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draw from its position, take the bridges to the point of the river which had been uncovered by the flank movement, and the whole army was thus to be concentrated in the rear of Fredericksburg.
The execution of this plan was commenced on Monday, the 26th of April. Three corps d'armée-the Fifth, Eleventh, and Twelfth-were ordered to march up the river with eight days' rations to Kelly's ford, on the north bank of the Rappahannock, near the Orange and Alexandria railroad. This force, under the command of Gen. Slocum, of the Twelfth corps, reached the point at which it was to cross the Rappahannock on Tuesday night. On the same night three other corps--the First, Third, and Sixth-were sent to the mouth of Deep Run, three miles below Fredericksburg, to be ready to undertake the crossing simultaneously with the other corps at Kelly's ford on Wednesday morning, before day. The movement was successfully conducted at both points, and without serious opposition from the Confederates.
The Second corps, under Couch, which had remained at Banks' ford, four miles above the town, was moved up to the United States ford, just below the point of confluence of the Rappahannock and Rapidan, and crossed to join Gen. Slocum, who had crossed the Rappahannock several miles higher up at Kelly's ford, and the Rapidan at Germania Mills and Ely's ford, and marched down to Chancellorsville. These movements occupied Wednesday and Thursday. Hooker now assumed command of the right wing of his army. He took his position across the plank-road and turnpike at Chancellorsville, eleven miles from Fredericksburg, in order to cut off our anticipated retreat in the direction of Gordonsville, and strengthened his naturally formidable position by a series of elaborate abatis and field-works.
The North eagerly seized upon the different circumstances of the existing situation as indicative of victory. Gen. Hooker had made himself conspicuous in the eyes of the Yankees. He was confident, when examined before the Congressional Committee on the conduct of the war, that he could have marched into Richmond at any time at his ease had he been at the head of the Army of the Potomac instead of Gen McClellan; and if he had had command instead of Burnside
he would have achieved wonders. He had recently stated that the army he led was the finest on the planet,” “an army of veterans," as the Tribune remarked, “superior to that of the Peninsula ;” and so large was it that Northern journals asserted that Hooker had more troops than he knew what to do with. Nor was this all. He was allowed by Lee to cross the Rappahannock, without opposition and without loss, and to secure a position deemed impregnable—one which, according to the order he issued on Thursday the 30th of April, had rendered it necessary that “the enemy must either ingloriously fly, or come out from behind his defences and give us (the Yankee army) battle on our own ground, where certain destruction waits him."
In the mean time, Gen. Lee was not slow to meet the dispositions of his adversary. The enemy continued to pour across the river at Deep Run, until three entire corps, numbering between fifty and sixty thousand men under Gen. Sedgwick, had crossed to the south side. Lee calmly watched this movement, as well as the one higher up the river under Hooker, until he had penetrated the enemy's design, and seen the necessity of making a rapid division of his own forces, to confront him on two different fields, and risking the result of fighting him in detail.
About noon on Wednesday, the 29th, information was received that the enemy had crossed the Rappahanpock in force at Kelly's and Ellis' fords above, and were passing forward tuwards Germania Mills and Ely's ford on the Rapidan. Two brigades of Anderson's division, Posey's Mississippians, and Mahone's Virginians, numbering about 8,000 men, and one battery of four guns, were, and had been for several weeks, stationed in the neighborhood of Ely's ford on the Rapidan, and United States ford on the Rappahannock, guarding the approaches to Fredericksburg in that direction. It was appa rent that this small force would be entirely inadequate to arrest the approach of Hooker's heavy column, and Wright's brigade was ordered up to their support. At daylight on Thursday morning, the head of Wright's brigade reached Chancellorsville, at which point Posey and Mahone had concentrated their forces with a view of making a stand. Major. gen. Anderson having also arrived in the latter part of the night, and having obtained further information of the number of the Yankee forces, upon consultation with his brigade commanders, determined to fall back from Chancellorsville in the direction of Fredericksburg, five miles, to a point where the Old Mine road, leading from the United States ford, crosses the Orange and Fredericksburg turnpike and plank-road. The turnpike and plank-road were parallel to each other from Chancellorsville to the point where the Old Mine road crosses them, and from there to Fredericksburg they make one road.
Chancellorsville is eleven miles above Fredericksburg, and about four miles south of the point of confluence of the Rapidan with the Rappahannock, and consists of a large two-story brick house, formerly kept as a tavern, and a few out-houses. It is situated on the plank-road leading from Fredericksburg to Orange Court-house, and is easily approached by roads leading from Germania Mills, and Ely's, United States, and Banks' fords. Between Chancellorsville and the river and above lies the Wilderness, a district of country formerly covered with a scrubby black-jack, oaks, and a thick, tangled under-growth, but now somewhat cleared up.
The ground around Chancellorsville is heavily timbered, and favorable for defence. Seven miles from Chancellorsville, on the road to Fredericksburg, and four miles from the latter place, is Salem Church.
During the night of Thursday, Gen. Lee ordered Jackson to march from his camp below Fredericksburg, with A. P. Hill's and Rhodes' (formerly D. H. Hill's) division, to the relief of Anderson. Gen. Lee brought up the divisions of Anderson and McLaws. He occupied the attention of the enemy in front, while Gen. Jackson, with the divisions of Hill, Rhodes, and Trimble, moved by the road that leads from the Mine road, behind the line-ot-battle, to the road that leads to Ger mana ford. This movement of General Jackson occupied nearly the whole of Saturday, May 2d, so that he did not get into position at the Wilderness Church until near sunset
While Jackson was gaining the enemy's rear, McLaws and Anderson had successfully maintained their position in front. Hooker had been felicitating himself upon his supposed good fortune in gaining our rear. What must have been his sürprise, then, to find Stonewall Jackson on his extreme right and rear. Jackson's assault was sudden and furious. In a short time he threw Siegel's corps (the 11th) of Dutchmen into a perfect pauic, and was driving the whole right wing of the Yankee army fiercely down upon Anderson's and McLaw's sturdy veterans, who, in turn, hurled them back, and rendered futile their efforts to break through our lower lines, and made it necessary for them to give back towards the river.
There was an intermission of about one hour in the firing from three until nine o'clock. It was at this time that Jackson received his death wound from his own men, who mistook bim for the enemy. Gen. Hill, upon whom the command now devolved, was soon afterwards wounded also, when Gen. Rhodes assumed command until Gen. Stuart could arrive upon that part of the field. Stewart renewed the fight at nine o'clock, night as it was, in accordance with Gen. Jackson's original plan, and did not withhold his blows until the enemy's right had been doubled in on his centre in and around Chancellorsville.
At daylight Sunday morning, our army, which now sur rounded the enemy on all sides except towards the river, commenced advancing and closing in upon hin from all points. The enemy had dug rifle-pits and cut abatis in front and along his whole line, while his artillery, well protected by earth: works, covered every eminence and swell of rising ground, so as to get a direct and enfilading fire upon our advancing columns. But on our gallant men moved, their ranks played upon by an incessant fire of shell, grape, and canister, from the front, the right, and left. On they pressed through the wood, over the fields, up the hills, into the very mouths of the enemy's guns and the long line of rifle-pits. With a terrible shout they sprang forward, and rushing through the tangled abatis, they gained the bank in front of the rifle-pits, when the fue gave way in great confusion and fled.
An extraordinary victory appeared to be in our grasp. The capture or destruction of Hooker's arıny now appeared certain.
Gen. Lee, finding the enemy still in force towards the river, ordered the army to forin on the plank-road above Chancellorsville, extending his line in a southeasterly direction down the turnpike below Chancellorsville, with his centre resting about
the latter point. Just then, news was received that Sedgwick, taking advantage of our weakness, had crossed the river at Fredericksburg, driven Barksdale from the town, and occupied Marye's hill, after capturing several pieces of the Washington Artillery. It was also stated that Sedgwick was advancing up the plank-road upon Lee's rear. This movement of the enemy was all that saved Hooker from destruction.
The story of the reverse at Fredericksburg is easily told. Our forces in defence of the line, commencing at Marye's hill and terminating at Hamilton's crossing, consisted of Gen. Barksdale's brigade and Gen. Early's division. Gen. Barksdale held the extreme left. His line had its beginning at a point two hundred yards north of Marye's heights, and extended a mile and a half to a point opposite the pontoon bridge on the left of Mansfield. This brigade, on the morning of the battle, did not exceed two thousand in numbers, rank and file, and throughout the entire length of its line had no other support than six pieces of the Washington Artillery, which were posted on Marye's heights, and Read's battery, which was placed in position on the hill to the left of Howison's house.
Against this position the enemy brought to bear the command of Gibbins on the left flank, and about twenty thousand of Sedgwick's corps. The first assault was made in front of the stone wall, as in the case of last December, and was sig nally repulsed. This was repeated three times, and on each occasion the handful of men behind the wall, with shouts of enthusiasm and deadly volleys, drove back the assailants. The first charge was made before sunrise, and the others in as rapid succession as was possible after rallying and reinforcement. About nine o'clock in the morning the enemy adopted the ruse of requesting a flag of truce, for the alleged purpose of carrying off the wounded, but for the real object of ascertaining our force. The flag was granted, and thereby our insufficient defence was exposed, the bearer coming up on the left flank from a direction whence our whole line was visible. Immediately after the conclusion of the truce, the enemy reinforced their front, and threw the whole of Gibbins' division on our left, defended by the 21st Mississippi regiment alone, commanded by Col. B. J. Humphreys. This regiment faced the advancing Lost without quailing, and, after firing until but a few feet in