After General’s Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee’s darning sneak attack around the Union’s right flank on the first day of the Battle of Chancellorsville, the always aggressive Jackson was out in front of his men trying to regroup them in the gathering twilight for a final attack when he was mistaken for the enemy by some Confederate soldiers, and they opened up on him and his staff. The fusillade instantly killed one officer and Jackson took a mini ball in his right hand, and his left humorous was shattered. Evacuated to a field hospital, where the horribly mangled arm deemed too damaged to save, his left arm was amputated.
From there he was hurried to a Plantation owned by the Chandler family twenty-seven rough miles south of the battlefield. Known as the Fairfield, it was a 720-acre estate situation alongside the rail line which led to Richmond. The plantation and rail line served as a critical supply depot for the Confederate army, and the point at which the gravely wounded could be taken by rail to Chimborazo hospital in Richmond. It was deemed the safest place for Jackson, for if the Union Army tried to capture the General, the army could use the train line to whisk him to safety in the Confederate capital.
General Lee had hoped to move Jackson immediately to the hospital there, but recently the line had been broken by Union cavalry and was still in the process of being repaired.
While at the Fairfield plantation, Jackson was kept in an outbuilding which had served as a doctor’s office for one of the Chandler’s sons before the war. The building had two small rooms on the first floor, one of which served as Jackson’s hospital and two tiny rooms upstairs. One of these rooms was used by Jim Lewis, who slept there while he ministered to the General.
After a couple of days Jackson had been recovering so well, that his wife, Anna and their infant daughter, Julia were allowed to come and visit him. But Jackson’s recovery suddenly took a turn for the worse, when his lungs filled with fluid and he developed a raging infection. His physician, Doctor McGuire, described this as pneumonia, but without modern antibiotics, there was little a Civil War era doctor could do…