SPECIAL EDITION: 150 Years Ago Today
The men of the Fourteenth Connecticut marched into the fields surrounding the Bullock farm (about half a mile north of the Chancellor House) about 10:00 p.m. Thursday, May 30. Now all of the Army of the Potomac was in place according to Maj. Gen. Hooker”s plans. It appears they passed a quiet night, and nobody could have foreseen the carnage that would take place over the next few days.
The following morning Maj. Gen. Hooker ordered Maj. Gen. Slocum to advance eastward toward Fredericksburg to block any Confederate advance from that direction. About two miles from the crossroads at Chancellorsville, Slocum’s Corps came upon a strong body of Rebel troops under the command of Lt. Gen. Stonewall Jackson. Sharp fighting broke out. Maj. Gen. Couch sent Hays’ brigade (including the Fourteenth Connecticut) of Maj. Gen. French’s division battle toward the sound of the fighting in support of the XII Corps. Having gained the position, they built some breastworks and, when the fighting soon tapered off, they were ordered back to the II Corps line near Bullocks Farm. (For a battlefield map click here.)
Later that afternoon, fighting in this sector erupted again, during which Jackson”s troops pushed Slocum”s corps back toward Chancellorsville. The Fourteenth Connecticut was not sent forward again that day, endured occasional shelling throughout the remainder of the day. “It lulled down at sunset,” wrote Sgt. Benjamin Hirst, “and our brigade went on picket but had nothing to disturb us during the night.”