The Tactical Elements of Chancellorsville

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The Tactical Elements of Chancellorsville Objective- While at first surprised, Lee and Jackson decide on the objective of flanking the Union Army with the bulk of their force, and thus push back the Union advance. Despite their separation, Lee and Jackson both knew the objective which allowed them to operate independently. Offense- After initially being caught by surprise by Hooker’s advance, Lee was able to regain the offense by maneuvering Jackson in a flanking movement. Lee again regained the offense after Anderson stopped the advance of Sedgwick at Bank’s Ford. Mass- Jackson is able to mass 73,000 men in the flanking maneuver on the Catherine Furnace Road. This mass of force on the Union flank crushes resistance and threatens the Union army. Later in the battle Lee pivots to the East to meet Sedgwick with enough force to deceive Sedgwick into believing that he was meeting a much larger force. Economy of force- The confederates established a fake defensive line north of Jackson’s lines to make it appear that the Confederates had a much larger force than they really did. With this minimal amount of men Jackson and Lee make it appear as though they could not be flanked, and thus prevent the Union army from even trying. Maneuver- Jackson flanking maneuver on the Catherine Furnace Road was a prime example of maneuver. He was able to place his forces in a position to achieve the objective. Lee, after crushing the Union advance in the west pivot’s his forces to meet Sedgwick’s advance. Lee’s maneuver again stopped the Union advance and forced a retreat. Unity of command- While Lee and Jackson did separate during the battle they still maintained a common objective. Jackson understood Lee’s intent and was able to adapt to the tactical changes on the battlefield to meet that intent, and thus was still operating under Lee’s command. Surprise-
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