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[565] the two divisions of Couch's corps, which had crossed at United States ford, determined to advance towards Fredericksburg with the purpose of driving his enemy away from Banks' ford, six miles below, in order to open a shorter and more direct communication with his left wing--in ignorance of the objections General Lee had to such a movement, because it interfered with his plan to keep the wings apart. The Fifth corps was ordered down the River road, the Twelfth down the Plank road, with the Eleventh in its rear. A division and battery of the Second corps was sent to Todd's tavern, on the Spotsylvania Courthouse road from Chancellorsville. The other divisions and batteries to be massed near Chancellorsville; the Third corps to be massed on United States Ford road, about one mile from Chancellorsville, except one brigade and one battery at Dowdall's, on Plank road, west of Chancellorsville; Pleasanton's cavalry to be at Chancellorsville, and Hooker's headquarters were ordered to be established at Tabernacle church — the movement to be completed by two o'clock. It was not completed. Indeed, as the head of the Twelfth corps, marching on the Plank road, emerged from the forest, they saw the Army of Northern Virginia advancing in line of battle. Then dropped, a little, Hooker's self-confidence.

He says, fearing that he could not throw his troops through the forest fast enough, and apprehensive of being whipped in detail, he ordered his army to retire to their lines around Chancellorsville. Changing at this point his “offensive strategy” to “defensive tactics” was fatal to him.

When Anderson met the enemy, Wright was ordered to turn his right with his brigade, and at Catherine furnace he had a sharp encounter with a portion of the Twelfth corps. Night stopped it, and at 10 P. M. Jackson ordered him back to the Plank road, along which Posey had, in the meantime, advanced to within a short distance of the enemy's entrenchments around Chancellorsville. McLaws had moved up the Old turnpike, Semmes' brigade on his left, and Mahone's, Wofford's and Perry's brigades of Anderson's division on his right, in the order named. Sykes' regulars were first met. They attacked Semmes, but were repulsed. Kershaw's brigade went to Semmes' support, but was not engaged. Wilcox, with his brigade, was ordered to the right, on Mine (or River) road, the cavalry having reported an advance there. Meade, it will be remembered, was on that road. McLaws continued to go forward, and halting at dark, bivouacked along the heights just beyond the

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Semmes (3)
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