HEAT AT CATHARINE FURNACEStonewall Jackson and JEB Stuart
May 1, 1863
General Thomas J. Jackson and General James Ewell Brown Stuart could not have been more different in personality and persona. Stoical and methodical, Jackson had been a professor of philosophy and artillery tactics for the Virginia Military Institute. Carefree and jovial, Stuart had been a cavalry Lieutenant on the frontier before the war began. As a Confederate commander Jackson paid little attention to his dress, and was often described wearing a kepi pulled down covering his features. General Stuart on the other hand was always superbly mounted. Wearing thigh-high boots and upturned hat with a plume, he made a very striking and handsome appearance. Although both men came from humble beginnings, the two would become close friends and rise to become principal players in the War Between the States.
In the spring of 1863 the Army of Northern Virginia under the command of General Robert E. Lee maneuvered to deliver a crushing blow to General Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker's Army of the Potomac. The two great armies found themselves in the tangled heavily wooded area called the "Wilderness," located near Chancellorsville, Virginia. Scouting Federal positions at 5:30 p.m. on May 1st, Jackson and Stuart followed a small path in the dense growth of Catharine Furnace. Not far from the two general's position a Confederate artillery piece fired one round in the general direction of the enemy. The shot gave away their position and the Federals returned fire with a barrage from hidden batteries that made the woods explode with fire, splintered trees and shrapnel.
Shouting above the explosions, General Stuart exclaimed, "General Jackson, we must move from here!" As the scouting party quickly moved off, shrapnel from one of the explosions hit Stuart's adjutant, Major R. Channing Price. Refusing aid, and saying he was not seriously injured, he rode off with the group, but shortly the dying young Major fell from the saddle.
With the information gathered this day, General Lee, Jackson and Stuart would devise a plan, which would give the Army of Northern Virginia one of its greatest victories.
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