For Stonewall Jackson, a final victory that led to Confederate catastrophe

tags: Civil War, anniversaries, Washington Post, Stonewall Jackson, Chancellorsville



At 5:15 p.m. on May 2, 1863, a doomed Confederate officer with striking blue eyes sat on his horse holding his pocket watch in the Virginia wilderness west of Fredericksburg.

He wore a black rubber raincoat and gauntlets, and carried a book of Napoleon’s maxims in his haversack, as he waited for the last of his 21,000 soldiers to spread through the woods in an attack formation over a mile wide.

There were only a few hours of daylight left, and his men had been marching all day. But the officer had carefully maneuvered his regiments into position to launch one of the greatest assaults of the Civil War.

As the minutes ticked by, he asked a subordinate: “Are you ready?” Yes, came the reply....



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