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Near Chancellor in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
First Day at Chancellorsville
Not Just Armies
 
First Day at Chancellorsville Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, August 24, 2008
1. First Day at Chancellorsville Marker
 
Inscription. "On the first day of the Chancellorsville fight...[our] farm was between our and the enemy's lines of battle."
-James H. Leitch, farmer.

The Battle of Chancellorsville started here - amid the homes of families living along the Orange Turnpike. On the morning of May 1, Ann Lewis, whose house stood on the rise in front of you, found Union cavalrymen lounging in her yard. After she saw masses of Confederate troops approaching from the east, Lewis called a Union trooper into her house to "look at the rebels"; she wisely retreated to her cellar just as the shooting started. Union soldiers took cover behind the house, and a spirited firefight ensued.

With so many battles fought nearby, the civilians of Spotsylvania County bore a disproportionate burdon of devastation and destruction. James H. Leitch, whose home lay in the middle of the battlefield, recalled: "The enemy tore down some of the fencing... They took our corn from the crib... [and] ten bushels of ground wheat. ... I saw our troops using the fencing from the side opposite the Yankees as fuel."
 
Erected 2008 by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 17.736′ 
 
Help Preserve Chancellorsville image, Click for more information
2. Help Preserve Chancellorsville
CWPT efforts to save the battlefield.
Click for more information.
 
N, 77° 35.579′ W. Marker is near Chancellor, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is on Plank Road / Germanna Highway (State Highway 3), on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Located along the Civil War Preservation Trust's walking trail through the First Day at Chancellorsville Battlefield. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22407, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named First Day at Chancellorsville (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named First Day at Chancellorsville (about 800 feet away); Chancellorsville Campaign (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named First Day at Chancellorsville (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named First Day at Chancellorsville (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named First Day at Chancellorsville (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named First Day at Chancellorsville (approx. half a mile away); Spotswood’s Furnace (approx. 1.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Chancellor.
 
More about this marker. In the lower center is a portrait of the Myer family children: Even Spotsylvania County's youngest residents, such as John H. Myer, Jr., Mary Myer, and Annie Myer, could not escape the ravages of war. After the Confederate army impressed their father into service, Union troops burned their home on May 15, 1864.

A map on the right side illustrates the actions described in the text. Civilian life along and around the Orange Turnpike was typical of the nineteenth-century Wilderness - farmers built homes in the sparse clearings and worked what little clear land they had around them.
 
First Day at Chancellorsville Map Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, August 24, 2008
3. First Day at Chancellorsville Map
This map clearly indicates the locations of various family farms around the areas contested during the battle. Note the north seeking arrow points to the left.
 

 
Also see . . .
1. First Day at Chancellorsville. An animated map of the first day's battle from Civil War Preservation Trust. Also links to several excellent resources about the battle. The action described on this marker is roughly occurring at the 11:30 a.m. mark on the animation's time line. (Submitted on September 13, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Battle of Chancellorsville. National Park Service page about the battle. (Submitted on September 13, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
The <i>Not Just Armies</i> Wayside Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, August 24, 2008
4. The Not Just Armies Wayside
 
 
Federal Picket Line Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, August 24, 2008
5. Federal Picket Line
Along this high ground a few feet east of the marker location, the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry posted pickets to screen the advance of Sykes' Division. The Lewis farm stood in this vicinity, close to the marker location. In the distance, is the location where the Leitch farm house stood at the time of the battle. To the right is the Germanna Highway, known at the time of the battle as the Orange Turnpike.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on September 13, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,265 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on September 13, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on March 13, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3, 4, 5. submitted on September 13, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
 
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