own 40,000 men, was reenforced, the night before, by two divisions (Kearny
's and Hooker
's own) from Hooker
, raising his command nearly to 55,000.
At least half our entire force across the river was thus with Franklin
on the left, where the main attack manifestly should have been made, and where Burnside
appears to have purposed that it should have been made.
But it was after 7 A. M. of the fatal day when Franklin
received his orders; which, if they were intended to direct a determined attack in full force, were certainly very blindly and vaguely worded,1
whereas, a military order should be as precise and clear as language will allow, and as positive as the circumstances will warrant.
it is very certain that a Massena or a Blucher could have found warrant in that order for attacking at once with his entire corps, leaving Hooker
's men to defend the bridges and act as a reserve; but, if hot work is wanted of a Franklin, it should be required and prescribed in terms more peremptory and less equivocal.
He asserts that he expected and awaited further orders, which he never in terms received; at least, not till it was too late to obey them with any hope of success.
's grand division consisted of the two corps of Reynolds
(16,000) and W. F. Smith
(21,000), with cavalry under Bayard
, raising it nearly or quite to 40,000.
At 9 A. M., Reynolds
advanced on the left; Meade
's division, in front, being immediately assailed by Rebel batteries (J. E. B. Stuart
's) on his left flank, which compelled him to halt and silence them.
At 11 A. M., he pushed on, fighting; while one of Hooker
's divisions in reserve was brought across, and Birney
's and Gibbon
's divisions were moved up to his support.
's corps being thus all in line of battle, Meade
again gallantly advanced into the woods in his front; grappling, at 1, in fierce encounter, with A. P. Hill
's corps, crushing back the brigades of Archer
, and, forcing his way in between them, took some 200 prisoners. Here, in attempting to rally Orr
's rifles, which had been disorganized, fell Brig.-Gen. Maxcy Gregg
But the enemy rallied all their forces; Early
's division, composed of Lawton
's, and his own brigades, which, with D. H. Hill
's corps, had arrived that morning from Port Royal
, after a severe night-march, and been posted behind A. P. Hill
, rushed to the front; and Meade
's division, lacking prompt support,