I do have some plans for the Franco-Prussian War becoming WW1, the Union dealing with instability out west, and the political Scene in the 1860s and beyond for the main two Nations of this tl series. Remember that iotl, the ACW didn't affect much outside of North America immediately. The consequences could only be felt in WW1 and beyond.
I do have some plans for the Franco-Prussian War becoming WW1, the Union dealing with instability out west, and the political Scene in the 1860s and beyond for the main two Nations of this tl series. Remember that iotl, the ACW didn't affect much outside of North America immediately. The consequences could only be felt in WW1 and beyond.
Depends on what you mean by WWI? A prologed battle between the two powers I could see if France is a bit better organised and doesn't make all the mistakes of OTL. However it becoming a major coalition war with most of Europe dragged in seems unlikely. Austria and Italy are unlikely to get involved and I can't really see Britain or Russia doing so either unless something very odd happens.
As the War in Alabama progressed, the War in the Western Theatre remained mobile. Following the disaster of the prior years' campaigns into Missouri and Kentucky, the Armies of Iowa and Indiana had been preparing for their next move ever since Mid November of 1862 and by Early March of 1863, they were ready for battle. The new plan was simple for both sides, with the Army of Iowa being focused on retaking St. Louis by Mid April before moving in on Jefferson City itself while the Union Army of Indiana was to march South and capture Columbus, Kentucky. From there, Union Gunboats would then advance and capture the city of Memphis before awaiting Union reinforcements to capture Vicksburg before advancing on New Orleans, hopefully cutting the Confederacy in two and bringing a quicker end to the war. All four major Armies didn't change much in the time during the prior campaign and the early 1863 campaigns and in fact there was little to no reorganization in terms of command structure. The Confederate Plan was to simply defend and hold out for as long as possible against the Union's fully aggressive campaign against them. As war raged in Alabama, the Armies of Iowa and Indiana made their moves in late February.
Learning from the mistakes of the 1862 Campaign, General Rosecrans was able to have deployable pontoon boats at the ready from the start of the campaign and ordered an intense artillery bombardment of Kentucky's bank of the Ohio River in order to lessen Confederate defenses in the area. In just a week, by March 5th, the Army of Mississippi had been forced to withdraw from the Kentucky coast and marched south into the state though the Second Battle of the Ohio River was a very bloody affair. Seeing the early success of his companion in Kentucky, General Fremont ordered his army to move West and take St. Louis as quickly as possible. On March 6th, they began their march and engaged the Army of Missouri in three decisive battles at Macon (March 9th), Moberly (March 12th), and New Florence (March 15th), all of which were key Union Victories that forced General Johnston to retreat to Jefferson City, before the Army of Iowa finally began to lay siege to St. Louis on March 19th. Two days later, the relatively undefended city of Columbus fell to Pro-Union Militia in Kentucky that was incorporated into the Army of Indiana, allowing for St. Louis to be attacked from gunboats and have no real escape due to encirclement. By March 21st, the defenders of the city, seeing no other choice, surrendered to the Union Army and opened the way to Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans just as planned, and faster than it was expected.
During this entire time, General Rosecrans practically forced General Albert Sidney Johnston out of Kentucky after taking Lexington, Fort Knox, and Perryville in three decisive battles that practically butchered the Army of Mississippi and forced them to withdraw deep into Tennessee. Under General Rosecrans' guidance, an Army of Kentucky was formed to garrison the occupied state before he marched southwards into the relatively undefended City of Nashville, bringing it under Union control for the second and last time of the war. By Mid April, it really did truthfully seem like the Union could win the War in the end by mid 1864. While the campaign in Alabama had not been going as expected or planned, many strategists in Washington believed it was only a matter of time before the rest of Tennessee and Missouri fell to Union forces and following that would be the falls of Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia. The Union only hoped that the success could continue. This, however, was not to be, as on May 8th, Generals Rosecrans and Fremont received orders that they were to be transferred east to take up new commands following the deaths of Meade and several other officers during the disastrous battle of Chancellorsville for the Union. This sudden troop movement greatly disrupted Union Forces for a time as Jefferson C. Davis was placed in Command of the Army of Iowa while Major General John A. McClernard was placed in command of the Army of Indiana.
Due to these sudden changes in command, neither Union force could effectively mobilize and push forwards onto their further objectives, though the Army of Mississippi was unwilling to take the initiative after realizing how fortified the Army of Indiana had likely become at Nashville. As war stalled in Tennessee, Alabama, and Virginia due to recent campaigns and battles, General Joe Johnston believed it was time to retake the initiative. On May 21st, he attacked the Army of Iowa at Chesterfield and won the surprise attack. Unable to retake St. Louis due to Columbus, Kentucky still being in Union hands and Union gunboats patrolling the port, the Confederate General decided instead to continue to push General Jefferson C. Davis outside of Missouri, winning large and small battles before finally taking Mercer, Missouri on June 13th before taking Humestown, Iowa a week later to secure his own forward operating base in the Union, all the while the Army of Iowa was forced to flee to Des Moines while a pro-confederate militia besieged St. Louis and awaited aid from the rest of the Confederate forces, though that aid wouldn't come until July of that year. The Missouri-Iowa Campaign was, by all accounts, not as costly as other campaigns of the war and in the West and East, racking up a total of 16,832 causalities from both sides combined. While not a complete disaster, it was still a failure and made President Hamlin gravely concerned about the prospects about the war later on. He became so concerned, in fact, that following the fall of Mercer to General Joe Johnston, he ordered the cautious McClernard out of Nashville to take the city of Chattanooga, hopefully cutting Tennessee in two and forcing the state to rejoin the Union along with Kentucky. This push, known as the Chattanooga-Knoxville Campaign by later historians, would determine the western theatre for the rest of the war, especially with it's largest battle, the Battle of Knoxville.
The Structure of three of the four major armies in the Western Theatre before and after Chancellorsville
The Center of America : Kentucky and Tennessee during the War of Southern Independence by James A. Ardup
Excerpt from Chapter 7 : The Chattanooga-Knoxville Campaign and The Battle of Knoxville
"...By mid 1863, the war wasn't going at all in the direction the Union had thought it would be months earlier. All the progress in Missouri and Alabama was gone, The Army of the Potomac was left in pretty harsh condition following General Hooker's failures and was placed under the Command of Major General Phillip Kearny, and now it seemed like the Confederacy was planning for a counter offensive to force the Union to defend their own land more. The last time this happened had been a resounding defeat for the South during Jackson's Maryland Campaign in mid-late 1862 but now, it seemed, the South had learned from their mistakes of the year prior and was now looking for a far better offensive than was originally thought. Though General Joe Johnston was cautious and didn't like the idea of pushing into Union Territory, the newly christened head of the Army of Northern Virginia, General John Bell Hood, a reckless man, was overconfident in his abilities and believed he could bring real success to the South.
These facts had greatly concerned President Hamlin, as he knew defeat in the North's own land would lead to more anti-war sentiment spreading, and so he ordered the Army of Indiana, the only Union Force still in a strong position in the South, located in Middle Tennessee and supplied from a strong supply train going all the way to Lexington, Kentucky, to advance out of Nashville and push South towards Chattanooga, hopefully cutting off General Albert Sidney Johnston off from reinforcements and taking the pressure off Major General Butler's Army of the Gulf. On June 24th, Major General John A. McClernand, a cautious man, ordered the slow and careful advance southwards, hoping to not get stuck in any Southern Trap along the way, though this slow advance greatly frustrated President Hamlin. The Army of Indiana had grown to be 150,000 men by this point in time and outnumbered the Confederate Army of Mississippi 3:1 (As General Johnston had 50,000 men under his command) and so it was expected that the Union would be far more aggressive in this scenario.
On June 28th, however, the Union rearguard was assaulted by General Johnston at the town of Murfreesboro and Major General Grant, who commanded the Army of Indiana's Left-Wing and was overly aggressive, even after his defeat at Shiloh a little over a year prior, decided to chase the Army of Mississippi eastwards. With a portion of his army now marching east instead of South like originally planned, General McClernand decided to give Grant proper support and chased after General Johnston. The two armies awould meet again at Woodbury, Sparta, and Crossville before the Union finally decided to abandon their original target for the target of Knoxville. All four of the Prior Battles, while Union victories, had come at a high cost and greatly depleted both sides of valuable manpower. However, General Johnston had been able to buy his men valuable time, time for the Army of Southern Alabama, fresh off their victory over the Army of the Gulf, to reinforce the Army of Mississippi at Knoxville. He had also bought time for the city to be evacuated and for proper defenses to be constructed. When the first Union forces arrived at the Confederate positions, they faced a stiff defense from the Confederate line.
By the looks of one Union observer "It looked as if they were daring us to attack their Thermopayle." The entire battle area was situated in a valley surrounded by Mountains and Woodlands, excellent defensive positions for the battle. It was made an even worse situation for the Union Army upon realizing that there was open ground purposefully made void of any cover by the Confederate Army while their cannons and earth works remained strong. Due to the Union Army arriving late on July 6th, the battle didn't initiate until Early the next morning. The Union plan was simple. Using the flanks under the commands of Grant and Buell, the Army of Indiana would strike hard and deep into Confederate positions with the hopes of breaking them relatively quickly. The flanks for the Confederate Army was placed under the commands of Polk and Hardee and it was considered the weakest part of the Confederate Line. The Union Army at the start of the battle numbered 117,250 while the Army of Mississippi numbered 41,940, though the Army of Southern of Alabama that was on its way would give the Confederates an additional 90,000 men if they arrived in time.
The first day of the battle, July 7th, was opened with violent Union assaults on Confederate positions with the hopes that there could be at least one major breakthrough in the Confederate defenses and at several points nearly captured those positions throughout the day, such as on the Left flank of the Confederate Line where the Union nearly forced the Confederates out of a position they nicknamed Hardee's fortress forrest by mid day only to be repelled at the end of the day while on the right flank, Polk was pushed right to the breaking point until General Johnston ordered his reserves up to reinforce the flank. By the end of the day, approximately 2,142 Union Soldiers were dead, 5,762 wounded, and 863 captured/missing to the Confederates' 1,876 dead, 3,409 wounded, and 1,543 captured/missing. The entire first day's carnage was a sight to behold but the battle was called off by 11 PM, giving both sides a night of reprieve from nearly endless fighting. Unbeknownst to the Union Army, however, the Army of Southern Alabama had arrived and General Jefferson Davis had left the camp with his Cavalry Commander, General Marmaduke, to arrive at Johnston's main camp.
With the realization that reinforcements had arrived and that the Union needed to be taken by total surprise in order for victory to be achieved, General Johnston ordered the Army of Mississippi to slightly pull back into a much more stretched out line of defenses in order to pull the Union Army into a false sense of security. This plan indeed worked in the favor of the Confederacy as Generals McCook, Grant, and reluctantly McClernard saw the Confederate army had pulled back and ordered a general assault on the Army of Mississippi's lines at 8 AM, though Major general Don Carlos Buell disobeyed orders and held his men back, believing that something wasn't right in how easy to advance seemed, his cautious nature taking over. For an entire army, the Union Army marched in the hot Tennessee sun under direct cannon and musket fire by the Confederate Army holding their ground with some Union units charging the entire way. By 10:30 AM, most of the Union Army was too exhausted to continue fighting, the exhaustion and heat stroke clear on their face, but their commanding officers ordered them to push onwards. It was despite their exhaustion that they nearly did take the Confederate Center and had that fallen, then the Confederate Army would've been forced back and pushed to retreat from battle.
However, at 12:11 PM, the Army of Southern Alabama came charging right into the Union's Right Wing, under the command of Major General John M. Palmer. The impact was nearly instant as the Union Army quickly disintegrated as General Patrick Cleburne's men continued to roll up the Union Army as was planned. Due to the surprise of the Confederate assault, the Union retreat was extremely disorganized and quite disastrous as commanding officers were unable to get their panicked corps and divisions under control. However, Grant and Buell decided to give a long, three hour defense at the edge of the Union line from 2:46 PM to 5:19 PM to buy time for the Army of Indiana to reorganize themselves and conduct an orderly retreat from the Battlefield. As the last of the Union Army began to pull away, the Army of Mississippi began to push forward and press on Buell and Grant until, by 7:11 PM, the last Union soldier had left the battlefield. The Battle of Knoxville was a key decisive victory in the Western Theatre of the War as it forced the Army of Indiana, nearly completely destroyed in the battle, to withdraw from Tennessee and Kentucky entirely. Days later, Buell would replace McClernnard as commander of the Army while Columbus, Kentucky and the rest of the previously occupied two states fell into Confederate Hands once again.
The battle had seen 132,500 Confederates battle 117,250 Federals and emerge victorious after two days of battle. The causalities were immense for both sides were immense, with a combined total of 46,782 for both sides. It was due to the Battle of Knoxville that the Union would never again reach Tennessee, practically forcing their withdraw from the capture of the Mississippi river once Memphis and St. Louis returned to Confederate hands. The battle had proven to Confederate President John C. Breckenridge that General Cleburne was the perfect choice to replace the disgraced John Bell Hood, who had lost 95% of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Battle of Snowshoe and the subsequent aftermath of it against Major General Kearny, as the Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. Furthermore, Jefferson Davis would be placed to command of the Army of Mississippi with General Johnston while the Army of Southern Alabama was split in two and essentially dissolved.
Meanwhile, for Union President Hamlin, the battle and subsequent failure of his three major pushes into the South was by all meanings of the term, spelling doom for his victory potential in 1864. It was clear that New York Senator and member of the Hidebound Party Samuel P. Heintzelman was aiming for his Party's nomination in 1864 as the 14th President, Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire, was considering his own bid for the Nomination of the Democratic Party. At the same time, the Republican Party was fracturing into the Moderates, the Radicals, and the Unionists, with Hamlin leading the Moderates in the party. It wouldn't be much longer until the Party finally broke in three and when it did, it would prove disastrous for the nation at large. As the Hidebound Party began to take control of the House following the 1862 and 1863 elections, many believed the war was coming close to being over. However, with a full year left before the Presidential Election, only time could tell if President Hamlin could successfully hold on..."
And finished. Sorry for taking so long on this. I just had a lot of stuff going on. Also, apologies if the post isn't as good as the prior ones. I honestly just gave up halfway through that. However, now we're approaching the more interesting parts with Cleburne in Command of the Army of Northern Virginia following Chancellorsville and Snowshoe. Next post will detail those battles and then we get into the best part of the fic. Thank you and remember to give thoughts everyone
While the War in the West seemed to be stalemated with a slight Union edge due to certain events, the war in the East was, for all intents and purposes, dead in the water for the first few months of 1863. The disasters of the Peninsula Campaign, Upper Virginia Campaign, and Fredericksburg Campaign in 1862 had greatly demoralized and disorganized the Army of the Potomac to the point where the desertion rate was as high as 12.5% daily in Mid January of 1863. General Burnside had attempted to purge the Army of incompetent officers he felt were responsible for the disaster at Fredericksburg but without congressional approval, these purges went nowhere and General Burnside was promptly fired from the army by President Hamlin, who wanted to see results in the war more than anything else. The Union Command had, over the years, realized that the best way to win the war in the East was not to take Richmond, but instead to crush the Army of Northern Virginia, though the Union President and his cabinet knew that the only way to General Smith to engage the Union Army for a decisive, crushing victory, Richmond would need to be threatened as Confederate President Breckenridge had demanded that General Smith and his Army defend the city at all costs.
The Union President, running out of options due to the officer corps being stretched thin from countless years of war and multiple deaths in battle, believed the Army of the Potomac needed an aggressive man to lead the Union to victory. Generals McClellan, Heintzelman, and Burnside had proven to be duds and many in the war department was unsure of placing the overly aggressive Major Generals Dan Sickles or Phillip Kearny in charge of the army. So, instead, President Hamlin looked at the list of potential commanders listed by the late President Lincoln and decided to follow its instructions. Thus, on January 25th, "Fighting" Joe Hooker, the Commander of the Left-Wing of the Union Army and a pugnacious Major General that had proven a great man at battle planning when in subordinate commands. The newly christened commander of the Army of the Potomac quickly went to work, reorganizing the army into such a fashion that he believed was much more manageable. This reorganization had allowed him to win the support of the army and the reputation of an excellent administrator, with some of his changes being focused on diet, sanitation, hospitals, and other better things for the Army. His final re-organization was to create the Army into four, technically five wings, with the four main wings (Left-Wing, Center, Right-Wing, Reserves) having four corps each while Stoneman's Cavalry had 2 corps in it. With an Army of 150,000 and 10,000 men in the Cavalry, this mean that there was 35,000 men per wing and in each corps was 8,750 men.
Commanding the Left-Wing was Major General Phillip Kearny, who became a close friend of Major General Hooker during the latter half of 1862 along with their fellow general, Major General Dan Sickles, with all three respecting the other greatly. Under Kearny's Command was the I Corps under Major General John Sedgewick, II Corps under Major General John G. Parke, III Corps under Major General Jesse L. Reno, and the IV Corps under the command of Major General John J. Peck. Leading the Center was the cautious Major General George Meade, who Hooker, Kearny, and Sickles held little to no respect for due to his cautious and careful nature. Under Meade's Command was the V Corps under Major General Darius Couch, VI Corps under Major General John Newton (newly promoted after Major General William B. Franklin left upon Hooker receiving command), VII Corps under Major General John Dix, and VIII under Major General Major General David Hunter. At the head of the Right-Wing was Major General Daniel Edgar Sickles and he was given command of the IX Corps under Major General John F. Reynolds, the X Corps under Major General Israel B. Richardson, the XI Corps under Major General George Sykes, and the XII Corps under Major General Silas Casey. Placed at the head of the Reserve was Major General Erasmund D. Keyes and he led the XIII Corps under Major General Julius Stahel, the XIV Corps under Major General John Wool, the XV Corps under Major General Jacob D. Cox, and the XVI Corps under Major General Montgomery C. Meigs. Under George Stoneman's Command was the I and II Cavalry Corps under Major Generals George A. Custer and John Buford respectfully. Leading an extra 7,500 men was Brigadier General Marsena Patrick who would act as a guard for any Union withdrawal should the worse come to pass.
While the Army of the Potomac reorganized after the disasters of 1862, the Army of Northern Virginia under General Edmund Kirby Smith didn't change much, with there being 52,500 men in the army, an outnumbered ratio of 3 Federal Soldiers for every Confederate Soldier. However, the victories of late 1862 had given the Army a massive morale boost and the desertion rate was nearly non-existent, with a few soldiers saying that the Federals can send as many men as they like, but they will always be repulsed by Smith. The AoNV had restructured itself into 4 major wings just like the AotP with two Corps in each wing while Major General J. E. B. Stuart commanded the sole Cavalry Corps of the Army. In each of the major parts of the army was 12,500 men and in each corps was 6,250 men. While this meant the Army of Northern Virginia was much smaller, it also meant the Army was much more maneuverable especially in friendly territory. Confederate President John C. Breckenridge, fearing of Virginia leaving the Confederacy should Richmond fall, ordered Smith to keep the City safe no matter what, thus forcing Smith to take on a highly defensive posture during his time in the war.
Using improved military intelligence that had been built after the disasters of 1862 in the east under the direct order of President Hamlin, allowing Major General Hooker to have a clear view of the Army of Northern Virginia's movements and positioning. With the use of a newly created Bureau of Military Intelligence that allowed him to gain even more reconnaissance and military intelligence than before. This added information allowed Hooker to decide against frontal attacks that resulted in bloodbaths, like at Fredericksburg, and determined that the best way to avoid them was to try and outmaneuver Smith's Army and surround them. As his army camped at Falmouth across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, the General devised a plan that many believed was superior than his predecessors' own plans. First, he ordered his cavalry under Stoneman to ravage the countryside, tearing up railroads and raiding supply lines that went towards Richmond, hoping to cut off Smith's own communications to Richmond and from there, Montgomery where he received direct orders from President Breckenridge himself. Smith, realizing he was outflanked and knowing full well that the Cavalry under Stuart was not a match for the Cavalry under Stoneman, ordered a general withdrawal from Fredericksburg to defend Richmond much more properly, allowing the Army of the Potomac to cross at Sulpher Spring on April 11th.
From this point onwards, General Hooker determined that best chance of success was for a double envelopment of the Confederate Army and detached Sickles and Kearny's Corps to complete that operation. While Hooker's adviser, and the man leading Garibaldi's Red Shirt Brigade, Brigadier General Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had arrived in the Union on January 20th and became an adviser and brigade commander directly under the command of Hooker on January 29th, advised caution. The Italian War Hero had seen the Wars of the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s in Europe and South America and knew that having numbers didn't always guarantee victory, though General Hooker would brush him aside. For the rest of April, both armies chased each other rather across the Rappahannock river area until they finally began to confront one another at the village of Chancellorsville, which would become one of the five most important battles in the Eastern Theatre in 1863.
On May 1st, the battle began with the Confederate Center and Left-Wing under Lieutenant Generals Ewell and Magruder held their ground with their two corps with General Smith ordering one of the Reserve's Corps to be near the defensive line should it look like the battle was turning against the Confederates. Meanwhile, the other Corps of the Reserves along with the Right-Wing under Lieutenant General John Bell Hood was planned to be sent around the Union Flanks to hopefully surprise them early in the morning. At the same time, with General Stoneman's Cavalry a large distance away from the battlefield, General Smith deemed it tactically sound to have his Cavalry under Stuart survey the surrounding area. The main driving force in the Union Army during this battle, surprisingly, was Meade's Center four Corps with an attack along Plank Road, with the V and VII Corps pushing the farthest into the Confederate line, though they would have to pull back or be allowed to be encircled by the Confederate forces.
Despite being in what seemed to be a good position for Battle, General Hooker demonstrated his lack of confidence in handling battles of such magnitudes, halted his brief offensive, determining that it was time to fight defensively, as he believed that the Union had paid dearly for acting aggressively at Fredericksburg. He hoped that this would force Smith, with his much smaller army, to attack his own, but instead, Smith did not fall for the bait, ordering the Army of Northern Virginia to remain behind their defenses for the rest of the day. While Major General Kearny did attempt a brief attack on the Confederate line at 5:30, he was eventually forced to pull back with the rest of the Union Army into the Wilderness. Hooker hoped that this would finally force Smith to choose one of two options : engage a superior army and suffer very heavy losses or withdrawal from the battlefield entirely, giving Hooker the win.
However, Hooker's withdrawal was exactly what General Smith had been waiting for and at 6:50 PM on May 1st, he would meet with Hood, Major General Gustavus W. Smith, Major General John G. Walker, and Jones. The three corps under their combined commands numbered a fresh 18,750 men that hadn't engaged in battle on May 1st and, from what Smith had heard, General Hooker hadn't even believed the Confederate Right-Wing was on the Battlefield, though Garibaldi himself wasn't so sure and had set up light patrols on Kearny's flank, believing that would be the weakest point in the Union line due to how aggressive the Irishmen was on the battlefield with his Corps. However, Smith believed the weakest part of the Union Army was the Right-Wing under the temporary command of Major General Abner Doubleday due to Sickles being near a cannonball shot that almost deafened earlier on in the battle. The quick change in leadership had indeed left the Union Right-Wing in heavy disarray and uneasiness, prime for a surprise attack. From 7:10 to 7:35 PM, the Confederate soldiers silently and carefully marched around the Union line and prepared themselves for the ambush early the next morning at 5:50 AM. Thanks to Stuart's interventions, the soldiers under Hood was kept largely undetected from Union patrols
While around 10 Union soldiers did give General Hooker a report of an apparent Confederate force amassing on the right flank when Garibaldi wasn't around to take note of the situation, the Union General believed that Smith was starting a general retreat from the battlefield and thus promptly ordered the Army to take a good long rest before they continued their march towards Richmond from Chancellorsville the following day. Unbeknownst to them, the Confederate soldiers had heard everything and was prepared to ambush the unsuspecting Federals. At 5:25 AM the next day, most of Hood's men were roused from their sleep, given a good early morning meal, and ordered to await the order to advance. For 30 minutes, the Confederates waited until finally, at 6 AM, Hood gave the order to advance and attack the Union line. Most of the Union Right-Wing was either still asleep or just waking up at this point in time and thus were suspecting of the Confederate attack, though indicated a massive assault was coming due to how many animals had left the woods.
8 minutes later, the Union soldiers began to hear the infamous Rebel Yell that scared many in battle and as they were still getting a grasp of what was going on, the Confederate forces poured over the Union Right-Wing quickly, effectively taking it apart with only half of the IX Corps and a quarter of the X Corps as well as their commanders escaping and fleeing in the general direction of North. The Commanders of the other two Corps as well as the Right-Wing's temporary commander were either killed in battle (Doubleday), wounded and forced to retire from the military (Casey), or captured (Sykes). As the Right-Wing practically disintegrated upon the Confederate assault, the Union Center was then hit with Major General Meade being among the first causalities of the attack, dying from a Confederate musket shot at 6:47 AM when attempting to mount his horse. It wasn't until the destruction of the VII Corps under Dix and the Death of Major General Couch for the Center to mount a better prepared defensive from 7:04 to 7:27 until they were eventually forced to route even more, with Major General Dix being captured and Major General Hunter being killed in the process.
Hearing about the assault, General Hooker immediately ordered in his reserves to stem the tide of the battle and while the Confederate advance was finally halted at 8:16 AM by the Army of the Potomac's Reserves, it would see the deaths of Major Generals Keyes, Cox, and Wool. At the same time, Patrick's guard division was practically destroyed in the initial attack, being placed closed to the center, and the Brigadier General was captured himself. The assault did not go without major Confederate losses, however, with Major General Smith being among one of the first to die when Hooker deployed his center to halt the Confederate assault. Kearny and Garibaldi, upon hearing the commotion, would link up with the remnants of the Right-wing and Center and convince the former to become the reserves and the latter to act as the temporary Union Right-Wing under the command of Garibaldi as Kearny once more secured the Union Left Flank. By 8:47 AM, the Union line was once more reorganized and prepare for battle, though the sudden surprise attack had taken General Hooker off guard and when giving a report about how many were expected to have died, been wounded, or captured, he almost ordered a general retreat only for Garibaldi and Kearny to stop him and remind him that doing so would only cause more disorder in the Union line. Thus, for the next two hours, the surprised and shaken Army of the Potomac engaged Hood's men in their own camp.
For the main Confederate Army, reports from General Stuart had reached Smith and had greatly pleased him. Initially, Smith believed that the attack would disorganize the Union Right-Wing even further before it petered out when it hit the Union Center only for the attack to be proven even more effective than initially thought. Cautiously, Smith moved the Army of Northern Virginia out of their defensive positions and pushed them to engage the shaken and newly formed Union Right that was unsuspecting of the main Confederate line advancing on them. At 12:03 PM, Magruder re-engaged the Union Line and began pushing them back as the exhausted men under General Hood began to pull back. Within 10 minutes, the temporary Union Right-Wing collapsed and the temporary reserves, scared of facing the main Confederate line again in a much more weakened state, withdrew from the battlefield in sheer terror, forcing the Union line to once again re-organize themselves in such a way that they could hold properly against the main Confederate Army. As the first Confederate soldiers reached Hood's men at 12:54 PM, General Smith surveyed the damage. Of Hood's 18,750 men, 47% was taken out of action, with 2,542 dead, 5,908 wounded, and 363 captured/missing. The Confederate commander ordered Hood's men to join the rest of the reserves and rest up for later use if needed.
For the next hour and a half, from 12:57 PM to 2:09 PM, General Hooker ordered the Army of the Potomac to hold the line for as long as possible, though it was clear that the federal troops were becoming strained against their fresher opponents, having fought since the early morning. With ammunition and morale starting to run low, Hooker decided to give the order for a general and orderly withdrawal, though he first needed an opening, one that Kearny offered to provide. At 3:41, the Union Left attacked the main Confederate line and held them off for 46 minutes before slowly disengaging and withdrawing themselves once the Union reserves had left the Battlefield. by 5:11 PM, only Garibaldi's Brigade remained and they would hold on for an extra 48 minutes themselves before finally withdrawing, both sides exhausted from the fight. For the Union, of the 150,000 men in the main army, 5,582 were killed, 11,218 were wounded, and 2,073 were captured/missing in the two days of battle combined, which was a 13% loss of the Army's combat effectiveness while for the Confederacy, combined with the 47% loss Hood suffered, the Army of Northern Virginia got 3,452 killed, 7,016 wounded, and 954 captured/missing on both days combined, a loss of 20,235 men in the two days combined, which was a loss of 40% of the entire Army. Combined, the Battle of Chancellorsville saw 39,108 causalities, though the Confederates suffered 52% of the causalities, making it a Pyrrhic victory. The battle was widely praised throughout the South, however, and many wrongly recognized it as being Hood's creation and not Smith's, calling Hood's masterpiece, though the Confederate Military believed it was anything but that. The day after, Confederate President Breckenridge ordered an immediate conscription of thousands of men to fill the ranks of the Army of Northern Virginia quickly before he ordered General Smith, now leading an Army of 82,500 men, to push North as, after all, the North was stunned by the defeat, with Hooker being fired and replaced with Kearny as the head of the Army of the Potomac while Sickles recovered and began to retake command of the shattered Right-Wing as Garibaldi was promoted to Major General and given command of the Army's reserves while Majors Generals Rosecrans and Fremont were given command of the Left-Wing and Center respectfully. Smith, however, refused, knowing that another advance into the Union could be disastrous to his Army and so, on May 23rd, Breckenridge relieved Smith of Command of the Army of Northern Virginia and placed it under the command of John Bell Hood, who was promoted to full General upon being given command.
The Confederate and Union Order of Battle for Chancellorsville, A decisive but Pyrrhic victory for the South. Note : Stuart and Stoneman didn't actively participate in the battle and Meade, Keyes, and Smith died while Patrick was captured
Following the aftermath of the bloodbath that was Chancellorsville, both the Union and Confederate Presidents were hopeful to avoid another costly battle like it. Unfortunately for both of them, however, they had picked the most reckless and aggressive Generals to command their main Eastern Armies, meaning a clash between both forces would lead to untold carnage for both sides. At this point in time, many within Washington and Montgomery were reluctant to give what seemed to be their best commanders, Grant and Cleburne, commands in Virginia and the surrounding area. Following the reshuffling of command in the Army of the Potomac and Army of Northern Virginia, promotions were issues to make up for the officers were died in Battle. For the Army of the Potomac, the Left-Wing was gifted to former commander of the Army of Indiana William Rosecrans and his command, while having suffered heavy losses, did not lose the Corps Commanders in the Battle of Chancellorsville. The center, now under the commander of former Army of Iowa commander John C. Fremont, saw the V Corps falling under the command of Major General John G. Foster and the VII Corps being given to Major General Micheal Corcoran though the other two Corps still had their commands intact. The Right-Wing under Sickles had to see a lot of restructuring, however, with the IX and X corps under Reynolds and Richardson keeping their commanders, the XI Corps being given to Major General Charles Griffin, the XII Corps being given to Major General John J. Abercrombie. Finally, the reserves under Garibaldi were restructured as well. While Stahel kept command of the XIII Corps, the XIV Corps was given to Major General Benjamin F. Kelly and the XV Corps was given to Major General Rutherford B. Hayes. Kearny quickly did away with any idea of a Guard Division and thus, excluding the 10,000 men under Stoneman's Cavalry under his command, he had 132,000 men under his command. Each part of the Army was again made up of 4 corps, which, when combined, was 33,000 men each, while each individual corps had 8,250 men each.
Meanwhile, the Confederate Army hadn't suffered as bad causalities as they feared they would have when it came to officers. Due to the only major death being that of Major General Gustavus W. Smith of the I Corps, he was replaced with Major General George Pickett. By Early June, the Army of Northern Virginia had swelled to 105,000 men, though 5,000 of which was under the direct command of General Stuart, thus meaning that General Hood, who had become an icon to many in Virginia following Chancellorsville, had 100,000 men under his command, with his army still keeping the same organization left by General Smith. Each part of the Army was made up of two Corps and had 25,000 men combined while each corps had 12,500 men. This would mean that, should the Confederate Army ever engage the Union Army, Kearny would only have a 32,000 man advantage over him, not enough to simply overpower the Confederate lines. However, Confederate President Breckenridge had began to grow desperate. While the battles in Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Alabama all seemed to be going well for the South, many in the Confederate Government wrongly believed that a victory on Union territory would see the British and French recognizing the Confederacy and force the Union to give up their war effort. Thus, Breckenridge pushed for General Hood to come up with an invasion plan of the North and to do it quickly.
Fortunately for the Confederates, the General came up with a plan rather quickly by June 19th and he hoped to initiate it on June 23rd with Breckenridge's approval. The plan was to have the 15,000 man garrison of Richmond, placed under the command of Major General George P. Kane, would camp at Manassas and hopefully distract General Kearny long enough for the Army of Northern Virginia to march straight past them into Pennsylvania. The hope here was to get into the center of one of the first thirteen states and force Kearny into a battlefield of Hood's choosing before finally destroying the Army of the Potomac in one massive battle and moving on and capturing Harrisburg and Philadelphia, which would hopefully finally convince the Union to give up on the war and for President Hamlin to sue for peace. However, a lot of things had to go right for Hood's plan to be a success and he had to be careful with his movements for battle. President Breckenridge, at the behest of the Confederate War Department, green lit the plan, hoping that an offensive like Hood's would be enough to end the war for good. On June 22nd, the Richmond Garrison arrived at Manassas and a few hours later, the Army of Northern Virginia began advancing from their starting off point of Elkwood, Virginia. Initially, the plan went off without a hitch, as Union President Hamlin was concerned of the seemingly large Confederate Army at Manassas and had ordered General Kearny to investigate. For the next three days, Kearny was fooled by Hood's deception, watching Manassas as the Army of Northern Virginia marched to the Maryland/Pennsylvania border. However, On June 26th, Stoenman had found out about the Confederate Army located near the city of Hagerstown and reported his findings to General Kearny, who sent word to President Hamlin before chasing after Hood the day after.
From June 28th to July 7th, the two generals played a dangerous game of Cat and Mouse as Kearny forced Hood to rethink his original plan or risk facing the Army of the Potomac when he wasn't ready for battle. This, along with Stuart being forced to flee after Stoneman gave him chase for raiding Union supply lines, left the Confederates in the dark and practically lost in the battle, forcing the Army to do their own investigation of the local area. Meanwhile, General Kearny continued to give chase to Hood, believing all he would need was one battle and he would the war right then and there. At 1:31 AM, a small Union patrol of 27 men that had advanced passed the main Union Army fired upon a Confederate patrol of 16 men that had stayed behind near the Bororugh of Snow Shoe. While there was no causalities for either side in the initial first shots, both patrols quickly rushed back to their camps and told their commanders about the situation. Thus, both Hood and Kearny unknowingly agreed that Snow Shoe would be the sight of their engagement that had been overdue. The local populace was forced to leave or be caught in the crossfire, allowing the battlefield to be practically vacant for the battle that was to come.
Funnily enough, neither side moved their forces quickly, instead allowing their men to rest until Hood ordered his Army to arrive at the area by 7:11 AM while the Army of the Potomac would arrive half an hour later. Arriving from just south of the City, the Army of Northern Virginia would form a barely manageable line across what would later become known as P. Kearny Lane after Phillip Kearny while the Union Army set up on what would become East Olive Street. The initial plans for the battle was actually quite simple for both sides. For Kearny, what he planned to do was assault the Confederate position, which didn't have much in terms of defensive capabilities, and force them off the field while Hood's plan was to hold off any Union assault on the first day and do an envelopment with his two wings on the second day and hopefully crush the Union Army from there foreward though as the battle got underway, the plans were quickly forgotten in favor of just pouring more soldiers into specific parts of the line on both sides. At 8:07 AM, the first shots were fired as the Confederate artillery unleashed a mighty barrage on the advancing Union troops only to be followed up with the Union's own barrage. By 8:21, the I Corps of the Union Army reached small arms range and opened on the Confederate Army. As time went on, more and more pressure was put on the Confederates' flanks while the Confederates began to place more and more pressure on the Union Center.
By 11:07 AM, deciding that something needed to change and quickly, Hood sent in his reserves and had them attack General Rosecrans' men on the Confederate left, though it was until 14 minutes after noon that Rosecrans' men began to pull back in significant numbers. The sudden emptiness of the Union line allowed for the Confederates to press their advantage and assault the Union Center under Fremont with the hopes of quickly driving them from the field. Meanwhile, the Confederate Right Wing was dangerously close to breaking after repeated assaults from General Sickles, though they continued to hold on, hoping that the breakthrough against Rosecrans could allow for less pressure on them. This wasn't the case, however, as General Kearny, or rather his chief of staff Brigadier General Hiram G. Berry, since the General was off commanding directly on the field, smelled blood in the water and ordered half of the Union reserves to support Sickles while he ordered a 1/4th of the reserves to assist Fremont.
By 1:26 PM, Rosecrans was able to get the Union left back into action and sent them into immediate combat against the Confederate lines, their sudden attack stunning the Confederate Army, which had recently seen their attack on the Union Center be stalled and forcing Hood to divert more men to that side, allowing Sickles to push against the Confederate flank rather effectively. By 4:09 PM, however, there seemed to be no clear winner of the battle with both armies practically exhausted and heavily depleted from nearly a full day of fighting. The Union and Confederate supplies of ammunition for muskets, pistols, cannons, and rifles were running low and it seemed like neither side would be able to afford another push. At 5:03 PM, however, General Kearny met with Garibaldi and convinced him to launch an assault with the remaining XVI Corps with Union Artillery providing cover fire, slating the assault to take place at 5:45 PM, though the Union cannons would open fire at 5:40 PM. What would become known as Meigs' push after the commander of the XVI Corps turned out to be the decisive factor of the battle as the exhausted Confederate Army was unable to hold much longer against a fresh corps of Federals. Meigs' men first opened fire at 6 PM and after 17 minutes of volley fire into the Confederate line, causing their morale to waver, a combined Union bayonet charge across the line at 6:20 PM was what finally pushed the Confederate Army over the line and by 6:45 PM, the entire Army was in a messy and disorderly retreat to Virginia. The Battle had cost the Confederate Army dearly, as they lost LGs Ewell and Jones and Major Generals Walker, McLaws, and Henry A. Wise and the wounding and forced retirement of Jubal early while the Union, having learned the side effects of Chancellorsville, had suffered little casualities in terms of officers being wounded, killed, or captured.
By the time it was 7:17 PM, when the battle officially ended, Kearny was able to count his exact losses. In the entire battle, the Union had seen 7,437 men killed, 18,231 wounded, and 2,454 captured/missing while the Confederate Army had seen an even worse outcome, seeing 9,762 men killed, 23,452 wounded, and 4,094 captured/missing. In total, the Union lost 28,122 men to the Confederacy's 37,308 men, combining it to 65,430 men lost in just under 11 hours, the bloodiest single day in the entire the war and in all of Western Hemisphere history. Of the Confederate Army, they lost 37% of their army while the Union lost 21% of their army. In terms of the battle itself, the Confederates had 57% of the causalities while the Union had suffered only 43%. The battle practically ended The Army of Northern Virginia as a threat for the time being and made General Kearny a quick favorite in the Union despite his overly aggressive stance in the battle. While proportionally, the Confederates had suffered as badly as they had at Chancellorsville, the defeat was still demoralizing and convinced President Breckenridge to put any future offensive into the North on the shelves for good.
The Confederate and Union Order of Battle at Snow Shoe on July 7th, 1863, the bloodiest single day in the entire war
Following the return of the devastated Army of Northern Virginia from the campaign, General Hood formally gave President Breckenridge his letter of resignation and allowed for General Cleburne to take over. While the Battle and campaign had seen the promotion of one of its best performing commanders, Brigadier General John Wilkes Booth of Maryland from the I Corps, to the rank of Major General, many believed the battle was a sign of things to come for the South in the rest of the war. Early to mid 1863 had proven to be a Cornucorpia of success, but now, with the Union having gained gravely needed experience and their three largest armies preparing large offensives into the South, it seemed like the war was far from over.
Apologies for not being able to update as much as I would like to everyone. Currently, I'm sick with the Stomach Flu so I have to rest until I'm 100 %. In the meantime, I have made a tiny little mini project that I might expand into something greater depending on the circumstances. If anyone wants to see it, send me a message and if you'd be interested in helping it be developed, then I'll be gleefully acceptant of your help.