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[308]

Some delay occurred in getting the troops into position, owing to the broken and irregular nature of the ground, and the difficulty of ascertaining the disposition of the opposing forces. The attack did not begin until 6 P. M., when the enemy's troops were rapidly driven across the plank road in the direction of the Rappahannock. The speedy approach of darkness prevented General McLaws from perceiving the success of the attack, until the foe began to recross the river a short distance below Banks's Ford, where he had laid one of his pontoon bridges. His right brigades advanced through the woods in the direction of the firing, but the retreat was so rapid that they could join only in the pursuit. A dense fog settled over the field, increasing the obscurity and rendering great caution necessary to avoid collision between our own troops. Their movements were consequently slow. The next morning it was found that the enemy had made good his escape and removed his bridges. Fredericksburg was evacuated, and our rear no longer threatened. But, as General Hooker had it in his power to recross, it was deemed best to leave a force to hold our lines as before. McLaws and Anderson being directed to return to Chancellorsville, they reached their destination during the afternoon, in the midst of a violent storm which continued throughout the night and most of the following day. Preparations were made to assail the enemy's works at daylight on the 6th, but, on advancing our skirmishers, it was found that, under cover of the storm and darkness of the night, he had retreated over the river. A detachment was left to guard the battlefield, while the wounded were removed and the captured property collected. The rest of the army returned to its former position.

The loss of the enemy, according to his own statement, was 1,512 killed and 9,518 wounded; total, 11,030. His dead and a large number of wounded were left on the field. About 5,000 prisoners, exclusive of the wounded, were taken, and 13 pieces of artillery, 19,500 stand of arms, 17 colors, and a large quantity of ammunition fell into our hands.

Our loss was much less in killed and wounded than that of the enemy, but of the number was one, a host in himself, Lieutenant General Jackson, who was wounded, and died on May 10th. Of this great captain, General Lee, in his anguish at his death, justly said, ‘I have lost my right arm,’ As an executive officer he had no superior, and war has seldom shown an equal. Too devoted to the cause he served to have any personal motive, he shared the toils, privations, and dangers of his troops when in chief command; in subordinate position his aim was to understand the purpose of his commander and faithfully to promote its success. He was the complement of Lee; united, they had achieved such results that

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