May 3, 1863 May 3, 2011Brooks D. Simpson Okay … what do you think the events of May 3, 1863, had on the course of the Civil War? Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like Loading... Related
Lee has a glimpse of the future, he needs a corps commander and the cupboard is looking mighty bare.
The AoP reached an equilibrium in the course of the battle and had the fighting continued over the next few days Lee might have wrecked the ANV but for Hooker having lost heart.
I’m a big believer that General Hooker’s wounding (encounter with a Confederate cannonball) on the morning of May 3rd played a much more crucial role in the Battle of Chancellorsville than is written about. Hooker pretty clearly had a severe concussion (he vomits shortly after the incident that morning). His aides and fellow generals all write about his poor mental health. Captain Candler, one of his aides, writes, “The blow which the General received seems to have knocked all the sense out of him. For the remainder of the day he was wandering, and was unable to get any ideas into his head… In fact, at no time of trip after Sunday did he seem to be compos mentis”! I’m not sure if Hooker’s wounding would have changed the outcome of Chancellorsville, but I think his wounding played a big role in the Army of the Potomac’s lack of direction and leadership on May 3rd.
And yet the big event of the day happened miles and miles away from Hazel Grove.
I’m guessing by that hint that we may not be talking about a few miles. Because if we were, an opportunity to crush a severely outmanned ANV between two pincers was fumbled away by a well-liked, but probably mediocre, Yankee general. Had that happened, no invasion of Pennsylvania, no Gettysburg, etc.
Wasn’t that when Grant crossed Bayou Pierre and began moving up to the Big Black. Pemberton was on the verge of being overwhelmed by the situation. Pemberton like Hooker was thrown from equilibrium when the opponent didn’t act in the accepted manner. He was trying to play catch up the rest of the campaign
The Vicksburg campaign illustrates the old saying, “to achieve a Cannae you need both a Hannibal and a Varro”