's division) was sufficient to keep this large force in check; and the only result of the whole day's manoeuvring, to the Federals
was, that Sickles
was out of supporting distance of Howard
when the Eleventh corps was attacked at 6 P. M. Howard
himself, became possessed with the notion that Lee
was retreating, and irrational as this supposition was, seem to have acted upon no other during the afternoon.
at 4 P. M.: “We know the enemy is flying, trying to save his trains; two of Sickles
's divisions are among them.”
Two hours later Jackson
attacks the Federal
right, under Howard
, with his usual impetuosity.
's movement had, for ten hours, been known to the Federal
commander; though constant skirmishing had indicated the general direction of his march; though Hooker
had warned Howard
early in the day to be on his guard from a possible flank attack; though pickets and scouts had informed Howard
in the middle of the afternoon that the Confederates
were in force on the Orange Plank-road, entirely on his flank, yet, at 6 P. M., in broad daylight, Howard
is completely surprised, his lines taken in flank and rear, while his men are for the most part at supper, with arms stacked.
The first division met with (Devon
's) is quickly routed.
says he “lost 1,600 out of 4,000 men, and nearly all his superior officers, in a brief ten minutes.”
's division is next overwhelmed, and adds to the fearful panic.
's brigade, of Steinwher
's division, attempts to stay the rout, but is soon carried away.
In an hour Howard
's 10,000 men have been scattered in disgraceful flight, and without the semblance of organization, are carrying dismay in every direction through the Federal
seems to think that Hooker
was chiefly responsible for this disaster, and but mildly blames Howard
Surely history affords few instances of greater incapacity on the part of a corps commander.
has enough to bear without being held responsible for the surprise and dispersion of a body of 10,000 men, whose commander, though entrusted with the protection of the right flank of the army (in a wilderness where attack was so difficult and defense so easy that Hooker
was unwilling the day before to move to the attack against half his numbers), though warned of the danger, though aware of the movement of the enemy, allows himself, in broad day, to be so completely surprised as to be beaten before he can form a line of battle.
is quickly recalled from his fancied attack on Jackson
's rear, to protect his own, and Pleasanton
makes a brilliant dash of cavalry, and quickly concentrates a mass of artillery on the Confederates
's division is fortunately near Chancellorsville
, and is rapidly sent