A General who has but eight days provisions at hand, and these in the haversacks of his men, with a capricious river between him and his depots, and who has been obliged to leave behind most of his heavier guns, as well as his wagons, and is enveloped in a labyrinth of woods and thickets, traversed by narrow roads, and every foot of it familiar to his enemy, while a terra incognita even to his guides, has no warrant for talking in that strain. Never were a few “intelligent contrabands,” who had traversed those mazes by night as well as by day, more imperatively needed; yet he does not seem to have even seasonably sought their services; hence, his general order just recited, taken in connection with his pending experience, was destined to lend a mournful emphasis to the trite but sound old monition, “Never halloo till you are out of the woods.” The fords of the Rappahannock next above Fredericksburg had been watched by Gen. Anderson with three brigades, some 8,000 strong; but Hooker's dispositions were so skillfully made that he did not anticipate a crossing in force until it was too late to call on Lee for reenforcements; and he had no choice but to fall back rapidly before our advancing columns to Chancellorsville, where a fourth brigade joined him; but, being still too weak to make head against an army, he obliqued thence five miles toward Fredericksburg, at the point where the two roads from Chancellorsville become one. Here Lee soon appeared from Fredericksburg, with the divisions of McLaws and the rest, of Anderson's own. Jackson, with those of A. P. Hill and Rhodes (late D. H. Hill's), had been watching our demonstration under Sedgwick, below Fredericksburg; but, when Lee heard that Hooker had crossed in force above, he at once inferred that the movement below was a feint, and called Jackson away toward Chancellorsville, adding the division of Trimble to his command and impelling him on a movement against Hooker's extreme right; leaving only Early's division and Barksdale's brigade in front of Sedgwick on our remote left, and to hold the heights overlooking Fredericksburg, which he judged no longer likely to be assailed. Lee had been outgeneraled in the passage of the Rappahannock on his left, while he was watching for Hooker on his right; but he was not disconcerted. Leaving a very small force in his works on the Fredericksburg heights, he pushed his main body — at least 50,000 strong — down the Gordonsville plank and lateral roads to the point, half-way to Chancellorsville, where the old turnpike intersects the plank road; and was
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