Although April is considered an important month in regard to the Civil War because it essentially started and ended in that month, Lincoln was assassinated, and April is now considered "Confederate History Month," I feel that May is a significant month as well. Many events took place during May that changed the course of the war. First came the Battle of Chancellorsville, which took place on May 1-3, 1863. My book, A Beckoning Hellfire, discusses this battle in depth. The Confederates won the fight, which set the stage for Lee to advance into Pennsylvania. Also during the battle, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was accidentally killed by his own men. It will always remain a mystery as to whether the Confederacy would have come out victorious had Jackson survived.
The Battle of the Wilderness began on May 5, 1864. This battle took place almost on the same exact location where the Battle of Chancellorsville was fought a year prior. In fact, men testified to seeing old bones exposed after being hastily buried. Sadly, many soldiers were buried where they fell, and the sacred ground today is riddled with makeshift grave sites. Even more appalling is that the area has been sold to investors and made into subdivisions.
May marks the anniversaries of several other battles as well: the Battle of McDowell, Virginia on May 8, 1862, the Battle of "Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania Court House on May 12, 1864, the Battle of New Market, Virginia on the 15th, 1864, the Battle of Champion's Hill on the 16th of 1863, the Battle of Fair Oaks on May 24, 1862 and the First Battle of Winchester on May 25, 1862. With Memorial Day only a few weeks away, let us remember all these terrible battles that took place on our own country's soil, and the honorable lives that were lost there.