previous next
[466] Thursday. He did not move out towards Fredericksburg until 11 A. M., Friday, thus wasting nearly a day. He had not proceeded over two miles when he met the advancing Confederates, who had marched ten miles to meet him since the night before. Lee's attack was vigorous, but Hooker knew well his adversary's inferiority in numbers, and without any fair trial of strength, he deliberately abandoned his aggressive movement, and with 70,000 men, fell back before less than 45,000. Much is said by General Hooker, and other Federal officers, of the unfavorable ground, covered as it was for the most part with dense woods, and of the difficulty of bringing troops into action in such a wilderness. The difficulty was, no doubt, great, but it was no greater for Federals than for Confederates; and yet, Lee and Jackson, in the next two days, attacked and defeated forces vastly superior to their own, in this very wilderness.

General Lee followed close upon the Federal retreat, and during the afternoon felt Hooker's lines in his front, to see if they presented any favorable point of attack. He found the Federal centre and left flank too strongly posted to invite assault, and on Friday night directed Jackson to move the next day around the Federal army, and attack its right flank and rear. Jackson began this manoeuvre in the early morning, taking some 26,000 infantry, while General Lee retained Anderson's and McLaw's divisions, amounting to 16,000 or 17,000 men, opposite Hooker's center and left wing. All day was consumed by Jackson in moving around the front of the Federal army, and in getting into position beyond and to the rear of its right flank. The distance was twelve or fifteen miles, and the route a narrow defile through a dense wilderness. Though conducted with all possible rapidity, secrecy and skill, this movement was discovered early in the day by Sickles, whose corps (Third) was next to Howards (Eleventh), the latter constituting the extreme Federal right flank. Soon after 8 A. M., Sickles was aware of the movement of a strong column across his front. At half-past 9 Hooker ordered Slocum and Howard to look well to the right flank, as the enemy was moving in that direction. Sickles was authorized to push two divisions of his corps to the front, and cut the Confederate column. He did so, captured part of a regiment, and knew with certainty, at 2 P. M., that Jackson, with a large force, was moving towards the right flank of the Federal army. He proposed to attack the rear of this force, and was supported by one of Slocum's divisions and a brigade from Howard, who was himself present. Sickles's movements were feeble in the extreme, for Jackson's rear, composed of a few batteries and two small brigades (subsequently replaced by two brigades

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Jackson (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Friday Jackson (5)
Hooker (5)
Sickles (4)
Fitzhugh Lee (4)
Slocum (2)
McHenry Howard (2)
McLaw (1)
Howards (1)
Robert H. Anderson (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: