Part of Jackson's Flanking Road - 1998
The Chancellorsville visitor's center is an easy 10 mile drive on
State Route 3 west from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Route 3 is the
"Orange Turnpike" of Civil War Times. The other main road
involved in the battle, the "Orange Plank Road" also still exists.
Both can easily be located by comparing a current road map with
the Chancellorsville Battlefield maps.
Chancellorsville is a great battlefield park. But---we would say,
more than any other battlefield---you have to know and
understand the battle in order to get the full impact from a visit. It was here that Stonewall Jackson won
his greatest battle and received the wounds that cost him his
(On either I-95 or U.S. 1 between Fredericksburg and Richmond
you will see signs directing you to Jackson's Shrine. This is the
house in which he died shortly after Chancellorsville).
Using a good map and having knowledge of the battlefield you can
locate,on your own, many interesting locations. For example,
you can find the foundation outline of the Chancellor house,
which was destroyed by Rebel cannon fire during the battle. It
is located just east of the Visitor's Center on Route 3. You can
also go back into the country and be amazed at the small size of the
the Rapidan River behind which the Union Army retreated after
the battle. Finally, you can see the monument (behind the visitor's
center) marking the "spot" where Stonewall Jackson was shot by
his own men. We quote "spot" because, recently Park Historian
Robert K. Krick determined that Jackson was wounded just a few
yards from the eastern end of the Chancellorsville Visitor
Center. A trail is being constructed to that location.
But the part of the park that most interests me, is the route
that Jackson took (12 miles) in order to flank the Union forces.
Most of that route is owned by the Park Service with the
exception of a couple miles at the end (which follows current
highways). It has been maintained in order to appear as it did
during the battle. As you drive or walk over the dirt road, all
of the 1862 sights, from the furnace, to the little stream
that the thousands of Confederate soldiers marched through, are
still there, for you to see, just as Jackson's soldiers
Some say that even though there was a great victory at
Chancellorsville, the loss of Jackson cost the Confederacy the
war. A good case can be made that they are right. Jackson
would never have let Lee fight Gettsyburg the way it was fought.
Indeed, had Jackson been with Lee, Culp's hill would have been
occupied by the Confederates the second day of the Gettysburg
battle, negating the need for Pickett's charge on the third.
Anyhow, if you really want to feel one of the great battles of
the Civil War, you should visit Chancellorsville. But you must
study the battle first.
By the way, this battlefield is intermingled with the Wilderness
Battlefield (1864) where Lee fought Grant. But that's another
Civil War Photos
> Visting Chancellorsville