previous next
[467] from Anderson'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, Sickles, Hooker 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. Thus Hooker despatches Sedgwick 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. Though Jackson'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. Colonel Dodge says he “lost 1,600 out of 4,000 men, and nearly all his superior officers, in a brief ten minutes.” Schutz's division is next overwhelmed, and adds to the fearful panic. Bushbeck'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 army. Colonel Dodge 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. Hooker 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.

Sickles 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. Berry's division is fortunately near Chancellorsville, and is rapidly sent

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) (2)
Devonshire (United Kingdom) (1)
Chancellorsville (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.
McHenry Howard (8)
Hooker (6)
Sickles (4)
Theodore A. Dodge (2)
Steinwher (1)
Sedgwick (1)
Schutz (1)
Pleasanton (1)
Fitzhugh Lee (1)
Friday Jackson (1)
Bushbeck (1)
Berry (1)
Tuesday Anderson (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: