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Twelve miles west of Fredericksburg on SR 3, Chancellorsville Battlefield is part of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
The battles of Chancellorsville and Salem Church, April 27 through May 6, 1863, were among the most important engagements of the Civil War. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee, numbered approximately 60,000. Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker directed about 134,000 Union troops.
Hooker crossed the Rappahannock River and entrenched his army along a 6-mile line centered at an inn known as Chancellorsville. Lee sent Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson to attack the right wing of the Union line, driving it back to Chancellorsville. That evening Jackson's own men accidentally shot him; a week later he died of pneumonia.
The next day Lee attacked, forcing Hooker to withdraw. The result was a brilliant victory for the South that sparked Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania.
The Three Battles Visitor Center at Chancellorsville offers exhibits and a 22-minute film. A 12-mile, self-guiding driving tour of the battlefield begins near the visitor center parking lot. Another way to tour the battlefield is by following a 3-hour audio tour, available for sale or rent at the visitor center.
The park is open daily dawn-dusk. Visitor center hours vary; phone ahead. Closed Jan. 1, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Walking tours led by park historians are conducted seasonally. Phone (540) 786-2880.
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