“Never was there a more beautiful sunrise…” The Battles for Fairview and Hazel Grove, Conclusion

The fourth in a four-part miniseries.

The following is the text from Elizabeth “Beth” Parnicza’s 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Chancellorsville tour covering the action of May 3rd, 1863, in the area between Hazel Grove and Fairview.

The Federal gun line at Fairview, the morning of May 3rd, 2013. (KDW)
The Federal gun line at Fairview, the morning of May 3rd, 2013. (KDW)

Adding to the horror of the battlefield that day: Fires.

Captain James F. Huntington, who commanded Battery H, 1st Ohio Light Artillery, described the scene: “The inevitable horrors of a fiercely contested battlefield were increased by a fire that broke out about noon in the woods near the position lately occupied by {Major General Hiram} Berry’s division. Scattered through them were hundreds of helpless men from both the contending parties. The Confederates who then held the ground did all in their power to extinguish the flames and rescue the sufferers. In spite of their exertions many wounded perished miserably in this fire-swept wilderness.”

Maj. Eugene Blackford, 5th Alabama Battalion, watching from Hazel Grove, stated: “All the Yankees were burnt to death by the burning leaves, which the shells set afire. The sight was perfectly horrible, enough to make one’s hair turn grey. The whole atmosphere was impregnated with the odor of burning flesh…. I am sick of horrors now.”

 “I am sick of horrors now.”

This from men hardened to battle. What they witnessed here was terrible. Fighting in woods against an enemy they couldn’t see clearly, hammering away with attacks that see-saw, instead of gaining clear objectives.

Where’s the glory? Who wouldn’t be war-weary here? That these men press on is a sign of their grit and resolve…a sign of a war that’s getting tougher every day.

Because for all of the casualties we count, who here wasn’t a casualty?

But it only gets worse as time goes on.

Elizabeth “Beth” Parnicza is a West Virginia University graduate and is currently a historian with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Beth, is the supervisor of the Chancellorsville unit.

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