From Antietam to Chancellorsville: September 1862 to May 1863

“fighting Joe” Hooker

Who lost the Battle of Chancellorsville?

“Fighting Joe” Hooker did not live up to his nickname. He devised a fine plan and executed it very well up to two-thirds of the way; then, inexplicably, he fell apart.

The Army of the Potomac was not destroyed, however. Hooker and his staff got the large majority of their men safely across the river, and the battle petered out by May 5, 1863. The losses were immense, however. All told, the North lost slightly more than 18,000 men killed, wounded, or missing, while the South lost in excess of 12,500. Though Lee was the clear winner of the Battle of Chancellorsville, he was not satisfied. In letters to President Davis and others, he confided that he had hoped to inflict far greater losses on the Union. And though no one wanted to say it, the South could not afford 12,500 casualties, while the North could—in strict numerical terms—afford to lose 18,000. The single greatest loss was that of Stonewall Jackson.


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