|On April 27, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker led the V, IX, and XII Corps on a campaign to turn the
Confederate left flank by crossing the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers above Fredericksburg. Passing the
Rapidan via Germanna and Ely’s Fords, the Federals concentrated near Chancellorsville on April 30 and May 1.
The III Corps was ordered to join the army via United States Ford. Sedgwick’s VI Corps and Gibbon’s division
remained to demonstrate against the Confederates at Fredericksburg. In the meantime, Lee left a covering force
under Maj. Gen. Jubal Early in Fredericksburg and marched with the rest of the army to confront the Federals.
As Hooker’s army moved toward Fredericksburg on the Orange Turnpike, they encountered increasing
Confederate resistance. Hearing reports of overwhelming Confederate force, Hooker ordered his army to
suspend the advance and to concentrate again at Chancellorsville. Pressed closely by Lee’s advance, Hooker
adopted a defensive posture, thus giving Lee the initiative. On the morning of May 2, Lt. Gen. T.J. Jackson
directed his corps on a march against the Federal left flank, which was reported to be "hanging in the air."
Fighting was sporadic on other portions of the field throughout the day, as Jackson’s column reached its jump-off
point. At 5:20 pm, Jackson’s line surged forward in an overwhelming attack that crushed the Union XI Corps.
Federal troops rallied, resisted the advance, and counterattacked. Disorganization on both sides and darkness
ended the fighting. While making a night reconnaissance, Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men and
carried from the field. J.E.B. Stuart took temporary command of Jackson’s Corps. On May 3, the Confederates
attacked with both wings of the army and massed their artillery at Hazel Grove. This finally broke the Federal line
at Chancellorsville. Hooker withdrew a mile and entrenched in a defensive "U" with his back to the river at United
States Ford. Union generals Berry and Whipple and Confederate general Paxton were killed; Stonewall Jackson
was mortally wounded. On the night of May 5-6, after Union reverses at Salem Church, Hooker recrossed to the
north bank of the Rappahannock. This battle was considered by many historians to be Lee’s greatest victory.