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THE HEIGHTS OF FREDERICKSBURG CAPTURED.

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once.

1863.

General Warren arrived at two o'clock in the morning a to hasten it, but it was daylight before the head of Sedgwick's column entered Fredericksburg. He was soon afterward joined by General

a May 3, Gibbon, of Couch's corps, with about six thousand troops, who had been left at Falmouth, and had crossed on pontoons just below the rapids and ford at that place.

General Early, with his own division, and Barksdale's brigade of McLaws's division, were on the heights to oppose Sedgwick. Barksdale occupied a position on Marye's Hill and behind a stone wall at the foot of it, precisely as he had done in December, when Burnside’s troops were there repulsed.' On the crest were three companies of the Washington artillery, and Early occupied the range to the right of them. They felt quite secure in their advantageous position, and their sense of safety was increased when a

ortion of Newton's division, sent by Sedgwick to attack Barksdale, was repulsed, and driven back into the town in shattered columns. A flanking movement by General Howe on the left, and General Gibbon on the right, was equally unsuccessful, but not so disastrous, when Sedgwick determined to form powerful assaulting parties, and storm the Confederate works along their entire occupied line. Two storming columns were formed from Newton's division, one of four, and the other of two regiments; and another, of four regiments, under Colonel Burham, of the Sixth Maine, was directed to move up the plank road, and to the right of the others, directly against the rifle-pits at the foot of Marye's Hill. General Howe, with three storming parties under the command, respectively, of General Neil and Colonels Grant and Seaver, was ordered to move simultaneously upon the Confederate works on the left, near Hazel Run.

The storming parties moved at near eleven o'clock in the morning. The onset was furious, and was gallantly resisted. Steadily the Nationals moved on, in defiance of a galling fire from artillery and small arms, driving Barksdale from his shelter at the stone wall, scaling Marye's Hill, seizing the riflepits and batteries, and capturing full two hundred prisoners, at the cost to Sedgwick of about a thousand men, the Sixth Maine first planting the National flag upon the captured works in token of triumph. Howe had, at the same time, carried the Confederate works on the left, under a heavy fire of artillery; and in a short time after the movement began, the entire ridge was in possession of the Nationals, Early and his shattered columns were flying southward, and the plank road was opened to Sedgwick from Fredericksburg to Chancellorsville. This was the startling intelligence that reached Lee, just as he was about to attack Hooker in his new position.

Sedgwick immediately re-formed his brigades after his victory, and leaving Gibbon at Fredericksburg, marched along the plank road toward Chancellorsville. Lee, at the same time, ventured again to divide his army while in front of his foe, and sent General McLaws with four brigades to meet Sedgwick. Wilcox had already hastened from Banks's Ford, and throwing

See page 493, volume II.

? The column of four regiments, on the right, was commanded by Colonel Spear, of the Sixty-first Pennsylvania, and was composed of his own regiment and the Forty-third New York, supported by the Sixty. seventh New York and Eighty-second Pennsylvania Tbe left column, of three regiments, was commanded by Colonel Johns, of the Seventh Massachusetts, and was oomposed of his own regiment and the Thirty-sixth New York

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BATTLE AT SALEM CHURCH.

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BALEM CHURCH.

his little force across the plank road, essayed to delay the progress of the Nationals. He fell back while skirmishing, and finally made a stand at Salem Church, on Salem Heights, toward which both Sedgwick and McLaws had been hastening, and where the latter had already arrived, and was forming a line of battle perpendicular to the road, and getting artillery in

position. The church' was filled with Wilcox's troops, and made a sort of a citadel, and so also was a school-house near by.

Sedgwick advanced briskly, and before McLaws could complete his battle-line, the former threw forward Brooks's division, which was moving up the plank road, and on each side of it, the First New Jersey on the right, and the brigade of General

Bartlett on the left. Newton's division followed, in support of Brooks's, and Sedgwick's artillery was posted at a toll-gate in the rear. A sanguinary conflict quickly ensued. Bartlett dashed forward, captured the school-house garrison, and, with furious onset, drove the Confederates, and seized the crest of the hill. The triumph and possession was brief. Wilcox soon drove him back, released the school-house prisoners, and seized their custodians, and, with General Semmes, pushed the Nationals back to Sedgwick’s reserves, near the toll-gate, where the well-served batteries of Williston, Rigby, and Parsons, under Colonel Tompkins, checked the pursuers.

The conflict had been short, sharp, and sanguinary, and increased Sedgwick's loss in the morning at Fredericksburg to about five thousand men. Wearied and disheartened, the National troops, like their foes, slept on their arms that night, with little expectation of being able to advance in the morning. Hooker, at the same time, seemed paralyzed in his new position. His army was being beaten in detail, and the result of the battle at Salem Church, only seven miles from him, had rendered a junction of Sedgwick with the main army almost impossible. To make that impossibility absolute was now Lee's chief care. Sedgwick found himself in a very critical situation on Monday morning."

Lee, at an early hour, discovered that Hooker's position had . May 4,

been much strengthened, and he considered it necessary to drive 1863.

Sedgwick across the Rappahannock, if possible, before making another attack on the main body of the Nationals. For this purpose, Early, who had concentrated his forces, changed front, and proceeded to attempt the recapture of the Heights of Fredericksburg; and Anderson's three remaining brigades were sent to re-enforce McLaws, on Sedgwick's front Hooker, apprised of Sedgwick's peril, desired him not to attack unless the main army should become engaged; to keep open his communications, with a view to the salvation of his army, at all hazards; and not to cross the Rappahannock, if he could avoid it. He was compelled to be governed by circumstances rather than orders. At an early hour in the day he was cut off from Fredericksburg by Early, who had marched swiftly, and, with superior force, had recaptured the heights there. At noon, Anderson arrived with his re-enforcements, and took position on Early's left, by which Sedgwick was inclosed FIELD OF MILITARY OPERATIONS.

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1 A brick building on the south side of the plank road, about four miles from Fredericksburg.

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on three sides. Every moment his position became more perilous. The day wore away with nothing more serious than skirmishing, until about six

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BEGION OF MILITARY OPERATIONS FROM THE 27TH OF APRIL TO THE 6TH OF MAY, 1863. o'clock, when the Confederates made a general attack. Sedgwick's forces, after a short but obstinate defense, gave way, and he retired toward Banks's

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HOOKER RECROSSES THE RAPPAHANNOCK.

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Ford, pursued as vigorously as the nature of the country (hilly, furrowed by ravines, and thick-wooded) allowed, until dark, when the chase ended. Before morning, Sedgwick, with the remnant of his corps, passed to the north side of the Rappahannock, over pontoon bridges, near Banks's Ford, under cover of thirty-two pieces of artillery. In the space of two days he had lost more than one-fifth of his entire command. Gibbon also withdrew from Fredericksburg to Falmouth that night, passing the river on pontoon

bridges, just below the ford; and on Tuesdayo Lee had only « May 5,

Hooker to contend with, and was free to concentrate all his forces against him. So he recalled McLaws and Anderson, to add

, strength to his main army, leaving Early and Barksdale to hold the line of the river from Fredericksburg to Banks's Ford, and prepared to strike Hooker a crushing blow before night. A heavy rain storm came on, which suspended operations, and caused a postponement of the forward movement until the next morning.

Meanwhile Hooker had been busy in preparations to avoid or avert the blow. When, on Monday night, he was told of the situation of Sedgwick, then hovering on the bank of the Rappahannock, under the shelter of great guns, and utterly unable to co-operate with the main army, he determined to retreat across the river and save it. He conferred with five of his corps commanders' that night, when two of them (Couch and Sickles, whose forces, with Slocum's, had borne the brunt of the battle on Sunday) agreed with him, and one (Reynolds) did not express any opinion. Finding himself in accord with a majority of his active counselors, and with his chief of staff, General Butterfield, who was present, Hooker determined to retreat on the

following day, and made preparations accordingly. The storm

that restrained Lee favored Hooker, but it made the passage of the river a perilous task, for its banks were submerged at each end of his pontoon bridges, and the latter were in imminent danger of being swept away by the violent current at any moment. The passage, covered by Meade's corps, was safely made, however, without molestation, during the

night, and, on the morning of the 6th, the Army of the Potomac May.

returned to its old quarters opposite Fredericksburg. On the same day the Confederate army resumed its former position on the heights in the rear of the city. The losses of each had been heavy. That of the Confederates was reported twelve thousand two hundred and seventy-seven, including about two thousand prisoners, and that of the Nationals was

May 5.

1 Generals Meade, Reynolds, Howard, Couch, and Sickles. Slocum was not present, for the reason that the messenger who was sent failed to find him.

In his testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War (volume I., 1865, pages 134 and 135), General Hooker said that General Reynolds, being very weary, threw himself on a bed, saying that “ his opinion would be the same as General Meade's," and went to sleep; and that General Howard voted for an advance assigning as a reason that he felt that his corps (Eleventh), by its bad conduct, had placed the army in its perilous position, and that he "had to vote for an advance under any circumstances." General Meade was at first for an advance, because he did not believe a safe retreat across the river possible; but, according to the testimony of Generals Sickles and Howard (pages 135 and 136), he yielded his opinions to those of General Hooker, and acquiesced in his commander's decision. Couch and Sickles were decidedly in favor of a retreat. Howard was the only officer, at the close of the conference, who was decidedly in favor of an advance. The author of a history of the Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, has recorded an error into which he was led, in saying, concerning the conference, that a majority of the corps commanders present “ were in favor of an advance rather than a withdrawal," and giving as an inference, because the chief insisted on retreating, that “ Hooker had lost all stomach for fight."

3 Loe, in his report of the Battle of Chancellorsville (September 21, 1963), did not give an account of his

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seventeen thousand one hundred and ninety-seven, including about five thousand prisoners. The latter left behind their dead and wounded,' thirteen pieces of artillery, about twenty thousand small arms, seventeen colors, and a large quantity of ammunition. Among their notable slain were Generals Berry and Whipple. Thus ended, in defeat and disaster to the Nationals, after a struggle of several days, the BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE.

While Hooker and Lee were contending, a greater portion of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by General Stoneman, was raiding on the communications of the Army of Northern Virginia with Richmond. Stoneman crossed the Rappahannock“ with the main body at Kelly's Ford, and Averill (who had been ordered to

May 29, push on through Culpepper Court-House to Gordonsville, and keep the Confederates in that direction employed, while detachments from the main column were destroying the railways running north from Richmond) passed the river with one division at the crossing of the Orange and Alexandria railroad. He soon encountered some of W. II. F. Lee's brigade, almost the only mounted force the Confederates could then spare to oppose Stoneman's ten thousand, but he pressed forward through Culpepper to the Rapid Anna, and no further. He failed to protect the right of the main

, column, and was recalled. Stoneman weeded his army of weak materials, and, with his best men and horses, in light marching order, pressed forward Buford was sent out to the left, and, skirmishing frequently with small bodies of cavalry, reached the Rapid Anna on the night of the 30th, and encamped near Raccoon Ford. Stoneman marched cautiously on, crossed the Rapid Anna at the same ford, and the whole force reached a point on the Virginia Central railway, a mile from Louisa Court-House, at two o'clock on the morning of the 2d of May. Much of the railway in that vicinity was immediately destroyed, and at daylight Col

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Josses, and it is only from those of his subordinates, published with his report in 1864, that the number, above given, bas been ascertained. A Confederate surgeon at Richmond reported their loss, immediately after the battle, at 18,000 men; and in a congratulatory address to his troops, Hooker declared that they had “taken 5,000 prisoners, 15 colors, captured and brought away 7 pieces of artillery, and © May 6, placed hors de combat 18,000 of Lee's chosen troops." He also averred that they had inflicted 1863 "heavier blows than they had received." Lee, in a similar order, congratulated his troops on their ** glorious victory;" told them that they were entitled to the praise and gratitude of the Confederate * nation;" that they should return their “ grateful thanks to the only Giver of victory for the signal deliverance IIe had wrought, and appointed the following Sunday as a time for these united ascriptions of "glory due His name."

1 The latter were recovered a fow days afterward.

? The authorities from which this narrative of the Battle of Chancellorsville was drawn, are the reports of Generals Hooker and Lee, and their subordinate commanders; of the Committee on the Conduct of the war, volume I, 1865; history of The Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, by William Swinton; Chancellorg. ville, by Hotchkiss and Allan; and written and oral statements to the author by participants in the campaign.

As usual, in cases of disaster, there was much crimination and recriinination after the battle of Chancellorg. ville, and men were blamed without sufficient cause. Among those who suffered the penalties of displeasure, was Brigadier-General Joseph W. Revere, who had been in the service of his country, without reproach, as a sailor and soldier, for thirty years. He coinmanded a brigade of the second division of Sickles's corps, in the battle on Sunday, the 3d of May. In the hurly-burly of that fight he found himself in the position of commanding officer of his division, after the death of General Berry, and left to act in accordance with his own judgment, in the absence of orders from his superiors. That judgment led him to make a movement to another part of the field of action, where he thought he could be more useful. For this his corps commander relieved him from duty, and would not accept his offer to serve as a volunteer in any capacity. A week after the army recrossed the Rappahannock, he was tried by a court martial, found guilty of the charge of conduct to the prejudice of discipline and good order," and dismissed from the service. It is the opinion of experts, who have well weighed the clrcumstances and the testiinony before the court, that General Revere acted the part of a true patriot and brave soldier in doing that for which he was condemned; that he was unjustly accused and illegally punished.

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