Fairview Cannonry, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

photo of the week for Tuesday, 2008, June 24
Photographer: Kurt Repanshek

These cannons stand today in what is thought to be much the same location as the Union cannonry did on May 3, 1863, when they confronted Confederate cannons 1,200 yards distant atop Hazel Grove.

Fairview is the name of the house that was the original home in Spotsylvania County of the Chancellor family. On May 2, Union artillery at Fairview faced west, parallel to the Orange Turnpike. At the daybreak on May 3, Union troops under the command of General Hooker made the fatal mistake of withdrawing from Hazel Grove to Fairview. Hazel Grove marked the high ground on the battlefield, and once Hooker led his troops away the Confederates quickly took the hilltop and brought in more than 40 cannons.

For about five hours on that morning 34 Union cannons dueled with Confederate artillery. Meanwhile, the infantry fighting swayed back and forth in the bloodiest fight of the campaign. Finally, around mid-morning, Union forces withdrew from Fairview to Chancellorsville.

It's been estimated that casualties from the heavy bombardments reached 17,500. After the battle, Confederate soldiers moved 500 wounded Union troops to the house that stood at Fairview. Most of the wounded lay out in the open on the ground for more than a week. On May 12, under the flag of truce, Union ambulances transported the wounded to hospitals north of the Rappahannock River.

On the Web: www.nps.gov/frsp