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The Civil War at Chancellorsville

In-Person Program

Weekend All-Day Tour

Saturday, May 20, 2023 - 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1CD013
Departs from the Holiday Inn Capitol at
550 C St SW (corner of 6th & C Sts)
Fringe: I-95, Exit 158B commuter lot
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The Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center (National Parks Service)

In the eyes of many Civil War scholars, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s greatest victory and Union General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker’s greatest lost opportunity can be found during the battle of Chancellorsville that raged in the Virginia Wilderness from May 1 to 4, 1863. Career military intelligence officer Colonel Marc Thompson, USAF Retired, leads a visit to most of the significant locations associated with this epic Civil War battle. Thompson’s extensive experience in analyzing and assessing adversary operations, along with his intimate knowledge of the Chancellorsville battlefield, provide him with some unique perspectives on combat leadership and the fog of war that impacted the battle’s participants.

Following the route of Hooker’s columns as they advanced toward Chancellorsville and beyond, visit the location where his soldiers first clashed with Lee's troops west of Fredericksburg. A stop is made where Lee and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson planned the May 2 attack on Hooker's right flank, after which the tour follows Jackson’s advance to the site where his troops crushed the Union's IX Corps. The sites of Jackson's mortal wounding and the savage fighting on May 3 and 4 are also visited.

Know Before You Go

  • The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.
  • Tour participants meet at and leave by bus from the Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C St., SW (corner of 6th and C Sts.) with a pick-up stop at I-95, Horner Road Exit 158B commuter lot at about 8:55 a.m.
  • A box lunch is included.
  • Dress for some outdoor walking on rough terrain.

Additional Opportunity: If you enjoy the topic of this program, check out a May 3 online program called A Bitter Defeat: The 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville.

General Information

  • Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, May 19, 2023.
  • Smithsonian is a mask-friendly environment. Masks are strongly recommended to be worn on buses at all times and may also be required at various indoor sites.
  • For additional tour information: