very strong, as we had learned to our cost; but it might be turned, as Hooker
proceeded to show.
His army was still encamped at Falmouth
, opposite Fredericksburg
The 11th (Howard
's) and 12th (Slocum
's) corps moved up the river, but carefully avoiding observation from the hostile bank, so far as Kelly's ford
; crossing there the Rappahannock
that night and next morning — the men wading up to their armpits — and the Rapidan
at Germania Mills, next day, moving thence rapidly on Chancellorsville
The 5th (Meade
's) corps followed; crossing the Rapidan
at Ely's ford, lower down.
Meantime, the 2d (Couch
's) corps approached, so nearly as it might unobserved, to both the United States
's fords, ready to cross when these should be flanked by the advance of the 11th, 12th, and 5th behind these fords to Chancellorsville
Resistance had been expected here; but none was encountered, as none worth mentioning had been above; and Couch
crossed his corps1
at the United States
ford on pontoons, without the loss of a man. Gen. Hooker
, at Morrisville
, superintended the movement; following himself to Chancellorsville
,where he established his headquarters that night.
This important movement had been skillfully masked by a feint of crossing below Fredericksburg
; the 6th (Sedgwick
's) corps laying pontoons and actually crossing at Franklin
's, two or three miles below; the 1st (Reynolds
's) at Pollock's Mill, still lower; the 3d (Sickles
's) supporting either or both.
was in chief command on this wing.
The bridges were ready by daylight of the 29th; and, before daylight, Brooks
's division had crossed in boats and driven off the Rebel
pickets; while Gen. Wadsworth
in like manner led the advance of Reynolds
's division; when three pontoon bridges were laid in front of Sedgwick
, and every thing made ready for crossing in force.
's (3d) corps was ordered to move2
silently, rapidly to the United States
ford, and thence to Chancellorsville
, while part of the pontoons were taken up and sent to Banks's ford; Reynolds
, after making as great a display as possible, and exchanging some long shots with the Rebels
in his front, following, May 2d; raising Hooker
's force at and near Chancellorsville
to 70,000 men.
, on the other side of the Rebel
army, had his own corps, 22,000 strong; while Gen. Gibbon
's division of the 2d corps, 6,000 strong, which had been left in its camp at Falmouth
to guard our stores and guns from a Rebel raid, was subject to his order; raising his force to nearly 30,000.
Thus far, Gen. Hooker
's success had been signal and deserved.
His movements had been so skillfully masked that Lee
was completely deceived; and the passage of the Rappahannock
had been effected, both above and below him, and all its fords seized, without any loss whatever.
Never did a General feel more sanguine of achieving not merely a great but a crushing victory.
“I have Lee
's army in one hand and Richmond
in the other,” was his exulting remark to those around him as he rode up to the single but capacious brick house — at once mansion and tavern — that then, with its appendages, constituted Chancellorsville