General Edward Porter Alexander ( Part 5 )


After the disaster at Fredrickburg, Lincoln replaced Burnside with Joe Hooker. He started south with the union army with 105,000 men. The most direct route to Richmond passed directly through the wooded swamp known as the Wilderness. Of course Lee and Jackson blocked the only road at Chancellorsville with their 32,000 veterans. Stonewalls flanking maneuver screened by a railroad cut, turned the federal line into a route. As the battle went on into the night Jackson was accidentally shot by his own men while returning from a night time scouting of the federal lines. Lee’s cavalry commander, JEB Stuart took command and Alexander and his artillery fired grapeshot and canister fire into the retreating blue masses. They were able to use their long range whitworth rifles on the retreating wagons. The Union army was able to once again pull defeat from the jaws of victory but the stress of nonstop campaigns was starting to show on the CSA.

The war in the west wasn’t going well and Longstreet’s corps was shipped by rail to east Tennessee to help out. Alexander and his guns didn’t arrive in time to have much effect on the battle at Chicamauga, but Longstreet’s infantry swept the field. General Bragg was not up to the level of Lee and Alexander found him lacking in leadership ability. The artillery commander and his gunners did do their duty in spite of poor ammunition and worse strategy at Chattanooga. There was no complaining when the unit was returned to General Lee’s command.



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