Shopping cart

The Forgotten Battles of the Chancellorsville Campaign

Fredericksburg, Salem Church, and Banks’ Ford in Spring 1863

Civil War Era, Civil War Soldiers and Strategies, Forthcoming, Military History

Foreword by Frank A. O’Reilly

Description Exploring neglected and misinterpreted aspects of a pivotal point in the Civil War

Military operations in Fredericksburg, Virginia, were a significant part of the Chancellorsville Campaign, but they have been overshadowed by what occurred in the Wilderness of Spotsylvania County, where Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson’s forces overwhelmed the Union army. That struggle in the spring of 1863 has been the subject of numerous studies, and its geographical setting is a prominent component of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

To demonstrate how a Union force overpowered Confederate troops in and around Fredericksburg, Erik F. Nelson emphasizes the role of terrain. Previous studies have relied on misleading primary sources that have left the campaign—and the Union’s larger victory—misunderstood. Moreover, the former battlegrounds near Fredericksburg have been altered by new roads and neighborhoods, further complicating study.

While the Confederate victory at Chancellorsville loomed large as the Southern army confidently marched into Pennsylvania, the Union army redeemed itself at Gettysburg—changing the course of the war. Nelson’s thorough consideration of the physical settings at Fredericksburg, Salem Church, and Banks’ Ford helps readers better understand how the Army of the Potomac prevailed against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.


Erik F. Nelson is a former US Navy weapons specialist and retired city planner of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was a founding board member of the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and a founding editor of its journal, Fredericksburg History and Biography.