Today in Civil War History: Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia

149th NY in Chancellorsville, Virginia during the Civil War

On April 30th, 1863, the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia began during the Civil War. In a bold move, Confederate General Robert E. Lee divided his army in the face of a superior enemy force and completely outmaneuvered recently appointed Union General Joseph Hooker.

One of the battle’s highlights was a surprise flank attack by troops commanded by General Stonewall Jackson, which caught the Union forces completely off guard. The move pushed them back over a mile. However, darkness and densely forested terrain created confusion on both sides and Jackson was mistakenly shot by his own men, dying several days later. Despite winning one of his greatest victories of the war, Lee lost one of his best generals.

The 149th NY Volunteer Infantry Regiment from Syracuse fought at Chancellorsville and men wounded in the battle included Lieutenant George K. Collins and Lieutenant Phillip Eckel, who became Syracuse Fire Chief after the war and is memorialized by a statue in Fayette Park.

PhotoColonel Henry Barnum, commander of the 149th NY, with the regiment’s flag which contains the names of battles the 149th NY participated in. Chancellorsville is visible on the right side of the photograph.