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[61]

Battery at “action front.” The pictures of the battery at ‘action front’ and of the Germanna Plank Road as seen from the hill near the Lacy house, recall vividly the two notable events of Chancellorsville that form the theme of Lathrop's poem. On May 2, 1863, ‘Stonewall’ Jackson had marched around the right flank of the Union army and late in the afternoon had fallen with terrific force upon Howard's (Eleventh) Corps, driving it along in confusion. Pleasonton had started out at four o'clock to pursue the Confederate wagon-train, since Jackson was supposed to be in retreat for Gordonsville, but about six he discovered that his force was needed to repel an attack. His official report runs:
I immediately ordered the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry to proceed at a gallop, attack the rebels, and check the attack at any cost until we could get ready for them. This service was splendidly performed, but with heavy loss, and I gained some fifteen minutes to bring Martin's battery into position facing the woods, to reverse a battery of your corps, to detach some cavalry to stop runaways, and to secure more guns from our retreating forces. . . . Time was what we most wanted. Fortunately, I succeeded, before the advancing columns of the enemy came in sight, in placing twenty-two pieces of artillery in position, double-shotted with canister, and bearing on the direction the rebels were pursuing. To support this force, I had two small squadrons of cavalry, ready to charge upon any attempt made to take the guns. My position was upon the extreme left of the line of the Eleventh Corps, and as it recoiled from the fierce onset of the rebels through and over my guns, it was soon apparent we must meet the shock. In rear of the Eleventh Corps the rebels came on rapidly, but now in silence. . . . I ordered all the guns to fire as they were advancing. This terrible discharge staggered them and threw the heads of their columns back on the woods, from which they opened a tremendous fire of musketry, bringing up fresh forces constantly, and striving to advance as fast as they we were swept back by our guns.

In another place he adds:
Suspecting that they might play the trick of having their men lie down, draw the fire of artillery, then jump up and charge before the pieces could be reloaded, I poured in the canister for about twenty minutes, and the affair was over.

 

The Germanna Plank road in 1864 ‘Where ‘Stonewall's’ Corps, like a beast of prey tore through with angry tusk’

 

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