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NOTE: The descriptions of the places in this guide were accurate at the time the articles were posted. Please be advised that you should call ahead before traveling to any of them.

Chancellorsville Battlefield, VA – “Stonewall” Jackson’s “Other” Gravesite

By: Michelle Harper

Chancellors BattlefieldIn a short 3-day span from May 1 until May 3, 1863, the Chancellorsville campaign included some of the most vicious fighting of the Civil War. On the second day of the campaign, the Confederate army executed a stunning surprise victory in which the outnumbered soldiers successfully pushed back Union forces. Spurred by his initial success, General “Stonewall” Jackson continued to press forward with his aides and couriers in the fading daylight. At that time, the exact location of Union forces was unclear to the Confederate troops in the area.

Quartz bolder marking Jackson's fallDue to the encroaching darkness and the dense thickets in the area, Jackson and his small band of scouts were mistaken for enemy troops and fired upon by his own troops from the North Carolina brigade. Within moments, Jackson had been struck 3 times, twice in his left arm and once in his right hand. His horse, startled by the commotion, bolted for the woods with the injured rider still in the saddle.

Stonewall Jackson monumentA plain quartz boulder, placed by some of Jackson’s men, marks the original spot where Jackson was removed from his horse and first treated. In a clear demonstration of the admiration and devotion for “Stonewall” Jackson, a more formal monument was erected in 1888. But perhaps the ultimate act of respect for the Confederate leader was demonstrated just a few miles further down the road, where a most unusual gravesite was established. For it is here that Jackson’s amputated left arm was laid to rest in the Lacy Family Cemetery at Ellwood Plantation by his chaplain, the Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacy.

Due to the heavy fighting in the area, one day after the amputation, Jackson was moved 27-miles away by ambulance to Fairview Plantation. He died there 6 days later on May 10th of pneumonia. The rest of his body was finally laid to rest in Lexington, VA.

Stonewall Jackson's ArmToday, visitors to Chancellorsville Visitor Center located inside the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park can visit the site by signing in, obtaining directions and a mandatory parking pass. You must walk approximately a half-mile walk from the gate to the plantation. From there a “Cemetery” sign directs you. At first glance nothing seems extraordinary about the farmhouse setting and the small family cemetery until you com upon the simple carved headstone (if an arm can have a headstone) simply inscribed “Arm of Stonewall Jackson, May 3, 1863.”

Ellwood PlantationEllwood Plantation itself was to play several more roles during the Civil War from serving as a field hospital to eventually serving as commander’s quarters for the Union army. It was eventually sold to the park and is currently being renovated and is not officially open to the public. Therefore, please be careful during your visit.

In order to fully appreciate the magnitude of what Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park has to offer, take time to chat with the rangers at the Chancellorsville Visitor Center. It is highly recommended that you view the informative movie depicting all the battles that were fought in the area. The park also as several walking tours such as “The Wounding of “Stonewall” Jackson”, “Chancellorsville History Trail”, “Hazel Grove Fairview” and “McLaws Trail” to name a few.

History buffs and nature lovers alike can spend the day walking along the countryside and learning about the history of the area while appreciating the great sacrifices that were made there. The battle of Chancellorsville was to be the final battle for not only “Stonewall” Jackson but for many others as well. Today the park offers a peaceful haven but on May 3, 1863, in only 5 hours of combat, more than 17,500 soldiers were killed, wounded or captured – another grim reminder of the horrible casualties of war and the remarkable capability the land has to heal itself. Though time passes, the glories and the tragedies will not be forgotten.

For more information on the Battle of Chancellorsville visit: http://www.nps.gov/frsp/cville.htm
Directions: Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center is located twelve miles west of Fredericksburg on Route 3.
Hours: Daily 9:00AM -5:00PM

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