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The Battle of Salem Church
May 3-4, 1863

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Other Names: Banks’ Ford
Location: Spotsylvania County, VA
Campaign: Chancellorsville Campaign (April-May 1863)

Principal Commanders:
Union: Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick [US]
Confederate: Gen. Robert E. Lee [CS]

Forces Engaged: Corps

Estimated Casualties: 5,000 total

Description: After occupying Marye’s Heights on May 3, Sedgwick’s VI Corps marched out on the Plank Road with the objective of reaching Hooker’s force at Chancellorsville. He was delayed by Wilcox’s brigade of Early’s force at Salem Church.  During the afternoon and night, Lee detached two of his divisions from the Chancellorsville lines and marched them to Salem Church. Several Union assaults were repulsed the next morning with heavy casualties, and the Confederates counterattacked, gaining some ground. After dark, Sedgwick withdrew across two pontoon bridges at Scott’s Dam under a harassing artillery fire.  Hearing that Sedgwick had been repulsed, Hooker abandoned the campaign, recrossing on the night of May 5-6 to the north bank of the Rappahannock.

Sources:
National Park Service
Library of Congress
The Civil War, American Heritage (Doubleday, 1960)


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