order which should put his force in motion.
About 7 A. M. on the 13th an order came, but it was not at all the order expected.
It made no reference to the plans of the day before, but ordered Franklin
to ‘keep his whole command in position for a rapid movement down the old Richmond road.’
Then he was to ‘send out, at once, a division, at least, to seize, if possible, the height near Capt. Hamilton
's on this side of the Massaponax
, taking care to keep it well supported and its line of retreat open.’
The order went on to tell Franklin
was to be doing at the same time.
He was also to send ‘a division or more up the Plank
road to its intersection with the Telegraph
road, where they will divide with the view of seizing the heights on both of these roads.’
Then the order set forth what he hoped to accomplish.
‘Holding these two heights, he hopes will compel the enemy to evacuate the whole ridge between them.’
It is enough to say that this change from a single attack with full force upon our right, to two weak and isolated attacks on the right and left, lost the battle.
Being ordered to send ‘at least a division,’ Franklin
designated the 1st corps under Reynolds
for the attack upon the height at Hamilton's Crossing
's division was to lead, closely followed and supported by Gibbon
's was to protect the left flank of the advance, which was threatened by Stuart
would have also sent a portion of the 6th corps, but it had been placed in position for the attack first planned, and time would have been lost by a change.
The Confederate right flank was not well prepared to stand the coming shock in view of the long warning it had had. The fact was that Jackson
's troops had been in observation of the river below, and had only arrived upon the field on the 12th.
Previously this flank had been held only by Hood
's division, and during its stay, little probability of attack had been foreseen.
made but two works of preparation.
On the edge of the woods, overlooking the railroad, a trench had been dug long enough to hold a brigade and a half; and through the thick wood 500 yards in the rear, a road had been cleared, affording communication behind the general line which occupied the wooded hills.