright has sent the 2nd Georgia battalion of 199 men to skirmish along the unfinished railroad. The rest of his regiments are moving towards the elongated hillock, (A), which will be a goodly position to acquire; dominating the clear ground, stretching northwards, to the crossroads by the Decker house. Marching up the track; Wright can see the men of the 4th North Carolina regiment firing from the edge of the wood-line to the north-west, and decides to turn left, using the slope of the hillock as cover, for a safe, eventual deployment into line.
Brig. Gen. Ramseur's brigade are already exchanging fire with Yankee lines in the woods before them. Two of Ramseur's regiments have had to move away to the left to allow the guns of Alexander's massed battery, a clear line of sight, to the woods.
Posey's brigade is slowly becoming engaged. The 12th Mississippi regiment acting as advance guard, moving slowly up the road , had already stopped upon sighting some movement in the trees off the road to the right, and were in the process of fixing bayonets, when a horde of Yankee infantry came rushing and hollering through the brush in amongst them. It was a ferocious set- to, having the fortune of being commanded by the temperate Lt Col. Harris, who was able to withdraw in good order, back to the support of his brigade line.
To the east of Posey's brigade' the brigades of Iverson and Doles are trampling north amongst the thick tree cover , in the general direction of a large hill , ( B ) to their front. Colquitt's brigade to the right of them, had already bumped into a line of Yankee infantry, letting off a volley, wondering how more of them there are....the woods could conceal quite a number of bluebellies.


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11.20am

Fighting has become general in Stonewall Jackson's command area. The 4th North Carolina regiment have broken and fled taking with them, the 2nd North Carolina due to a melee.( Unfortunately , I was using battle-replay facility and knew that there were 4 Federal melee assaults, but they are shown too quick in A.I. Mode and they do not show the casualty numbers in battle-replay-mode.......totally forgot about that; anyhow the Union side lost 130-140 men while the rebels lost 80-90 men.)
Ramseur's fleeing regiments have not caused any major headache, as two of Wright's regiments have moved to the edge of the hill-rise, catching the union troops at a disadvantage. Brig.Gen Wright immediately sends a messenger to Anderson's command post to ask for artillery assistance ,while appraise him of the gap in the Yankee lines.
A sudden rush of federal, infantry lines out of the woods , south of the Orange plank road, has been met by close range gun fire. The lead Yankee regiment is being blown to pieces, stopping completely,in it's tracks.,
Posey's brigade is still under intense fire from enemy infantry in the woods, but is slowly causing greater casualty, then is being taken. Iverson has wheeled his brigade to the left to offer support fire to Posey..
To his right, Doles' brigade is meeting no resistance . He can hear firing from his right and left and so decides to move north a little further. Jackson is riding toward Colquitt's brigade to assuage the situation and apparent Yankee numbers in this elongated stretch of woods.
In General Lee's command area ; there seems to be a lack of enemy strength barring some medium range cannon fire and some half hearted attempts by a lone Yankee infantry brigade to contest the southern river road woods. Lee is still uncertain about the left flank of the federal line, so will have to scout a bit further, especially with Wilcox's brigade towards the Rappahannock river..
 
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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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11.40am

The two Union regiments, in the open, attacking Ramseur's men have fled faster than a rooster from a chopping block.They are now visible to Brig.Gen. Wright upon his vantage point hill-rise. His two accompanying regiments are pouring a sustained, murderous fire upon the Yankee infantry below him. Posey is holding down a lot of federals to his front , showing little weakness.
Brig Gen Doles has decided to stretch his command to support the right, gain hold of the hill and skirmish further north . Colquitt and O'Neal's brigades are winning the fight against a dispirited group of Yankees who are slowly becoming nervous of their position.
Further along the rebel line; Semmes' and Kershaw's brigades are moving forward with no opposition.
It looks like the area around the Orange Turnpike is lightly held, apart from the northern woods. Here Brig Gen Mahone is encountering mild resistance. The speedy marching of Wofford's brigade has already bypassed the Yankee line and Brig.Gen Wofford' eager “ fer a scrap” has taken on an Yankee infantry line with the 16th and 18th Georgia regiments. Comming on thick and fast, the federals took heavy loss and were forced to withdraw.
Wilcox's lead regiment has cleared the woods and moved onto an elevated rise with a clear view to the Rappahannock. Although some union columns can be seen in the far distance , on the other side of the river , there are no apparent union troops for 4 to 5 miles. Lee ts about to order a general movement westwards by all the brigades to the right of Semmes. Wilcox will have to spread his command very thinly to cover a lot of ground on this flank.
 
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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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12.00Noon

Brig. Gen Ambrose Wright looks on in delight as he views yankee infantry streaming in disorder out of the woods to his right. He grinds his teeth in frustration , that he does not have a support battery to help them on their way. This would be even more useful as he can see a federal battery unlimbering to his front and no doubt , very soon,will make his current position uncomfortable. His message to General Anderson has enthused a positive response; as Anderson has released McGowan's brigade and a battery of guns to come to Wright's aid.
The situation for the union troops in and around the Orange plasnk road is deteriorating fast. Rebel guns continue to batter the tree line and Ramseur's and Posey's infantry rake the trees and brush with hails of bullets. Brig. Gen. Iverson has personally led a strong melee assault with heavy loss to both sides , trying to press in the yankee flank before Posey's men, which, if successful, will shatter the union line, very quickly. ( Posey has had to withdraw the 23rd North Carolina regiment to a slightly rearward position as it has a fatigue level of 806, which is pretty bad ).
Brig.Gen. Colquitt has also led a successful melee assault, hacking through the union defenders , who show a marked inability to hold their line.
Within Lee's command area , ( the screenshot area – not his actual command radius ); apart from Wilcox, all the confederate brigades are pushing westwards to gain ground.
 
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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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12.20pm

Jackson rides quickly to the rear of Posey's position; aware of the critical importance of this blocking position. He is appraised by a wounded sergeant, that the trees and brush are thick with yankees, who seem to be determined to hold their line. Jackson also hears of Anderson's decision to support Wright's brigade with McGowan's and agrees with it's determination. McGowan's brigade is marching along the unfinished rail-road , unaware, because of the obstructing tree cover of Wright's reversal in fortune. Wright shouting himself hoarse with fire orders, is drowned out by the sudden blasting of multiple shell fragments to his right, as his support regiment under the command of Major Jones, becomes the target of a federal battery. Their fire is accurate and sudden enough to completely unnerve the men of the 3rd Georgia regiment who slowly begin to run, leading to a greater number, until there are none left on the hill-rise. With their hasty withdrawal; there is less smoke moving along his firing line and Wright can fully see the fields to the west of the Alrich house. The fields are littered for 300 metres with blue uniforms, prone, some still moving slowly. Cursing under his breath , he is about to give the order to retire to the rear.

Further north-east, Colquitt and O'Neal's brigades are slowly pushing back the yankee infantry before them. Two of O'Neal's regiments, the 5th and 12th Alabama have charged forward to take out a federal battery (A), on the Qrange Turnpike. They were hit sorely by two rounds of close quarter cannister fire on their approach and lost 59 dead and wounded, before surging forward to completely overrun the battery of 4 guns. The only survivor was a yankee officer going by the name of Capt Alanson Randol, who disappeared into the thickets as fast as his short legs could cast him.
Lee's command area is dominated by movement to the west. The initial union defenders of this sector have mostly routed or retreated, only replying to rebel movement with medium range cannon fire and sporadic gun fire of little consequence. The timely arrival of 2 batteries of Rodes' Divisional artillery means that the Wilcox brigade will be adequately supported with guns, just in case there is a surprise incursion of Union forces along the river road.
 
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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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12.40pm

Brig. Gen. Samuel McGowan leads 2 of his regiments in column formation to the bottom of Wright's hill rise and then stops his men abruptly, so as not to alert the yankees to their presence. He himself rides forward to see a single confederate regiment a 100 metres ahead. Fortunately, Wright is looking in his direction at the time and waves his arms to gain McGowan's attention. He then motions to the ground and then to his left several times. It is clear to McGowan that he will stay put, wishing McGowan to attack the federal line in flank before Ramseur. Ramseur has already learned of McGowan's movement and is releasing the 16th Alabama regiment back into Wright's command, as they have been mixed in with ramseur's men for the best part of an hour.
Elsewhere in Jackson's command area, the situation is mostly static , except for Colquitt's men, who are prising the enemy into a smaller area as time goes on, the pocket being stubborn in it's collapse.
It is becoming clear to Jackson that the main yankee force is concentrated in and around the Orange plank road. He tentatively orders Heth's brigade to move forward, in case of a union general rout, or even if Posey breaks, as the fighting here is the most sustained and intense.
In Lee's command area; five confederate brigades are pushing steadily forward, still attracting sporadic artillery fire. General McLaw's can make out a semblance of a new yankee line on the Orange Turnpike , about a mile away. He therefore orders all his guns forward. The long expanse of open ground before him will become a good kill zone, perhaps for both sides.

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Jeb Stuart arrives......!
 
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1.00pm

Brig.Gen Samuel McGowan loses no time deploying into line and decides to rush his men in column into a headlong onslaught on the unsuspecting yankee line. The surprise is total, leading to heavy loss for the enemy. Further along; Heth's brigade is moving forward to take over the frontage of Posey's men,who already grumble that they cannot finish what they had started, but Jackson's orders are clear; tired men are no good to anybody. Posey has already told Heth that the federals have mostly routed back, but have shown some spirit in a stubborn defence.
Another strong melee assault from two of Brig. Gen. O'Neal's regiments have hit some routing yankees who have retreated further, unable to withstand the force of attack.
In Lee's command area ; the confederate push forwards continues. A lucky shot by a federal battery has managed to disable a rebel gun carriage. General Lee is however distracted by the sight of yankee infantry coming into view on a hill crest to the north, on the old mine road. Uncertain of their numbers; he is forced to order Perry's brigade north to support Wilcox, in case the enemy are of more than divisional strength.


Stupid thumbnails won't delete :nuts:
 
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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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1.20pm

Brig. Gen Wright is forming up his regiments for attack, but is ordered by Jackson to hold off for the moment as he is tying up yankee reserves who cannot support their comrades being assaulted by McGowan's attack. McGowan's men are still embroiled in bloody and brutal hand to hand fighting with the enemy who being fresh, are managing to push back, the depleted union defenders to the Alrich farmhouse. Two of Ramseur's regiments, encouraged by McGowan's headlong rush, have also joined in the attack, and have thrown back the enemy before them with ferocious effectiveness. The federal defence south of the Orange plank road is now negligible.
On the right of the confederate line, Lee has ridden over to Grandy's battery and oredered him to open up on the yankee infantry in the distance, more to establish whether there intention is to hold or move forward;; and also to gauge whether they have support artillery, which would , perhaps,indicate that there is a division or even Corps present.
Further west, Brig. Gen. Wofford's men have walked into a firefight with federal infantry, who are on the edge of their left flank. McLaw's intention is to flank the federal line from the relative safety of the woods....................
 
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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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1.40pm

Rebel infantry near the Alrich farmhouse continue to push back the enemy with vigour. The sheer aggressiveness of the confederate assault has left over 100 casualties among the federals with only 2 rebel losses. Heth's men are just starting to engage the depleted yankee line, while firefights still continue ll the way up to the Orange Turnpike. Colquitt's brigade has moved to a reserve position behind the central hillock and no doubt will be pushed forward soon to split the yankee. line in two, which is already suffering heavy loss.
North of the Turnpike, Wofford's brigade is still engaged with a yankee defensive line and is awaiting the arrival of Mahone's brigade, who are making their way through the woods, in comparative safety from union artillery. General Lee is with Grandy's battery , which is steadily firing, along with Maunn's battery near the Jett house, at the federal line before them. The yankees are still without artillery support and are standing, taking the punishment of rebel shell blasts , which, will only increase with time. They will have to withdraw or attack.....
 
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The Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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2.00pm

The last twenty minutes have seen the most dogged and ferocious fighting amongst the combatants. The advantage being in federal hands at the moment, as multiple rebel melee assaults have met with costly failure. Llosses from firepower are more even along the whole line. The southern attack by McGowan is being stalled by effective gun fire at close range. Wright's brigade has uncovered a unknown yankee battery, who intend to keep his men to the tree-line. Jackson has ordered up 2 batteries from Rodes' divisional artillery reserve, which should make the fighting around the Alrich house a hell for the yankees. Although the yankee line has been pushed back about a 100 metres in the woods north of the Orange plank road; there is no general rout, which may come very soon Unfortunately 2 confederate regiments have routed, which is a indicator of the sudden shift in tempo to the Union side – should not last long..
Confederate batteries have changed tack, and are starting to target federal batteries with some good effect.
The attack by Wofford's and Mahone's brigades should produce tangible results soon. Lee is hoping that the federal infantry are too weak towards the Rappahannock river to draw away any significant numbers of rebel infantry from the main attack. Lee will soon be aware of the arrival of 2 fresh brigades , which may alter his tactics on his right flank.

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General A.P. Hill arrives......

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2.20pm

The first leader casualty on the rebel side has occurred, and not surprisingly, the victim is Brig.Gen. Samuel McGowan who led from the front in two impressive infantry assaults, which were under constant fire from a federal battery at close range. McGowan suffered a head-wound from shrapnel and was carried away to the rear and then placed on an empty water wagon, to be taken to the field station hospital at the Procter house. His brigade is now commanded by Col. Oliver Edwards. His replacement has ordered a withdrawal of 100 metres, while still under heavy enemy gunfire.
Jackson has seen these events first-hand and is impatiently riding back and forth, near the fresh gun batteries that Col. Alexander Porter has brought up to deal specifically with the yankee batteries north-west of the Alrich farmhouse. Wright's georgian brigade have already moved forward to take a VP hex and have had some luck; as their whooping and wailing has disheartened a couple of yankee regiments, who have fled to the rear. His men are pouring consistent fire into a remaining, quite large federal regiment, who have decided to hold their position for as long as possible.
Fighting between the Orange plank and Turnpike roads continues, with a slight withdrawal of the yankee line backwards.
Further north , artillery duelling maintains some sort of status quo in the open ground. NcLaw’s is waiting for Mahone and Wofford to take the federal flank. Lee still waits at the Grandy battery position , pondering the immobility of the federals on the mine road.


Anderson's Division......

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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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2.40pm

Brig. Gen .Ambrose Wright's brigade is attracting merciless fire from two federal batteries supporting their infantry in the woods. The yankees have managed to move up a nother support regiment which makes a melee assault against the former lone regiment now doubtful. Although Jackson is unaware of Wright's predicament, he has ordered Posey's brigade to a position behind Wright; nominally to protect the increasing array of rebel cannons sited on the hill-rise before the Alrich farmhouse.
Fighting near the Orange plank road continues with little change. The notable exception, being a strong melee assault by the 44th and 21st Georgia regiments who have left a big trail of yankee bodies amongst the under-brush.
In the woods north of the Orange Turnpike, Brig.Gen. Wofford has launched a series of charges which are slowly whittling down the yankee defence. This area will soon be crucial in forcing the federal batteries on and about the Turnpike , in the open to withdraw. Mahone is yet to make an impact., but is moving forward slowly.General Lee has ridden out to greet the 3rd Virginia cavalry, having made his orders explicitly clear. The 3rd Virginia is to move north-east and position itself, blocking the river road. Cavalry pickets are to be sent west to gain information on the strength of the federal troops on the mine road and gain intelligence on any others moving to flank Lee's army. A rider is to be sent with information, whether federals are seen or not, on the hour, and every hour to Lee's command post, until further notice. “ Yes, Sir ! General – as clear as day , the 3rd Virginia shall carry out these orders with the utmost zeal ! “
 
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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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3.00pm

Posey's brigade has now moved behind Wright, shoring up the confederate left flank from any nasty surprises. Jackson receives word from Jeb Stuart that he is reconoitring along the furnace road towards Hazel Grove. He also receives word that the yankee flank is more extensive and to the west of Chancellorsville. The Yankees obviously have a significant number of reserves.
Heth's brigade is still locked in a fire-fight with federal infantry and is heartened by the sudden arrival of a battery of rebel guns along the Orange plank road, which are just unlimbering. Iverson on his right, is stuck in the trees , being unwilling to advance against the strong federal battery position before him. Colquitt's relatively fresh infantry may be used quite soobn to try and break the weakened yankee line.
Wofford and Mahone are making slow but steady progress, aware that the yankee line has to break soon, as their men are growing increasingly tired and therefore losing impetus;and Wofford is uncertain of his own flank as it moves further forward. Unfortunately, Perry's brigade cannot assist ,being locked in place for the moment, until General Lee knows definitively that there is no real threat to the confederate right flank. The 3rd Virginia cavalry have still a way to go to find out.

Rodes' Division.

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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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3.20pm

Jackson's tactical intuitiveness has proven itself correct. Unfortunately, apart from the 2nd Georgia battalion, Wright's entire brigade has broken and fled, swarming around the line ranks of Posey's brigade. Jackson receives this unwelcome news quickly and rides over to Posey, at the head of his brigade.

“... I have the intention of taking control of the woods before us ; the yankees have seen to Wright's men and I now require you and yours...... to take back our honor....... in righteous fury. ! “

Before Posey can respond, a large, “ Hurrah “ with whooping breaks forth from the rebel ranks, as they begin to move forward through the thicket; the cracking and snapping of fallen tree branches marking their path.
Further along the confederate line, Ramseur has personally led a charge against a routed group of yankees. who suffer heavy casualties . Doles' brigade has made 2 assaults pushing the yankees back 200 metres. Wofford and Mahone continue to apply pressure ; the yankees before them look set to break and do not seem to have any reserves to support their main left flank.
 
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Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

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"...... the yankees have broken ! " . Jackson has something to smile about , at last. A 13 unit rout; added to 3 already routing federal regiments, means that there are 16 federal regiments, ( 3 brigades worth ) doing the " rooster run ". [ I posted this screenshot, in case people think I am cheating and wonder where all the union regiments have gone to ]. A 6 unit rout was on the cards but 13 came as a big surprise. :surprise: Hooker is not smiling at the moment. :upset:

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Two more brigades arrive......!

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Jeb Stuart is captured......!
 
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3.40pm.

The federal line has broken badly in places, causing a slight withdrawal. The yankee guns try to keep the rebels at bay and are performing well before the Decker house. Overall, federal losses are severe , and Hooker may have to give ground to prevent a slow disintegration of his attack by two of his corps. ( Just like to point out that the union army has some parts fixed, not sure when they get released ).
Unfortunately ; in the headlong assault by Wofford's brigade; Brig. Gen. Wofford was fatally shot through the left lung and died almost instantaneously, wheezing out a few words about his family.
Posey is moving forward to attack the enemy before him. Jackson has ridden back to help rally Wright's men and also to meet Lane and Archer's brigade , to give them their positional orders orders.
The 3rd Virginia cavalry have now blocked the river road and can see no enemy forces within miles of their position. Pickets have been sent out to spy on the yankees behind the mine road rise.



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Hill's Division ( 1 ).

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Hill's Division ( 2 ).
 
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