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[301] Rapidan, converged near Chancellorsville, whence several roads led to the rear of our position at Fredericksburg. General Anderson proceeded to cover these roads on the 29th, but, learning that the enemy had crossed the Rapidan and was approaching in strong force, he retired early on the next morning to the intersection of the Mine and plank roads near Tabernacle Church, and began to entrench himself. His rear guard, as he left Chancellorsville, was attacked by cavalry, but, being vigorously repulsed, offered no further opposition to his march.

The enemy on our front near Fredericksburg continued inactive, and it was now apparent that the main attack would be made upon our flank and rear. It was therefore determined to leave sufficient troops to hold our lines, and with the main body of the army to give battle to the approaching column. Early's division of Jackson's corps and Barksdale's brigade of McLaws's division, with part of the reserve artillery under General Pendleton, were entrusted with the defense of our position at Fredericksburg, and at midnight on the 30th General McLaws marched with the rest of his command toward Chancellorsville. General Jackson followed at dawn next morning with the remaining divisions of his corps. He reached the position occupied by General Anderson at 8 A. M., and immediately began to make preparations to advance. At 11 A. M. the troops moved forward on the plank and old turnpike roads. The enemy was soon encountered on both roads, and heavy skirmishing with infantry and artillery ensued, our troops pressing steadily forward. A strong attack upon McLaws was repulsed with spirit by Semmes's brigade; General Wright, by direction of General Anderson, diverging to the left of the plank road, marched by way of the unfinished railroad from Fredericksburg to Gordonsville and turned the Federal right. His whole line thereupon retreated rapidly, vigorously pursued by our troops until they arrived within about one mile of Chancellorsville. Here the enemy had assumed a position of great natural strength, surrounded on all sides by a dense forest filled with a tangled undergrowth, in the midst of which breastworks of logs had been constructed with trees felled in front so as to form an almost impenetrable abatis. His artillery swept the few narrow roads by which his position could be approached from the front, and commanded the adjacent woods. The left of his line extended from Chancellorsville toward the Rappahannock, covering the Bank Mill Ford, where he communicated with the north bank of the river by a pontoon bridge. His right stretched westward along the Germania Ford road more than two miles. Darkness was approaching before the strength and extent of his line could be ascertained; as the nature of the

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McLaws (3)
R. H. Anderson (3)
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Raphael Semmes (1)
W. N. Pendleton (1)
T. J. Jackson (1)
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William Barksdale (1)
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