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Tally Farm

Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's first objective in his May 2nd, 1863 flank attack at Chancellorsville was to seize the Talley house plateau. From there his artillery could sweep the Orange Plank Road, overcoming any remaining Union resistance. Although the house was torn down in 1926, this important site continues to offer the same commanding view enjoyed by Jackson and his men.

Brigadier General Charles Devens used the Talley house as his headquarters. Throughout May 2nd, Devens and his superior, Major General Oliver Otis Howard, ignored reports of a Confederate build-up on their right flank. Hundreds of men died as a result, including several whose haphazard graves still dot the Talley house property.

 The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust purchased this 25-acre property in 1999.  Thanks to the generosity of our members and donors we were able to pay-off the debt in December 2000, well ahead of the note's maturation date. 


Tally Farm Ridge

On May 2, 1863, approximately three miles west of a crossroads called Chancellorsville, “Stonewall” Jackson launched a daring attack against Federal troops of the Union XI Corps. In 2004, more than 140 years later, the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust closed on 16.37 acres of this ground, to preserve it in perpetuity. The physical setting is a portion of the Talley Farm ridge on the south side of the old Orange Turnpike (modern State Route 3). The purchase price for this acreage was $200,000.

The historic significance of this preserved dirt and grass is related to combat on the afternoon of May 2nd, 1863. The Union XI  Corps, the far right of the Union army, held a line running along the Orange Turnpike. The Federal command’s inattention, however, left these formations inadequately deployed and unsupported. These deficiencies became all too apparent when the Confederates struck. This parcel was occupied by the 74th Pennsylvania Infantry, of Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelfennig’s brigade, (Major General Carl Shurz’s division). To their right was the 17th Connecticut Infantry, of Brigadier General Nathaniel McLean’s brigade, (Brigadier General Charles Devens’ division). In the seam between these two units, artillerymen of the 13th New York Independent Battery brought some guns into the line, pointing the cannon south.

In the late afternoon, a howling mass of Confederates broke out of the woods to the west. The sudden attack caught most of the Federal troops unprepared, including the ones occupying this property. McLean’s brigade rallied briefly at the Talley House. The Confederate pressure was too powerful however, and the XI Corps infantry soon fled east. Four guns of the 13th New York Independent Battery were captured here without having fired a shot.

The fighting on this land was brief, but intense. As the Southerners passed through, they left the dead, the dying, and the wounded in their wake.  Within hours “Stonewall” Jackson himself, the victorious commander of the Confederate flanking force, would join the wounded and the dying.

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