THREE REMARKABLE HAND-DRAWN MAPS OF "STONEWALL" JACKSON'S DARING FLANK ATTACK AT THE BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE WHERE HE WOULD BE MORTALLY WOUNDED, ACCOMPLISHED BY THE NEPHEW OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S VICE PRESIDENT, USED BY HIM IN PREPARING HIS 1896 HISTORY OF JACKSON'S ATTACK AND ACCOMPANIED BY THAT BOOK
(JACKSON, Thomas J. "Stonewall") HAMLIN, Augustus C. Three manuscript maps detailing "Stonewall" Jackson's flank attack at the Battle of Chancellorsville. WITH: The Battle of Chancellorsville. Maps: No place, circa 1890s. (Book: Bangor, Maine: by the Author, 1896). Three maps on three quarto leaves; one 8 by 13 inches, in green, red, and blue ink and watercolor; two maps 8 by 10-1/2 inches in black ink and gray wash, all recording various stages of the Battle of Chancellorsville. (Book: octavo, original cloth). $11,500.
Remarkable set of three spectacular hand-drawn maps documenting "Stonewall" Jackson's daring flank attack at the Battle of Chancellorsville where he would be mortally wounded, accomplished by the nephew of Abraham Lincoln's Vice President: artist, author, and Harvard-educated Union military surgeon Augustus C. Hamlin, and accompanied by his history of the battle, for which he prepared these maps. This battle is one of the most important of the Civil War—considered the high-water mark for Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
The Battle of Chancellorsville (May 1-3, 1863) was one of the most important battles of the Civil War and a significant Confederate victory—made all the more impressive by the fact that Robert E. Lee was outnumbered by a ratio of two to one. Although the battle proved a significant morale boost for the Confederacy, it was also the scene of a great tragedy: General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, in his finest hour of command, was mortally wounded by his own men. For the Union, it was yet another humiliating defeat in a string of failed attempts to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. The Union defeat would embolden Lee to make a daring invasion of Pennsylvania resulting in the climactic Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863.
After two years of failed attempts to capture Richmond, Lincoln sought a new commander for the Army of the Potomac to replace Ambrose Burnside who had resigned following the humiliating Union defeat at Fredericksburg in December 1862. General Joseph Hooker, who enjoyed a reputation as an aggressive commander in subordinate roles, was chosen as the Army's new commander and set about what appeared to be a much superior plan of attack than those attempted by his predecessors. Taking advantage of a nearly two to one numerical superiority, Hooker proposed to send 10,000 cavalrymen around Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, then encamped around Fredericksburg, to disrupt his supply lines in his rear. Meanwhile, hoping to avoid the mass casualties incurred from mass frontal assaults at Antietam and Fredericksburg, Hooker chose to attempt a flank attack on Lee's main army by stationing two corps along the Rappahannock River opposite the Confederate stronghold at Fredericksburg, while he led the balance of his forces westward and then south to the village of Chancellorsville, located several miles to the west of Fredericksburg, in an attempt to attack Lee's rear.
Lee quickly realized the nature of Hooker's stratagem and moved to meet Hooker's forces near Chancellorsville. On the second day of the battle, Lee, who commanded only 60,000 men, took the risky decision to divide his forces. While Lee personally commanded several brigades to hold Hooker's forces in check at Chancellorsville, he ordered Stonewall Jackson to take 28,000 men on a daring trek through the wilderness to mount a surprise attack on Hooker's right flank. Amazingly, despite observation balloons and what should have been obvious signs of a mass movement of soldiers, Jackson's maneuver went completely undetected. In the late afternoon of May 2, Jackson's men took the Union XI Corps, many of whom were eating dinner, by complete surprise and quickly overran their positions. Cornered at Chancellorsville, Hooker had little choice but to withdraw his forces, or risk encirclement, which he accomplished over the next two days.
The first map, rendered in green red and blue, shows the situation at 7:30 P.M. on May 2 as Jackson's Corps pushed back Union General Oliver O. Howard's XI Corps in fairly high detail—only showing the field of action between the Talley House and the village of Chancellorsville. The second map, encompassing a larger area than the first, depicts the situation from 7:30 to 8:00 P.M. noting the position of Stonewall "Jackson's Corps" as well as J.E.B. "Stuart['s] Cav[alry]" as they advanced against the Union right flank manned by Howard's unprepared XI Corps.
The third map offers a more detailed picture of the situation between 8:15 and 10:00 P.M. with Confederate forces pressing eastward. Of interest here is the position of the 18th North Carolina just to the north of the Plank Road. Later in the evening, as Jackson rode westward after a reconnoitering mission, members of that regiment misidentified Jackson's party as Union cavalrymen and opened fire, wounding Jackson, who would die on May 10. At the bottom left of the map, Hamlin identifies Robert E. Lee's position ("Lee") just south of the Orange Turnpike.
These maps are offered together with the book in which later versions of these maps are included: Hamlin's The Battle of Chancellorsville: The Attack of Stonewall Jackson and his Army upon the Right Flank of the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville, Virginia, on Saturday Afternoon, May 2, 1863, with nine color maps. The maps were prepared by Augustus Choate Hamlin (1829-1905) and were used as the basis for his copiously researched analysis of Jackson's attack on that fateful afternoon at Chancellorsville. At the time, many contemporary observers had blamed the failure on the part of inexperienced soldiers. Hamlin argued, in an effort to restore the honor of his beloved XI Corps (with whom he had served as medical director for some time), that those men had been let down by their officers who failed to communicate critical intelligence in a timely manner. Hamlin was the son of Elijah Hamlin, the younger brother of Lincoln's first Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin. Augustus attended Bowdoin College and studied medicine at Harvard, followed by two years of additional medical training in Europe. His academic accomplishments earned him nominations as a member of the American Scientific Association, the Royal Antiquarians of Northern Europe, and the Philadelphia Academy of Science all while still in his early 30s. (A.C. Hamlin, Professional Record, , Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.) In 1862, Hamlin had been appointed Brigade Surgeon, and soon thereafter, Surgeon of XI Corps. During the summer of 1864, Hamlin was under serious consideration for the post of Surgeon General. Following the war, Hamlin returned to Bangor, Maine to continue his medical practice. Beyond his scientific and medial expertise, Hamlin also excelled at writing and painting. Besides his work on Chancellorsville, he also published Martyira, or Andersonville Prison (1866), as well as several works on mineralogy—one of his other interests. Hamlin produced a number of watercolors in connection with his publications on minerals (many of which are now housed at the Harvard Mineralogical Museum) as well as producing landscapes in oil, one of which was exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1859. Hamlin's artistic bent is clearly evidenced in the present maps, which are extraordinary not only aesthetically, but from an informative standpoint as well.
Light marginal wear, a few minor staple and file holes toward several corners, light soiling, else very nearly fine condition. Book near-fine. An excellent and intriguing set of Civil War maps.