On the evening of May 3 and all day May 4, Hooker remained in his defenses while Lee and Early battled Sedgwick. Sedgwick, after breaking Early's defenses, foolishly neglected to secure Fredericksburg. Early simply marched back and reoccupied the heights west of the city, cutting Sedgwick off. Meanwhile, Lee directed the division of Maj. Gen. Richard H. Anderson from the Chancellorsville front and reinforced McLaws before Sedgwick realized just how few men were opposing him. Sedgwick, as it turned out, was as resolute on the defensive as he was irresolute on the attack, and he stood his ground that day before withdrawing back across the Rappahannock at Banks's Ford during the pre-dawn hours of May 5. This was another miscommunication between him and Hooker; the commanding general had wanted Sedgwick to hold Banks's Ford, so that Hooker could withdraw from the Chancellorsville area and re-cross the river at Banks's to fight again. When he learned that Sedgwick had retreated back over the river, Hooker felt he was out of options to save the campaign, and on the night of May 5–6, he also withdrew back across the river.
Wounded soldiers being tended in the field after the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863.
Stoneman, after a week of ineffectual raiding in central and southern Virginia in which he failed to attack any of the objectives Hooker set out for him, withdrew into Union lines east of Richmond on May 7, ending the campaign.
The battle was fought under terrible conditions. Soldiers tended to get lost in the impenetrable maze of undergrowth, and many fires started during the course of the battle. Reports of wounded men being burned alive were common.
Lee, despite being outnumbered by a ratio of about five to two, won arguably his greatest victory of the war. But he paid a terrible price for it. With only 52,000 infantry engaged, he suffered more than 13,000 casualties, losing some 25% of his force—men that the Confederacy, with its ...