[PDF / Epub] ✅ Chancellorsville By Stephen W. Sears – Transportjobsite.co.uk

Chancellorsville pdf Chancellorsville, ebook Chancellorsville, epub Chancellorsville, doc Chancellorsville, e-pub Chancellorsville, Chancellorsville 5c57174fc30 Sears Describes The Series Of Controversial Events That Define This Crucial Battle, Including General Robert E Lee S Radical Decision To Divide His Small Army A Violation Of Basic Military Rules Sending Stonewall Jackson On His Famous March Around The Union Army Flank Jackson S Death Accidentally Shot By One Of His Own Soldiers Is One Of The Many Fascinating Stories Included In This Definitive Account Of The Battle Of Chancellorsville

10 thoughts on “Chancellorsville

  1. says:

    The bloodiest war in American history began with a battle in which there were no combat casualties it ended with the death of a single man, the martyrdom of the near biblical leader of the victorious country It is factoids like these, told and retold a hundred thousand times, until the stories are woven into the fabric of the nation, that makes the Civil War into something like a myth It feels, sometimes, almost inevitable, an event controlled by the gods of fate This myth like quality, the sense of destiny playing out as foreordained, is perfectly encapsulated by the Battle of Chancellorsville Fought May 1 3, 1863, in the Wilderness of Virginia, the battle arguably gave General Robert E Lee his greatest victory at least it s in the running with Second Bull Run However, it came at the cost of Lee s chief lieutenant, General Thomas Stonewall Jackson, who was blasted off his horse by his own men, lost his arm, contracted pneumonia, and died raving in the midst of a terrible fever In short, at the height of Confederate powers, as they displayed their greatest mastery over the Union, they lost one of two indispensable men to a series of flukes If that doesn t feel fated, scripted, I don t know what does In Chancellorsville, though, Stephen Sears strips away all the romances and myths to give a grounded account of an extraordinarily fierce engagement Sears might be the best Civil War historian working today His research is tremendous, his judgments acute, and though he doesn t have the soaring prose of Shelby Foote, he writes clearly and vividly, skillfully meshing his own words with the descriptions of the participants When I read Sears, I believe what he s written I feel he s come as close to historical truth as possible I can t say the same thing for all historians The Civil War is well trod ground There is very little new to be discovered, and I d be wary of anyone claiming such To his credit, Sears doesn t set out to reinvent the wheel He doesn t drastically alter what we know about the battle he doesn t stumble onto any secrets that have been hidden away for a hundred and fifty years In other words, those hoping for support for their Time Traveling Ninjas Killed Stonewall Jackson Theory will have to look elsewhere perhaps to the book I m writing called Stonewall Jackson the Ninjas What Really Happened What Sears brings to this oft told tale is his vast knowledge, his considerable intellect, and his ability to pierce the patina of received wisdom that coats so much of Civil War lore By the time I got done reading this book, I had a lot respect for Union General Joseph Hooker, a bit less respect for General Lee, and the sneaking suspicion that dumb luck played as big a role as anything in this battle s outcome Chancellorsville begins with Hooker s ascendance to the command of the Army of the Potomac, replacing the rotund, courageous, beautifully bewhiskered and woefully out of his depth Ambrose Burnside It is in these early pages that Hooker s virtues so often forgotten after his drubbing at Chancellorsville shine through He reorganized the Army and boosted morale to an extent not seen since the time of George McClellan He also turned the Bureau of Military Intelligence BMI into a force to be reckoned with Not only did the BMI gather accurate information on Lee s army in stark contrast to the phantom legions McClellan always attributed to the Rebels but they even engaged in some 19th century counterespionage by telegraphing and semaphoring false intel Hooker also came up with a plan to beat Lee While holding Lee in check at Fredericksburg, he took the bulk of his army on a wide flanking march to the west His intent was to ford the Rappahannock and the Rapidan Rivers, march through the Wilderness, and fall on Lee from behind At the start, things went swimmingly, and credit is due to Joe Hooker for his execution Yet credit is due to his opposite, General Lee A thousand forests have been destroyed in writing of the greatness of Lee and to be sure, the man had his talents He was, above all, a shrewd psychologist, able to gauge the temper of his opponent, and ruthlessly willing to exploit that man s weaknesses He played McClellan like a cheap violin he toyed with John Pope like a marionette To Sears undying credit, though, he isn t in thrall to Lee s legend Lee was, after all, just a man a man already suffering the heart ailments that would kill him at the age of 63 In Sears tale, he has testicles roughly the size of the solid shot fired from a 12 pound Napoleon cannon At Chancellorsville, he defied sneered at the conventional wisdom that you never divide a smaller force in the face of the enemy Not only did Lee split his force leaving a skeleton crew at Fredericksburg in order to match Hooker s flanking movement, he split his already divided force again, in order to flank Hooker Give Lee this he had guts He also had luck And this saved Lee, as much as his over developed, steel hard balls And luck should not be underestimated Because even though Lee was confident, competent, and a reader of men, he was also a smug, condescending figure He was not infallible For instance, he made the near fatal blunder of allowing General James Longstreet s Corps to be sent to Norfolk He also had this maddening habit of relaying ambiguous orders to his subordinates When that subordinate was the mostly competent Stonewall Jackson, things were fine When that subordinate was someone else, say General Richard Ewell at Gettysburg, things could turn out disastrously Further, Lee s confidence often turned to overconfidence He had so little respect for the Union Army those people, he often called them, scornfully that he allowed Hooker, whom he derisively referred to as Mr F.J Hooker, to steal a march on him He thought he d read Hooker he was wrong, and almost disastrously so It helped Lee that Hooker s Corps commanders, with some exceptions, were woefully short of competent among Hooker s lieutenants was Dan Sickles of III Corps, a loose cannon on the best of days, who nearly lost the war at Gettysburg and Oliver Otis Howard, the one armed Christian General, who turned to the Good Book for guidance, and ended up as good a general as Jesus Christ which is to say, not awesome When the vanguard of Hooker s force met the Confederates in the dense tangle of the Wilderness, the Union advance was thwarted Hooker still felt he had the initiative he was still confident, right up until the moment when Lee split his forces for a second time, sending Stonewall Jackson on his famous end around Sears does a fine job of taking a Brillo pad to the finely wrought saga of Jackson s coup de main Certainly, it was a bold maneuver, effectively carried out Aside from Confederate skill, though, it required absolute cooperation on the part of the Union Army, especially on the part of Oliver Otis Howard, who evidently missed the part in the Bible about not being having your flank turned Sightings of Jackson s movements were ignored Union troop displacements were inadequate and Howard refused to acknowledge the possibility or probability of an attack on his position Howard s Eleventh Corps extended the line a mile and a half farther west along the Plank Road from Dowdall s Tavern, past Wilderness Church and the point where the Orange Turnpike branched off, to the farmstead of James Talley Throughout its length this line was on dominating high ground and faced to the south Some 500 yards beyond Talley s on the Turnpike it simply ended, where Howard ran out of men There was no natural feature here on which to anchor a defense, nor any formidable force with which to make a defense, only two regiments and two guns pointing to the west down the narrow road through the dark, silent forest Fighting Joe Hooker s right flank, in the phrase of the military textbooks, was in the air Because of what Howard described as much extension of his line, there were gaps noticeable Engineer Comstock took Howard aside and cautioned him, General, do close in those spaces Howard pointed out that everywhere the forest was thick and tangled will anybody come through here Comstock was quick to answer Oh, they may Jackson s flanking movement proved a smashing success, and sent the Union Army fleeing For the casual student of the Civil War, or anyone unfortunate to have seen the movie Gods and Generals, Jackson s attack on Howard s flank is Chancellorsville Jackson attacked the Rebels won That s not the case Despite its wild success, the Union Army remained viable after its May 2 thrashing The Union cause also received a boost when, that night, Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men while conducting a reconnaissance Of all people, it fell to Jeb Stuart to press the Confederate advantage on May 3 Sears in depth coverage of the post Jackson phase of Chancellorsville is much appreciated, as is his sense of balance Look anywhere for information on this battle, and you will see it described in terms such as lopsided, a general thrashing that saw the Yankees fold like the 2011 Boston Red Sox Baseball wordplay very much intended The reality was different, and belied the intensity of the back and forth struggle in the thick forests of the Wilderness The Rebs actually lost men killed than the Union Army a large number of Union casualties were actually prisoners of war Amidst this vast conflict, Sears is able to pinpoint those hinge moments where the tide turned one way or the other One was the decision for which Hooker must take the blame to abandon Hazel Grove, a pullback that allowed Porter Alexander and the Confederate artillery to rain shot and shell upon the Union Army Another was Hooker s concussion and near death , which left him stunned and insensible Hooker would forever be dogged by allegations that he hadn t been in control of his Army, that he might even have been drunk The reality is that he d suffered a traumatic brain injury and was physiologically incapable of exerting command I recall, once, watching Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, try to play after receiving a concussion The bewildered look in his eyes, as he tried to navigate 100 yards and 22 players, spoke volumes as to his mental state That was a football game A game for all the talk of football as war only a game Hooker had to issue orders for tens of thousands of men, hundreds of whom were dying that instant, without the aid of satellite, radar, telephones, or even a decent map, all after his brain has been shaken inside his skull following a near death experience Not an easy task.Hooker didn t perform flawlessly But after reading Chancellorsville, I am left with a rounded view of his performance and of his qualities, as well as his vices If he d had a bit of Lee s luck if the telegraph lines weren t down at important moments if his messages had been delivered on time if he didn t have to deal with such dawdling squares as John Sedgewick Hooker might just have bagged General Lee for once and for all It s a fuller story than that told in general histories of the Civil War And it s a story worth reading Sears gives you a comprehensive take on the Chancellorsville campaign, paying full attention not only to the main event, but to the sideshow battles at Fredericksburg and Salem Church where General Sedgewick proved himself quite a literalist when it came to orders he wouldn t put on his hat without Hooker commanding it The oft complicated maneuvers are made easier to follow by numerous maps Above all, Sears constantly reminds you that the battle did not play out in the pages of a history book, but unfolded in real time, with fallible humans making difficult decisions based on grossly imperfect data Up above, I noted how the Civil War has a certain quality to it, that everything that happened the victories and the losses were written in the stars Lincoln seemed to recognize this, as he came to see the bloodletting as a national expurgation of sins Chancellorsville was a great Confederate triumph It sent the Union Army fleeing It cost Joe Hooker his job Soon, a new commander, dour George Meade, took control of the Army of the Potomac Flush with victory, General Lee planned another invasion of the north He set his troops on the long road to Pennsylvania, minus Stonewall Jackson and 12,000 dead and wounded soldiers And at the end of that road was Gettysburg and the eventual doom of Lee s enterprises.

  2. says:

    I really enjoyed Chancellorsville Prior to this book, I knew very little about the battle except that it was another Yankee defeat and led the demise of Joe Hooker and the death of Stonewall Jackson I was glad I read Sear s account Little did I realize how close the Union came to total success I believe this would have been a Union victory had it not been for 1 Hooker s poor use of artillery which included his order to surrender Hazel Grove, a strategic spot on the battlefield to employ artillery and 2 had it not been for a round of solid shot from a Rebel cannon that knocked out a pillar that FJ Hooker was leaning against This round caused a severe concussion to the general After the concusion FJH could not think clearly and this seemed to cause a order to retreat that no one else agreed with For me the book cleared up a few myths First, Joe Hooker did not lose his nerve and fail to attack He intended to fight a defensive battle similar to what Longstreet wanted to do in the Gettysburg campaign Second, there was no credible account that fighting Joe Hooker told another general officer after the war that Joe Hooker lost confidence in Joe Hooker Third, this was a Confederate victory but far from a Union route The Union morale was improving and if their commanding officer had not suffered from concussion they probably would have stayed and slugged it out Also, with the loss of Jackson and so many good men, the South could no longer afford any hollow victories like this I loved this book.

  3. says:

    In Chancellorsville, Stephen W Sears charts the 1863 Chancellorsville Campaign, beginning with the recovery of the Union Army of the Potomac after the Battle of Fredericksburg and ending with two armies facing each other in much the same way as before the campaign began In what was Confederate General Robert E Lee s most stunning victory, he divided his army in the face of a superior enemy, in violation of basic military rules, and sent Thomas Stonewall Jackson s corps around the Union Army s flank Jackson s death, accidentally shot by one of his own soldiers, has been recounted numerous places before, but less well known is how Union General Joseph Hooker managed to lose a battle that looked so much in his favor.One of the most stunning takeaways from this book was the Army of the Potomac s condition after the Battle of Fredericksburg Desertion, low morale, in fighting among officers, and expired enlistments whittled the army down to an empty husk On January 31, 1863, the Union Army counted 25,363 deserters 1 4 of the army In contrast, Lee had 91,000 men under his command Why didn t he move against the disorganized and demoralized Union Army One reason was lack of intelligence Lee couldn t be certain how many or how few enemy soldiers he faced Another was lack of supply Lee couldn t stockpile enough supplies to go on the offensive with the trickle coming from Richmond He actually sent 20,000 men south to relieve the burden So his best opportunity to crush the Army of the Potomac slowly slipped away.Chancellorsville is above all a vindication of Major General Joseph Hooker Hooker is usually portrayed as the Union general on the losing end of Robert E Lee s most stunning victory But he was a brilliant organizer and military innovator Unfortunately, Fighting Joe didn t get along well with his peers He was outspoken, a rough character, and a middle aged bachelor at a time when that was viewed suspiciously.Hooker most famously implemented the corps badges that identified each corps in the Army of the Potomac by symbol and each division by color suggested by Maj Gen Dan Butterfield , but he also created an improved furlough system, reformed the Army cooks and quartermasters, re established paydays and improved camp sanitation, and consolidated the cavalry into a single corps He organized several divisions into flying columns, units that would pack light and carry eight days rations rather than the standard three By dispensing with wagons and extra gear, these light infantry units would be far flexible in rough terrain.Hooker s most important achievement was to replace George McClellan s old system of military intelligence with a professional army staff called the Bureau of Military Information The B.M.I was so effective that by the end of April, Hooker knew as much about the Army of Northern Virginia as its own commander They slightly underestimated the number of men under Lee s command, but were far accurate than the wild over estimates of McClellan s Pinkerton detectives.Sears makes a compelling case that the Union Army s loss at the Battle of Chancellorsville was made so much worse by the fact Hooker likely suffered a concussion when a cannonball struck a porch he was standing on Later, many of his subordinates accused him of being drunk during the battle, but his confusion and slurred speech was probably a result of the concussion Because nothing was physically wrong with him, no one ever relieved him of command, leaving the Union Army without central leadership at a critical moment.Stephen Ward Sears born July 27, 1932 , of Norwalk, Connecticut, is a graduate of Lakewood High School and Oberlin College He began his writing career in the 1960s as a World War 2 historian but later found a niche writing about the Army of the Potomac in the American Civil War, and particularly its most famous commander, General George B McClellan His other books include Gettysburg 2003 and George B McClellan The Young Napoleon 1988.

  4. says:

    This is an absolutely outstanding work Sears clearly researched everything pertaining to both armies Sears walks the reader through every change in the armies following the battle of Fredericksburg all the way through the final day of Chancellorsville The information is masterfully presented in an easily digestible narrative flow.

  5. says:

    At 640 pages, you could read concise accounts of the Battle of Chancellorsville, but not a better one.

  6. says:

    Stephen Sears is a top flight Civil War historian, and Chancelorsville is an extraordinary battle to recount My old Rommie is a CW buff and marched me through Jackson s flanking manuever a 19 mile hike that ended at the spot Jackson died I had the conviction that Sears accounted for every bullet and every cannon fired, and every human weakness, and every intervention of fate.

  7. says:

    The Civil War is a fascinating subject, but too many books on its battles are focused on minutia such as the movements of the 29th Pennsylvanians on Cemetery Ridge at 2pm on the second day of Gettysburg or so riddled with military terminology as to be incomprehensible to ordinary readers I was then very pleased to find Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears to be page turning interesting and easy to understand, even by someone like myself, who is not a military historian.Sears writing is very good, and he is careful to frame the battle in the setting of its historical and political times Abraham Lincoln had a difficult time finding a good leader for the Army of the Potomac, and Sears covers the brief failed leadership of Ambrose Burnside, then how Fighting Joe Hooker came to be appointed Commanding General He details the good work Hooker did in rebuilding the Army s morale, and in developing a solid battle plan for crossing the Rappahonnock River and attacking General Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia.When the battle begins, Sears gives detailed accounts of the movements and action, but in ways a regular reader can understand I learned a lot about Civil War military terminology, while being able to easily understand how the battle unfolded Ultimately, the Union lost the Battle of Chancellorsville for 3 major reasons, I gleaned from this book General Otis Howard did a terrible job securing the end line of the army and when Stonewall Jackson attacked, his wing of the army collapsed Another, General Stoneman, given the charge to break Lee s supply trains, inexplicably failed to do so Finally, General Hooker himself likely suffered a severe concussion at the height of the battle, and was rendered confused and insensible, to the point that Fighting Joe actually retreated back across the river, ending the campaign Except for a torrential rain that delayed a planned additional attack by Lee, the outcome may have been worse Ultimately though, the death of famed Confederate General Stonewall Jackson after wounding by his own troops during the battle, might have been the most important thing for the Union that came out of the battle.Sears gives a balanced account of Hooker s plusses and minuses, and given what we know today about concussions, it now seems clear he should have been relieved after suffering his head injury Even days and weeks after the battle, his own closest aides reported still altered behavior Hooker also suffered bad luck from failed corps commanders, but then again, he was responsible for them.Robert E Lee secured one of his strongest victories at Chancellorsville, through a combination of strong and daring leadership, the flank attack by General Jackson that destroyed Howard s wing, and good luck Afterwards, Hooker would be relieved by Lincoln just before the Battle of Gettysburg, where Lee would be defeated by General Meade, whose skill Hooker little used at Chancellorsville But then Meade would allow Lee to escape and he too would be relieved, when Lincoln would finally find the General he needed, Ulysseys Grant.Chancellorsville is a very readable, page turning book that anyone interested in the politics and generalmanship of one of the key battles of the Civil War will much enjoy and benefit from reading Highly recommended.

  8. says:

    Having recently visited the battlefield, I really appreciated seeing the maps of the various stages of the battle and being able to relate those images to my memories of what we saw After driving the Chancellorsville battlefield route, walking around the foundations of the Chancellor house, and standing at the spot where Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded, it was easy to fit those present day sites into the line drawings of land features and troop deployments.Better yet was reading personal accounts by both major and minor players in the Chancellorsville campaign Excerpts from journals, letters, and testimony from commanders and foot soldiers gave the story of military events immediacy and a sense of intimacy.Reading the book also made the timeline of events clearer to me When you walk through a visitor center exhibit, you usually see artifacts and layouts of the major phases in and around one spot This account made it easier for me to keep things straight, knowing that while one thing was happening at Chancellorsville, something else was occurring back in Fredericksburg.I m planning on going back in Civil War time to the Sears book on Antietam.

  9. says:

    Sears presents a fascinating account of one of the world s most studied battles Superbly researched and ably written, Sears presents the Chancellorsville campaign through the eyes of its participants, frequently providing superior insight into why the military leaders did what they did Sears posits that the reason Hooker and the Army of the Potomac failed to defeat Lee was of a function of breakdown in telegraph communications and the failure of one or two Corps commanders, rather than exclusively the result of Hooker s indecisiveness at the critical moment

  10. says:

    A Seminal look through the fog of warAs deeply researched as it is, Sears makes the right decisions about what to include He gives clear as possible treatment to a remarkably confused reality I find this work on my second reading , thorough and reliable and we ll written I would have appreciated maps at key points however.

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