Caught completely by surprise when Jackson launched his attack on the Union Flank, Howard's XI Corps fled. Their retreat was covered by Couch's II Corps (above).
men routed the astonished Federals in their camps. In the gathering darkness, amid the brambles of the Wilderness, the Confederate line became confused and halted at 9 pm to regroup. Riding in front of the lines to re-connoiter, Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot and seriously wounded by his own men. Later that night, his left arm was amputated just below the shoulder.
On May 3, Jackson's successor, General J.E.B. Stuart, initiated the bloodiest day of the battle when attempting to reunite his troops with Lee's. Despite an obstinate defense by the Federals, Hooker ordered them to withdraw north of the Chancellor House. The Confederates were converging on Chancellorsville to finish Hooker when a message came from Jubal Early that Federal troops had broken through at Fredericks burg. At Salem Church, Lee threw a cordon around these Federals, forcing them to retreat across the Rappahannock. Disappointed, Lee returned to Chancellorsville, only to find that Hooker had also retreated across the river.
Chancellorsville is considered Lee's great est victory, although the Confederate com mander's daring and skill met little resistence from the inept generalship of Joseph Hooker. Using cunning, and dividing their forces repeatedly, the massively outnum bered Confederates drove the Federal army from the battlefield. The cost had been frightful. The Confederates suffered 14,000 casualities, while inflicting 17,000. Perhaps the most damaging loss to the Confederacy was the death of Lee's "right arm," Stonewall Jackson, who died of pneumonia on May 10 while recuperating from his wounds.
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