ch the troops were brought up affords a striking illustration of the then greenness of even the foremost officers of the army.
In place of making proper dispositions in a line of battle, General Hunter caused a feeble fusilade to be opened from the head of the column; and Colonel Burnside's Rhode Island regiments, thrown in alone, were speedily cut up. This wasted an hour.
To aid Burnside's hard-pressed command, the brigade of Colonel A. Porter was ordered up and deployed on his right, and Sykes' battalion of Regulars relieved him on the left.
A serious advance of this line soon began to press the handful of Confederates back; but Evans was speedily re-enforced by portions of the brigades of Colonels Bee and Barton, who were at hand near the Stone Bridge, and, by these united forces, a fresh stand was made on a position still west of Young's Branch.
But the increasing pressure of the Union line, strengthened now by the addition of portions of Heintzelman's division coming in on th
e approaches to the bridges which connected the right wing with the troops on the south side of the river.
The left (Morell's division) rested on a wooded bluff, which rose abruptly from a deep ravine leading down to the Chickahominy; the right (Sykes' division of Regulars) posted in woods and clearings, extended to the rear of Cold Harbor.
The ground, generally open in front, was bounded on the side of the Confederate approach by a wood with dense and tangled undergrowth and traversed by a Confederates on the south side held in check sixty thousand Union troops!
When, therefore, Lee, with all his divisions in hand, made a general advance, it was with an overwhelming weight and pressure.
The right wing was held by Sykes' division of Regulars and Griffin's brigade, and was subsequently re-enforced by Bartlett's brigade of Slocum's division. held its ground with much stubbornness, repulsing every attack.
The left, too, fought stoutly, but was at length broken by
of action on the right; and each in succession, while exacting heavy damage of the enemy, had been so punished as to lose all offensive energy; so that noon found them simply holding their own. Porter with his small reserve corps, numbering some fifteen thousand men, held the centre, while Burnside remained inactive on the left, not having yet passed the Antietam.
The left of Sumner's command was sustained by Pleasonton's cavalry division and the horse batteries, to whose support most of Sykes' division (Porter's corps) in the afternoon crossed the Antietam Now, between twelve and one o'clock, Franklin with two divisions of his corps, under Slocum and W. F. Smith (Couch remaining behind to occupy Maryland Heights), reached the field of battle, from where the action at Crampton's Pass had left him. General McClellan had designed retaining Franklin on the east side of the Antietam, to operate on either flank or on the centre, as circumstances might require.
But by the time he neare
ng any opposition.
The centre column, made up of the division of Sykes, supported by the division of Hancock, advanced on the turnpike, anirginia Infantry, which formed the enemy's advance.
Thereupon, General Sykes moved forward in double-quick time, attacked the opposing forcehus gained.
The ground on which I had posted Hancock in support of Sykes, was about one and a half miles from Chancellorsville, and commandeederates followed up with some show of force; but the retirement of Sykes, who had the centre, was an operation of more delicacy, for he had rlap both his flanks.
Hancock's division, however, had moved up to Sykes' support, and, under cover of his line, Sykes was retired, and thenSykes was retired, and then Hancock also withdrew, and the enemy followed up, skirmishing, closing, and firing artillery from the crest, which Sykes had been ordered toSykes had been ordered to abandon.
Hancock: Report of Chancellorsville.
The force that had been met in this series of simultaneous reconnoissances was the van
position two miles in rear of the town to cover the flank and communications.
The Fifth Corps (Sykes), when ordered forward, was at Union Mills, distant twenty-three miles; but by a night-march miger (which formed the left of the line) connecting with the left of the Second.
The Fifth Corps (Sykes) was held in reserve on the right.
Lee placed his troops along the Seminary Ridge, separated a march of thirty-five miles in twenty hours. On the arrival of Sedgwick, General Meade directed Sykes' corps (Fifth), that had been in reserve on the right, to move over and be in reserve on the lef wherewith to occupy this important point.
It happened at this pregnant moment that the head of Sykes' column, which had been ordered over to the left, reached this vicinity, and the leading divisiost his oncoming.
This was not an easy task, for the action, as it rolled on, had fully involved Sykes' corps on the left, and a large part of the Second Corps had been thrown in to aid the Third at
ell, will readily be understood in the light of the following rather amusing incident.
Stuart with the Confederate cavalry had the day previous met the head of French's column, and, being forced back, retired towards Catlett's Station.
But on Sykes' corps moving up the railroad, Stuart found himself corralled between the two main Union columns, and bivouacked within two miles of General Meade's headquarters and not more than four hundred yards from where Caldwell's division was encamped, se
When Hill, however, after moving eastward from New Baltimore, in the afternoon approached Bristoe, the whole army, with the exception of Warren's corps, had got beyond that point, and as the head of his column came up, the Fifth Corps, under General Sykes, had just crossed Broad Run.
On seeing this, Hill threw out a line of battle to attack the rear of that corps, when suddenly he found his attention called off by the apparition at that movement of Warren, who, after engaging Ewell at Auburn