Monday, 15 May 2017
30th Anniversary Milestones: Chancellorsville & The Wilderness
As we recap some of the Civil War Trust’s biggest accomplishments of the last 30 years, this month we highlight efforts at Chancellorsville and the Wilderness, two crucial battlefields of the Civil War.
Gen. Robert E. Lee’s victory at Chancellorsville was one of his greatest military accomplishments. Rather than retreat before a Federal army twice the size of his own, Lee opted to attack the exposed Union right flank on May 2, 1863. However, Lee’s victory came at a terrific cost in men, including the mortal wounding of his most valuable lieutenant, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.
Almost exactly one year later, on May 5, 1864, the Army of the Potomac again locked horns with the Army of Northern Virginia in the dense thickets of the Wilderness. The two armies fought to a terrible and bloody stalemate. Though the fighting took a massive toll on their numbers, the Federals continued their march south toward Richmond.
Just as it was during the Civil War, the region encompassing the Chancellorsville and Wilderness battlefields has continued to be contested territory in the last 30 years. Since the creation of the Civil War Trust, the Trust, its partners, and members like you have waged a long, hard battle to protect the sites of terrible combat and heroic sacrifice. With your help, we have saved more than 1,288 acres at Chancellorsville, including a significant portion of the first day's battlefield and several key tracts over which Stonewall Jackson launched his fabled flank attack. We have also saved 259 acres at the Wilderness battlefield, notably a 180-acre portion of Saunders Field the very heart of the battlefield. In total, the Trust has helped save over 1,500 acres at these two battlefields, land that would have been lost forever without your support.
The successes of these projects and the genuine collaboration that brought them about prove that preservation and progress need not be mutually exclusive. I look forward to seeing what more we can achieve in the years to come!
The Civil War Trust