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ATTEMPT TO CIIECK THE FLIGHT OF TROOPS.
instantly scattered like chaff, leaving half their number dead or dying on the field.
While the divisions of Devens and Schurz were crumbling, Steinwehr quickly changed front and threw Buschbeck's brigade into works near Melzie Chancellor's (Dowdall's tavern), where some of Schurz's men were rallied, and for a brief space the advance of the Confederates was checked. But the halt was very short. Colston had joined Rodes, and the combined forces, with a terrific yell, charged upon and captured the works. In a few minutes almost the entire Eleventh Corps was seen pouring out of the woods in the deepening twilight, and sweeping over the dusty clearing around Chancellorsville in the wildest confusion, in the direction of the Rappahannock, strewing and blockading the roads with the implements and accouterments of war. These disordered the pursuing troops, and Rodes, when the darkness came on, finding himself entangled among felled trees, behind which was some National artillery, halted, and sent a request for A. P. Hill to be ordered to the front to take the advance, while the first and second lines should be re-formed.
In the mean time Hooker, apprised of the attack and the disorder on his right, had taken measures for checking the flight and recovering the field. The troops immediately at hand were his once own division, commanded by General H. G. Berry (the second of Sickles's corps), and French's brigade of Couch's corps. These were sent forward at the double-quick, and a courier was dispatched to Sickles, who had pushed some distance beyond the National lines, to inform him of the disaster to the Eleventh Corps, and his own peril, and to direct him to fall back and attack Jackson's left flank. Sickles was then in a critical situation, for the Confederates were in his rear and between him and the main army, while his artillery was behind him and exposed to capture, and Pleasanton, with two regiments of cavalry, were with the guns. These had been left behind, because artillery and cavalry could be of little service in the woods, and they were in a field at Hazel Grove. The circumstance proved to be a fortunate one, and probably saved Sickles and his two brigades from destruction or capture, for Pleasanton, by quick, skillful, and vigorous action, assisted the second division of the Sixth Corps, under Berry, in checking the pursuit long enough for Sickles to fall back in time to join in the conflict.
Pleasanton had just reached the artillery, when Jackson's pursuing column came thundering on after the flying Eleventh. Anxious to check the pursuers and save Sickles's cannon, he hurled one of his regiments (Eighth Pennsylvania, under Major Keenan) upon the Confederate flank. It was flung back terribly shattered. In the course of a few minutes Keenan was dead, and the ground was strewn with the greater portion of his men, slain or disabled. But they had checked the Confederates long enough for Pleasanton to bring his own horse-artillery, and more than thirty of Sickles's guns, to bear upon them, and to pour into their ranks a destructive storm of grape and canister shot. These were confronted by Confederate artillery on the plank road, under Colonel Crutchfield, who was soon wounded, and several of his guns were silenced, when desperate efforts were made by the Confederates to seize the National cannon. While this struggle was going on, General G. K. Warren, with the troops sent by Hooker, just mentioned,
DEATH OF STONEWALL JACKSON.
came to Pleasanton's assistance; and soon afterward Sickles, with his two brigades (Birney's and Whipple's), joined in the contest.
At this time Lee was making a vigorous artillery attack upon Hooker's left and center, formed by the corps of Generals Couch and Slocum, but the assailing force, whose heaviest demonstration was against General Ilancock's front, was held in check by his skirmish line, under Colonel V. A. Miles.' And while Lee was thus failing, a heavier misfortune than he had yet endured befell him, in the paralysis of the right-arm of his power, by the fall of General Jackson. That officer, encouraged by the success of his first blow, was extremely anxious to press forward, and, by extending his lines to the left, cut off Hooker's communication with the United States Ford. While awaiting the arrival of General Hill to the front, he pushed forward with his staff and an escort on a personal reconnoissance, and when returning in the gloom to his lines, he and his companions seem to have been mistaken by their friends for Union cavalry, and were fired upon. Jackson fell, pierced by three bullets, and several of his staff were killed or wounded. Jackson was the superior of Lee as an executive officer, in moral force and in personal magnetism, and his loss to the Confederacy, and especially to the Army of Northern Virginia, as Lee's troops were called, was irreparable.”
Jackson had ordered a forward movement so soon as Ilill should reach the front, and it was at the moment when that was accomplished that the notable leader was prostrated. Hill, also, was disabled by a contusion caused by the fragment of a shell while Jackson was on his way to the hospital, and the command of the corps devolved temporarily on Rodes, who, under the circumstances, thought it advisable not to attempt a forward movement in the night. General Stuart, whom Hill called to the command, agreed with him, and the Confederates occupied the night in defensive operations, and in preparations for renewing the struggle in the morning. Sickles, as we have observed, had reached Pleasanton at Hazel Grove, and at once attempted to recover a part of the ground lost by Howard. Birney's division, with Hobart Ward's brigade in front, charged down the plank road at midnight, drove back the Confederates, recovered some lost ground, and brought away several abandoned guns and caissons. Other attacks were made, but little more was accomplished, when Sickles, then reporting
· His troops consisted of the Fifty-seventh, Sixty-fourth, and Sixty-sixth New York Volunteers, and detachments of the Fifty-second New York, Second Delaware, and One Hundred and Forty-eighth Pennsylvania See Hancock's Report.
? Jackson received three balls, one in the right hand and two in the left arm, by one of which the bone was shattered just below the shoulder, and an artery was severed. His frightened horse, now without guidance, turned and rushed toward the National lines, greatly imperiling the life of his rider, as he swept through the Woods and underbrush. Jackson managed to turn him into the plank road, where he was checked by one of his staff (Captain Wilborn), who seized the bridle, and into his arms the general, exbausted by pain and loss of blood, fell General Hill presently rode up, jumped from his horse, and stopped the flow of blood by bandaging the arm above the wound. Jackson was then placed on a litter, and conveyed to the rear in the midst of a storm of canister shot, which came sweeping down the road from two pieces of National cannon. One of the litter-bearers was shot dead. The wounded general was borne on to the Wilderness tavern (where the Confederates had established an hospital), attended by Dr. Hunter McGuire. There his arm was amputated. His wife was sent for, and two or three days afterward he was reinoved to Guiney's Station, nearer Richmond. There, at the Chandler House, he remained until his death, which was caused chiefly by pneumonia. That event occurred on Sunday, the 10th of May, 1863. "A few moments before he died," says an eye witness (Captain J. Hotchkiss), “ he cried out in his delirium, «Order A. P. Hill to prepare for action-pass the infantry to the front rapidly-tell Major Hawks' then stopped, leaving the sentence unfinished. Presently a smile of ineffable sweetness spread itself over his pale face, and he said quietly, and with an expression as if of relief, 'Let 03 Cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.'"
HOOKER'S NEW LINE OF BATTLE.
directly to Hooker, was ordered to fall back and take position, and intrench in a new line formed by the chief, on heights between Fairview (a short distance west of Chancellorsville) and the Confederate lines in front of Dowdall's tavern. This was done at dawn on Sunday morning.
Hooker's situation was extremely critical, but with characteristic energy he had made new dispositions on Saturday night to meet the inevitable attack
on the morrow. When he heard of the southward march of Jackson's col
umn on Saturday morning," he called Reynolds's corps, more than May 2,
twenty thousand strong, from Sedgwick. It arrived late that
evening, and was received with joy, for it more than filled the space of the shattered Eleventh, and made Hooker's force full sixty thousand men, with whom to confront a little more than forty thousand men; yet his situation was perilous, and he knew it. He ordered Sedgwick to cross the river at once, and seize and hold the city and heights of Fredericksburg, and then, pushing along the roads leading to Chancellorsville, crush every impediment and join the main army as speedily as possible. He changed the front of a portion of his line so as to receive the Confederate attack, making a new line of battle, as we have observed, with more than thirty pieces of cannon, massed at Fairview, a little westward of his head-quarters. Sickles, connecting with Slocum on his left, occupied the intrenched line in advance of Fairview, which extended across the plank road, and included the elevated plateau at Hazel Grove. On the left of the line was a part of the Second Corps, and still further to the right, behind breastworks on the Elly's Ford road, was Reynolds's corps. On the National left, Meade's corps, with their faces toward Fredericksburg, joined Slocum's, Hancock's division being thrown back in a position to guard the communications with Banks's Ford; and on the extreme left the remains of Howard's corps were placed. The Confederates had also made dispositions for attack, in three lines: the first under Hill, the second under Colson, and the third under Rodes, with cannon massed on heights so as to command much of the
1 This is a view of the line of intrenchments on the plank road, between Fairview and Melzie Chancellor's, as it appeared when the writer sketched it, in June, 1866. The works were constructed of logs and earth, breast high.
BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE.
National line, and the open space around Chancellorsville. This disposition of his left wing being made known to Lee during the night, he directed Stuart to incline to the right, while McLaws and Anderson, under Lee's immediate command, should move to the left so as to form a junction of the separated army.
Such was the situation of the opposing forces on Sunday morning, the 3d of May, when, at dawn, Stuart advanced to the attack with the whole of Lee's left wing, under cover of artillery, and shouting, when he came in sight of the Nationals, “ Charge, and remember Jackson !" He swung around his right, and seizing the elevation which the Eleventh Corps had been driven from on Saturday, he soon had thirty pieces of artillery in position there, and playing with destructive effect upon his antagonist. With a courage bordering on desperation, his men rushed down the road toward Chancellorsville, and charged heavily upon the National line fronting westward, composed of the corps of Sickles and the divisions of Berry and French, the last two supported by the divisions of Whipple and Williams. A severe struggle ensued. The right of the Confederates pressed back the Nationals and seized the commanding position at Hazel Grove, with four pieces of cannon, which were speedily brought to bear upon the Unionists with fearful effect. At the same time Stuart's left and center pressed heavily upon Sickles, who, when his ammunition began to fail, was driven back from the first line of works, and compelled to hold his position for a time with the bayonet. Around Fairview the battle raged furiously. The tide of success ebbed and flowed for more than an hour, while the result was doubtful. Sickles sent to Hooker for re-enforcements and ammunition, but when his messenger reached head-quarters he found the chief almost senseless, having been prostrated by a pillar of the Chancellor House, which had been struck by a cannon ball and thrown violently against him. The command had devolved on Couch (who withdrew head-quarters from the Chancellor House), and an hour --a most precious hour-passed by while the army was practically without a head. Sickles did not receive the needed re-enforcements. Meade was occupied by a force menacing his front. Reynolds was not called into action, and Howard's corps was unavailable. French had gallantly assailed Stuart's left, confused it, and captured several hundred of its men; but he was soon pressed back, and while Stuart was bearing heavily upon Sickles, Lee threw Anderson and McLaws upon
DARIUS N. COUCH. Slocum and Meade. McLaws, pressing along the plank road from the direction of Fredericksburg, attacked Meade, when the skirmish line of Hancock's division repulsed him, while Anderson, bearing heavily upon Slocum, succeeded in joining Stuart by a thin line.
LEE TAKES CHANCELLORSVILLE.
Lee's head-quarters were now near Lewis's Creek, southwest of Chanceliorsville, from which he issued orders for his united army to make a general advance. Sickles and Slocum were both forced back by an overwhelming pressure. Presently the line gave way, and the division of Hancock, and a portion of Slocum's corps, under General Geary, alone held the point of the line in front of Chancellor's house. These troops gradually fell back, and fought gallantly at the angle of the roads. This line, too, soon began to bend. The Confederates fell furiously upon it, and broke it, and at ten o'clock in the morning, after a struggle for six hours, they took possession of Chancellorsville. The mansion had been beaten into a ghastly ruin by the Confederate artillery. Couch had withdrawn the army to a position northward of it, where he formed a new line, of V or redan shape, along the
roads leading to Elly's and United States Fords, the right resting on the Rapid Anna, the left on the Rappahannock, and the apex at Bullock's house. On this line were the fresh troops of Meade and Reynolds, which had not been called into the severe struggle during the morning. Hooker recovered, and resumed command at noon.
Lee's army was now united, and Hooker's was yet divided, Sedgwick and Gibbon, with an aggregate force of about thirty thousand men, being still near Fredericksburg. Hooker had vainly hoped for the appearance of these on Lee's flank and rear during the early morning struggle, and now they were separated from him by an army elated by victory. Lee, confident that he might capture or disperse the forces of his antagonist, was about to follow up his triumph by attacking Hooker in his new position, when news came from Fredericksburg which instantly arrested his operations in that direction. Sedgwick was seriously menacing his flank and rear.
So early as Saturday morning, Sedgwick had thrown his corps over the Rappahannock, at Franklin's crossing-place, and, after some skirmishing, had lain quietly until near midnight, when he received the order, already mentioned, to join the main army at Chancellorsville. He began the movement at
1 This is a view of the ruins of the Chancellor House (called Chancellor's Villa, or Chancellorsville), as it appeared when the writer sketched it, in June, 1866.