Heavy fighting erupted in this area on May 3rd and 4th, during the Chancellorsville campaign. On May 3rd, Brigadier General Cadmus M. Wilcox moved several Alabama regiments into the area (1) and confronted Federal forces at this canal (2). When the Union Sixth Corps broke through at Sunken Road (3), most of the Confederates retreated down the Telegraph Road, now called Lafayette Boulevard (4). Wilcox, however, chose to delay the Federals as they advanced out of Fredericksburg (5). The Sixth Corps pushed west as Wilcox fell back (6). Confederate reinforcements bolstered Wilcox at Salem Church, where they battled the Federal advance to a halt (7). The Northerners pulled back to a defensive position, which included these hills previously held by the Alabamians.
On the morning of May 4th, the Confederates moved back up Telegraph Road (Lafayette Boulevard) and regained the heights behind Fredericksburg (8). The Federals in town were effectively cut off from the Union force that had moved west (9). Reinforced Confederates attacked the Federals late in the afternoon, collapsing one line, but then running up against a brigade of Vermont regiments, which held at second line at Smith Run (10). Brigadier General John B. Gordon worked his Georgia brigade into this area and advanced up the ravine to your left front, which threatened the
Federal ﬂank (11). The Vermont men withdrew and established a new line along Fall Hill Road (12). During the night, the Sixth Corps withdrew across the river (13).
Major General John Sedgwick commanded the Union Sixth Corps, which fought the second battle of Fredericksburg. He would be killed at Spotsylvania Court House in the spring of 1864.
Brigadier General John B. Gordon had been a Georgia Attorney before the Civil War. Despite a lack of military education, he had an aptitude for field command. He led a brigade at the second battle of Fredericksburg.
May 3, 1863.
These maps show modern the road network to help orient this battle action to the ground.
May 4, 1863.