ordered me at once to reinforce that part of my line and be ready to repel the attack.
I ordered the reinforcing column to the march and rode out rapidly in advance, that I might see precisely what was needed.
The threatening column proved to be General Fitz John Porter
After seeing it, I reported back to General Lee
that it was too light a column, in my opinion, to mean a real attack.
This presumption was correct, and the advance soon halted and then withdrew.
then recalled the question of an immediate attack upon the main position of the Federals
I was thoroughly convinced that the position was too strong to be taken without very severe loss, and I suggested to General Lee
that the attack be postponed, and that we make a forced reconnoissance just at nightfall, and that we could then prepare to attack at daylight, if it seemed advisable after thorough investigation to make the attack at all. He consented very readily to this, and I left him to prepare for the forced reconnoissance.
The reconnoissance was successfully made at nightfall.
During the night several of my brigadiers came in and they all agreed in reporting the position very strong.
At about midnight Generals
I-Hood and Evans
, and possibly one or two others, came to my headquarters and made similar reports, expressing apprehensions as to the result of the attack.
Everything developed by this closer reconnoissance went to confirm the impression made upon me by my reconnoissance during the day. I, therefore, determined not to make the attack, and ordered my troops back to the original line of battle.
The next day the Federals
advanced against General Jackson
in very heavy force.
They soon made the battle so severe for him that he was obliged to call for reinforcements.
At about three P. M., while the battle was raging fiercely, I was riding to my front, when I received a note from Generals Hood
, asking me to ride to a part of the field where they were standing.
I changed my course and hurried to the point indicated.
I found them standing upon a high piece of ground, from which they had full view of the battle made against Jackson We could see the solid masses of the Federals
forming for a charge against Jackson
's weakening lines.
They were gathered in immense force, and it seemed impossible that Jackson
's thin lines could withstand the onset.
The Federals moved forward steadily, surging on in solid blocks, headed directly for Jackson
Just then a courier arrived in great haste with orders from General Lee
for me to hurry to the assistance of Jackson
It was in the very crisis of the battle.
I had very serious.
doubts about being able to reach General Jackson
in time to be of