The Battle Of Chancellorsville As General Robert E. Lee

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Civil War historians view the Battle of Chancellorsville as General Robert E. Lee’s “greatest and most remarkable” victory (Sears 1). Lee, facing an army twice his size, defies all military doctrine and divides his army multiple times in order to out-maneuver and surprise the Union forces. The daring maneuver succeeds and ultimately forces the Union’s Army of the Potomac to retreat. The victory was another major blow to Union troops, but it came at a huge cost to the Confederacy: the loss of General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. By evaluating the battle through the lens of the mission command activities, one can see how Lee’s daring maneuver was actually very calculated and his only option for victory. Throughout the rest of this paper, I will describe the timeline of the battle and how General Lee used the mission command activities of understand, visualize, assess, and lead to ultimately achieve victory at Chancellorsville. After the Union’s defeat at Fredericksburg in December of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln once again made a change in the Union Army’s leadership. General Ambrose Burnside was replaced with Major General Joseph Hooker. Hooker and Lincoln both agreed that the key to victory in the war was the destruction of Lee’s Army in a decisive battle (Sears 57-62). Hooker’s plan to accomplish this was to use his 130,000 soldiers and launch a double envelopment of Lee’s 60,000 men still camped at Fredericksburg. Between April 27 and May 1 of 1863, Hooker
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