On May 19, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton directed that Ohio Congressman
Clement Vallandigham be sent outside of Federal military boundaries and
not be allowed to return; this was on Lincoln's orders. On May 22, Lincoln
met with convalescing soldiers at the White House and commented that the men
on crutches were orators, with their very appearance speaking louder than
tongues. On May 29, General Burnside proffered his resignation as commander
of the Department of the Ohio because Lincoln had rescinded Burnside's
order that Vallandigham be imprisoned, but Lincoln refused to accept the
Eastern theater: The last
major engagement was the Battle of Fredericksburg, December
On May 1, the Battle of Chancellorsville
began; Hooker began by engaging
Lee's troops, but the Federals soon pulled back allowing Lee to take the offensive. The day ended
with Hooker's troops gathered in dense undergrowth known as the Virginia
Wilderness. Fighting continued the next day. Late on the second,
General Stonewall Jackson took his corps past Hooker's right flank, concluding
the maneuver with a devastating attack. Hooker's distress was increased
as Lee attacked the Federal left, firing into Meade's men. The Federals dispursed
and fell back toward Chancellorsville. However, Stonewall Jackson was accidentally
shot in the arm by his own men, and General A.P. Hill was also wounded.
On May 3, fighting continued with Hooker pulling back to Chancellor's House;
late in the day, Hooker ordered General Sedgwick to fire on Southern forces at Fredericksburg
in a fight that came to be known as Second Fredericksburg. This attack at
first gained ground, but the Federals were halted by Lee at Salem Church. The battle ended
on the fourth when Lee continued to push Hooker back, forcing the Army of the Potomac to cross
the Rappahannock late in the evening. On May 6, General A.P. Hill was placed in charge
of Jackson's II Corps. Jackson, who's injured arm had been amputated, later developed pneumonia
and died on May 10. There was little action for the rest of the month as Lincoln struggled
with his concern for leadership in the Army of the Potomac.
The next major engagement will
be the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1 to 3, 1863.
Western theater: The last
major engagement was the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862.
The next major engagement was the
siege of Vicksburg, which began in May and which will end on July 4, 1863.
On May 1, General McClernand's
Union troops advanced on Fort Gibson, pushing steadily forward and helping to clear the way for
Grant to march on Vicksburg. On the third, the Confederates evacuated Grand Gulf, Mississippi,
in the face of Grant's advance. In the following days, Grant contined to move towards
Vicksburg. On May 14, Grant attacked and captured Jackson, Mississippi. May 16 saw the Battle
of Champion's Hill, or Baker's Creed, Mississippi, between Grant and Pemberton. At some cost,
the North finally took Champion's Hill in the most severe fighting of the Vicksburg campaign.
Thereafter, Grant continued his effort to reach the Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi.
It may be said that the siege of Vicksburg began on May 18. Grant attacked the
city on May 19 and May 22, but found the Confederate defenders stout. On May 25th, Grant attempted
to breach the defenses by detonating 2,200 pounds of gunpowder in a tunnel dug near
the city, but the effort failed. The month of May ended with Grant surrounding and strangling
the Confederates caught in Vicksburg.
Source: The Civil War Day By Day,
edited by John S. Bowman, 1989.
Official Record of the Month
Instead of an Official Record of
the Month, the following link is to a high school research paper discussing
the medical treatment of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, who was wounded on May
2, 1863, and died eight days later on May 10, 1863. This was probably
the most momentous event of May, 1863, 140 years ago this month.
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