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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chancellorsville in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Night-time Horror

The Battle of Chancellorsville

 
 
Night-Time Horror Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, October 7, 2017
1. Night-Time Horror Marker
Inscription. Click to hear the inscription.  Civil war combat rarely continued after dark, but on the night of May 2, 1863, desperation and fear filled these gloomy woods. At midnight, about 3,000 Union soldiers of Brigadier General David B. Birney's division moved through these woods, intent on retaking the Orange Plank Road and re-establishing contact with the rest of the Union army. In this area, Birney's men collided with skirmishers of General James Lane's North Carolina brigade.

Blinding sheets of musketry tore through the dark woods. Unable to see, Union soldiers fired into their own men. Both Union and Confederate artillery shells ripped indiscriminately through the timber. Birney's men panicked. They fell back to Hazel Grove, their mission not accomplished. In the morning they would be called upon to fight again, in a battle far more terrible and costly than any they had endured.

"The scare wasn't confined to the privates. Officers dodged hither and thither, some of them so frightened that they couldn't have told their names."
Private John Haley, 17th Maine

(map caption)
Believing that the uproar here signaled a Confederate attack, Union cannons at Fairview randomly shelled these woods, killing friend and foe alike. "The lightening flash of batteries, the roaring of artillery, the crashing of timber...was a spectacle of be seen and heard that night—more easily imagined than described," wrote one Union officer.
 
Erected by Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.
 
Location. 38° 18.44′ N, 77° 39.128′ W. Marker is in Chancellorsville, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is on Stuart Drive 0.2 miles south of Plank Road (Virginia Route 3), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located at Tour Stop 9 on the Chancellorsville Battlefield Auto Tour Route. Marker is in this post office area: Spotsylvania VA 22553, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bloody Morning (a few steps from this marker); Elisha Franklin Paxton (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Brig. Gen. E. F. Paxton, C.S.A. (about 800 feet away); Chancellorsville Campaign (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hazel Grove—Fairview Trail (approx. mile away); Jackson (approx. mile away); Jackson Monuments (approx. mile away); Hazel Grove (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chancellorsville.
 
Also see . . .  Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. National Park Service (Submitted on January 8, 2018.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 8, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 5, 2018, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 76 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on January 5, 2018, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide shot of marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?
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