previous next


The battle of Chancellorsville is chiefly identified, in the public mind, with the humiliating surprise of May 2, though this was really only one event out of a series. Even during this very defeat the steadfastness of the 2d Corps, whose soldiers held their ranks unmoved while thousands of frightened men ran by them, is to be set against the stampede of the 11th Corps. In that unfortunate body, too, as is pointed out by Gen. F. A. Walker, an eye-witness, single regiments ‘behaved with great fortitude’ amid the general stampede, one of these being, as there is good reason to think, the 33d Mass. The whole affair was also somewhat exaggerated by the prejudice existing in the other army corps against the German troops, which made up the bulk of the retreating force.

In the assault upon Salem on May 3, Colonel Johns of the 7th Mass. Infantry, a West Point graduate, led a column of assault up the heights, ascending through a stony gorge, commanded by two howitzers. The column consisted of the 7th Mass. and the 23d New York Infantry. Colonel Johns was severely wounded and Lieutenant-Colonel Harlow, commanding the regiment, slightly, and the 7th captured two pieces of artillery without firing a shot. In General Newton's words, ‘Colonel Harlow proved himself a hero, as this was a charge not exceeded in brilliancy by any operation of the war.’ General Newton also said that ‘the 10th and 37th rendered their principal services at Salem Heights, and their coolness under fire and admirable discipline merited the warmest acknowledgments.’ The 7th was again in action near Salem Church and lost largely in the two encounters, including Capt. Prentiss M. Whiting and Lieut. Albert A. Tillson. Major-General Sedgwick, commanding the corps, says that ‘it is no disparagement to the other regiments of the corps to say that the steadiness and valor of the 6th Maine, 5th Wisconsin, 7th Massachusetts and the Vermont Brigade could not be excelled.’ He also mentions Col. (afterwards brigadier-general) H. L. Eustis as being ‘especially mentioned by his brigade commander for gallant service, he having subsequently taken command of the brigade,’ and compliments the firing of the 1st Mass. Battery (McCartney's).12

After the battle or battles of Chancellorsville, General Hooker especially complimented in orders the conduct of the 2d Mass. Infantry (Col. S. M.

1 Official War Records, 39, pp. 559-562.

2 Walker's 2d Army Corps, pp. 228, 229.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Salem (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Chancellorsville (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 3rd (1)
May 2nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: