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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier"    Edward Porter Alexander letter, 1863 May 11

Edward Porter Alexander letter, May 11, 1863

Photograph of Edward Porter Alexander

Photograph of Edward P. Alexander, taken between 1862 and 1864

Public domain

View of Chancellor House after artillery fire of 3 May 1863

View of Chancellor House. Gen. Joseph Hooker was standing on its porch when an incoming projectile struck a pillar which broke and knocked the general out.

Library of Congress,

Prints and Photographs Division

Pearce Museum at Navarro College, Corsicana, Tex. External Link
Edward Porter Alexander was born in Washington, Ga., on May 6, 1835. He graduated third in his class in 1857 from the United States Military Academy, and was given the commission of second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. Prior to the Civil War Alexander was a West Point instructor. When war became evident, he resigned his commission with the United States military to join the Confederacy on April 3, 1861. Alexander entered the war as an engineer for General P.G.T. Beauregard and fought his first engagement at First Manassas. Alexander continued on as commander of an artillery battalion in General James Longstreet's corps to fight at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. At Gettysburg Alexander's artillery attempted to clear the way for Pickett's Charge and he was wounded. Alexander spent the remainder of the war under Longstreet as a brigadier-general serving through Tennessee and the Overland Campaign. Alexander was injured during the siege of Petersburg and received parole at Appomattox. After the war Alexander became a professor of military and civil engineering and mathematics at the University of South Carolina, and served as president of Columbia Oil Company. He also served in executive positions with various southern railroad companies. Alexander was the author of several books and essays about the Civil War. He died at age 74, on Apr. 28, 1910, in Savannah Ga.
One letter (4 pages), written to Alexander's father five days after the Battle of Chancellorsville, "to try & give you a clearer account of the fighting than I have yet seen in the papers." The Union army, under the command of Gen. Joseph Hooker, had crossed the Rappahannock with one hundred thousand men against Lee's sixty thousand men. The Union was repelled. The letter details Alexander's experiences under the command of Gen. Stonewall Jackson (who later died of his wounds) and then Gen. James "Jeb" Stuart:
"Gen Jackson received his wound (from our own men) in this woods after sundown, Iverson's and Pender's (N.C.) Brigades firing into each other...Gen Stuart succeeded to command of the Army there."
Alexander's artillery was placed to hit Chancellor House, a large brick tavern, where Hooker's headquarters were placed and Hooker was injured in the bombardment.

(See the NUCMC catalog record)


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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier"    Edward Porter Alexander letter, 1863 May 11
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   October 16, 2014
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