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[593] upon the Rappanannock on the left. The river was the base of the triangle — the foot between Slocum and United States Ford, about a mile and a half. The other side of the triangle was formed by the First and Fifth corps. The Second and Third were accumulated at the angle, which was cleared ground about a two-storied white house near which were Hooker's headquarters, upon the Ely's Ford road not far from where the United States Ford road (along which lay the First corps) forms a junction with it. Here was a strong position for artillery, and it was undoubtedly the key to the position of the army as now located. This was the position Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday night a council of war was held at General Hooker's headquarters. It was decided to withdraw the Army Tuesday night. I shall be allowed to say that this decision was certainly not unanimous. On Monday and Tuesday the line of the Eleventh corps was several times tried, but they held their position behind the strong defences which had been constructed of logs and earth, and easily repelled every attempt of the enemy in that quarter. General Howard was several times a target for rebel sharp-shooters, as he would not go out of sight of his front line. The horse of his Adjutant-General was shot under him as he rode by the side of the General on Tuesday.

On taking this line on the left General Howard obtained by request of General Couch the Sixty-fourth New-York regiment-one of those which followed him at Fair Oaks-and posted it in the rear of Gilsa's brigade, which was the first to break the Saturday before, with instructions to shoot every man who ran back. The Sixty-fourth greeted the General with a cheer, and he knew that they would not only obey orders, but would never leave their position.

On Tuesday evening at eight o'clock the army was to begin the crossing; but the storm carried away the bridges, and it was three A. M. before the Eleventh corps started. The Eleventh was the last to leave its position. The Fifth was drawn up at the bridge-head, to repel any attack while the other troops were crossing. A kind Providence prevented any disaster. In fact,it is thought that the rebels retreated the same night. I will not here discuss the wisdom of these proceedings. I trust we shall soon be in motion again, and toward the rebel army, and that the Eleventh corps will have an early opportunity to win a more desirable reputation than it now has — and this I confidently expect.

Boston Journal account.

Washington, May 7, 1863.
Elated and depressed. Cheered and chagrined. Exultant and desponding. The rebels were between two fires. Hooker had them just where he wanted them. They could not retreat. They would be annihilated. The Rebellion was nearly at an end. Such was the talk — the feeling. All is now changed. The army is back in its camp. The victory that was to be is not.

It will be my endeavor to present a condensed review of the two armies, commencing with last Saturday, sifting, with what ability I may have, the true from the false, using official information.

Saturday Morning.--The single house which makes Chancellorsville is at a crossing of roads at the intersection of the Gordonsville plank-road and the old Orange county turnpike. Standing on the piazza and looking south, you look directly down the old turnpike road to Scott's Run. As you face south, the Rappahannock is at your back. It is five miles to United States Ford. In front of the house and west of it, along the plank-road, is a small field; all the rest is woods. In this field is an immense train of artillery, ammunition-wagons, cavalry, ambulances, supplies, hospitals, and troops. Here are General Hooker's headquarters — the grand centre of a hundred thousand men — the brain which thinks for them all.

Go out two miles west on the plank-road, past Dowdall's tavern, and you come to the Eleventh army corps, commanded by Howard, mostly German troops. Howard has had them but a few days — knows but little of them, and they but little of him — but there is sterling merit in both troops and commander.

His position is intrenched toward the south. It is in the woods, and the great trees are felled, rolled up as a backwoodsman builds a logfence. Nearer to the house, on the morning of Saturday, stood the Third corps, General Sickles; but in the afternoon a portion of it advanced, directly south, nearly five miles. Berry and Whipple, with their divisions of this corps, remain. Birney, with Berdan's sharp-shooters from Whipple's division, also go south.

Right at the house, and east of it, is the Twelfth corps, Slocum's. Williams's division of this corps joins Birney and Berdan, the whole under Sickles.

East of Slocum's is the Fifth corps, Meade's. Behind Slocum and Meade is the Second corps, Couch, holding the left, that the enemy may not make a grand rush and secure the pontoons at United States Ford.

The hour is Saturday afternoon--almost night. The First corps, Reynolds, is just crossing the river at the ford. He turns his column west, and is four miles in rear of Howard. A diagram will present the position thus to the eye: [For diagram, see page 594.--Ed.]

Howard has advanced from his morning position, and is pretty well out toward Sickles. Instead of being two miles west of the Chancellor House, he is three miles south-west.

All through Friday night Howard has heard a confused sound south and west of him, in the woods; the rattle of wagons, the clatter of axes, men's voices, the low words of a multitude. Two days ago the entire rebel army was ten miles east, but now it is passing west. There are guesses that Lee is retreating to Gordonsville.

It is like breaking a walking-stick by striking

1 One of General Howard's Staff.

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H. M. Howard (8)
William Slocum (4)
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