03
May
09

On This Day, May 3: Union Army Retreats

May 3, 1863

Confederates take Hazel Grove at Chancellorsville

On this day, General Joseph Hooker and the Army of the Potomac abandon a key hill on the Chancellorsville battlefield. The Union army was reeling after Stonewall Jackson’s troops swung around the Union right flank and stormed out of the woods on the evening of May 2, causing the Federals to retreat some two miles before stopping the Confederate advance. Nonetheless, Hooker’s forces were still in a position to deal a serious defeat to Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia because they had a numerical advantage and a strategic position between Lee’s divided forces. But Lee had Hooker psychologically beaten.

Union forces controlled the key geographical feature in the Chancellorsville area: Hazel Grove, a hill that provided a prime artillery location. General J.E.B. Stuart, the head of the Confederate cavalry, assumed temporary command of Stonewall Jackson’s corps after Jackson was wounded the night before (a wound that proved fatal a week later) and planned to attack Hazel Grove the next morning. This move was made much easier when Hooker made the crucial mistake of ordering an evacuation of the decisive hill.

Once Stuart’s artillery occupied Hazel Grove, the Confederates proceeded to wreak havoc on the Union lines around Chancellorsville. Rebel cannons shelled the Union line, and the fighting resulted in more Union casualties than Jackson’s attack the day before. Hooker himself was wounded when an artillery shell struck the column he was leaning against. Stunned, Hooker took a shot of brandy and ordered the retreat from the Chancellorsville area, which allowed Jackson’s men to rejoin the bulk of Lee’s troops. The daring flanking maneuver had worked. Hooker had failed to exploit the divided Army of Northern Virginia, and allowed the smaller Rebel force to defeat his numerically superior force.

“Confederates take Hazel Grove at Chancellorsville,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2004 [accessed May 3, 2009]

On This Day

1568 – French forces in Florida slaughtered hundreds of Spanish.

1855 – Macon B. Allen became the first African American to be admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts.

1921 – West Virginia imposed the first state sales tax.

1933 – The U.S. Mint was under the direction of a woman for the first time when Nellie Ross took the position.

1937 – Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize for “Gone With The Wind.”

1948 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities were legally unenforceable.

1952 – The first airplane landed at the geographic North Pole.

1971 – Anti-war protesters began four days of demonstrations in Washington, DC.

1971 – National Public Radio broadcast for the first time.

1986 – In NASA’s first post-Challenger launch, an unmanned Delta rocket lost power in its main engine shortly after liftoff. Safety officers destroyed it by remote control.

1992 – Five days of rioting and looting ended in Los Angeles, CA. The riots, that killed 53 people, began after the acquittal of police officers in the beating of Rodney King.

1999 – Mark Manes, at age 22, was arrested for supplying a gun to Eric Harris and Dylan Kleibold, who later killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado.

May 3, 1942

The Battle of the Coral Sea begins

On this, the first day of the first modern naval engagement in history, called the Battle of the Coral Sea, a Japanese invasion force succeeds in occupying Tulagi of the Solomon Islands in an expansion of Japan’s defensive perimeter.

The United States, having broken Japan’s secret war code and forewarned of an impending invasion of Tulagi and Port Moresby, attempted to intercept the Japanese armada. Four days of battles between Japanese and American aircraft carriers resulted in 70 Japanese and 66 Americans warplanes destroyed. This confrontation, called the Battle of the Coral Sea, marked the first air-naval battle in history, as none of the carriers fired at each other, allowing the planes taking off from their decks to do the battling. Among the casualties was the American carrier Lexington; “the Blue Ghost” (so-called because it was not camouflaged like other carriers) suffered such extensive aerial damage that it had to be sunk by its own crew. Two hundred sixteen Lexington crewmen died as a result of the Japanese aerial bombardment.

Although Japan would go on to occupy all of the Solomon Islands, its victory was a Pyrrhic one: The cost in experienced pilots and aircraft carriers was so great that Japan had to cancel its expedition to Port Moresby, Papua, as well as other South Pacific targets.

“The Battle of the Coral Sea begins,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6442 [accessed May 3, 2009]

Advertisements

0 Responses to “On This Day, May 3: Union Army Retreats”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


May 2009
S M T W T F S
« Apr   Jun »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 280 other followers


%d bloggers like this: