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[571] General Lee's centre? While the Commanding-General is thus situated — a condition which has Early's sincere sympathy, being in a similar situation in Sedgwick's front at Fredericksburg — let us follow Jackson. Turning to the left upon the Plank road, near Aldrich's, he moved rapidly diagonally across Hooker's line of battle, screened from view by the forest and by Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, which had been ordered to mask the movement, as well as to precede it. Birney of Sickles' corps, who with his division was wedged in between Howard's left and Slocum's right, on the crest of Scott's run as early as 8 A. M., reported to Sickles that a continuous column of infantry, trains and ambulances was passing his front towards the right. He ordered Clark's battery to go forward to a commanding eminence and fire into the column. At 12 M. Sickles ordered him to move forward, supported by Whipple's division and Barlow's brigade from Howard, pierce the column and gain the road they were moving over. This movement was reported to Hooker; he thought the Confederate army was in full retreat, and this is the explanation of his dispatch to Sedgwick on that day, ordering him to pursue the enemy on the Bowling Green road. It is dated at 4.10 P. M., and said: “We know the enemy is flying, trying to save his trains; two of Sickles' divisions are amongst them.” Jackson, upon passing Catherine furnace, where a road came in from Sickles' line, a mile distant, directed Rodes to leave Colonel Best's Twenty-third Georgia regiment there to guard it. It was these troops Sickles reports as having attacked and captured four hundred of them. Pleasanton was with Sickles, in command of the Sixth New York, Eighth and Seventeenth Pennsylvania cavalry. Colonel J. Thompson Brown, who had just passed this point with his battalion of artillery, halted, and at once put his guns in position. The two nearest brigades of Jackson's column — Arcber's and Thomas' of Hill's division — supported him, and Sickles' advance was checked. They then renewed their march — Anderson having replaced them by Posey's brigade, supported by Wright's. Sickles, however, gained the road Jackson was marching upon, and was promised the cooperation of Howard and Slocum in pursuing the flying Confederates.

Jackson was marching on. My cavalry was well in his front. Upon reaching the Plank road, some five miles west of Chancellorsville, my command was halted, and while waiting for Jackson to come up, I made a personal reconnoissance to locate

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