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[340] been an error to make such a diversion, for the attack would have met an overwhelming force. Its only hope of success was to reunite with Lee at Chancellorsville with the least delay. Meanwhile, partaking of the impatience of Jackson, his chief of artillery, Col. Crutchfield, pushed some guns forward on the Plank road, and opened a random fire down it toward Chancellorsville, now less than a mile away.

It was an unwise move, for it provoked a terrific response from the 34 guns now in position upon Fairview plateau. The Plank road was now crowded with troops and artillery in column, and the woods near it were full of the reorganizing brigades. Under such a fire, even in the dim light of the rising moon, great confusion soon resulted, and although actual casualities were few, it became necessary to discontinue our fire before order could be restored and the formation of the line of battle be resumed.

Lane's N. C. brigade was at the head of Hill's division. One regiment, the 33d, was deployed and sent some 200 yards ahead as skirmishers, and the other four formed line of battle with the centre on the Plank road in the following order from left to right: 28th, 18th, 37th, 7th. The Bullock road here diverged to the left, toward United States Ford, but the enemy was evidently close in front, and Jackson said to Lane, ‘Push right ahead, Lane. Right ahead.’

While the formation was still in progress, Jackson, followed by several staff-officers and couriers, rode slowly forward upon an old road, called the Mountain road, which left the Bullock to its left near the Plank road, and ran parallel to the latter, about 80 yards distant, toward Chancellorsville.1

Up this road the party advanced for 100 or 200 yards, but not passing the 33d N. C. skirmish-line. They then halted and listened for a while to the axes of the Federals, cutting abattis in the forest ahead. Beyond the Plank road, the Federal troops who had been off with Sickles were now returning, and were slowly working their way to reoccupy some breastworks which

1 Most accounts have stated that this ride was along the Plank road, but careful investigation by Col. Hamlin, and the testimony of the most competent living witnesses, make it clear that this ride, and the shooting of Jackson, both took place in the Mountain road, which is now almost obliterated by the forest.

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Stonewall Jackson (4)
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