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Chapter 9:

  • Marye's Hill
  • -- Salem Heights -- Sunday and Monday, 3d and 4th of May, 1863 -- return to White Oak Church -- Third crossing of the Rappahannock

Thus light-weighted, on the 28th of April, 1863, the Sixth Corps, now commanded by Gen. Sedgwick, was once more in column, moving toward the river, creeping through woods, through ravines, behind ridges, to conceal the march from the Confederates. The progress was not rapid. Evidently, it was not designed to bring the corps in sight of the enemy this afternoon, for at night the corps had been moved forward a couple of miles by a circuitous route, and lay in quite compact order, hidden from the observation of those on the south bank. It appears that the First and Third Corps were in motion on the left of the army, at this time, with us; Hooker had discarded the grand division organization. On the 29th, a division of the Sixth Corps was was thrown over the river, nearly at the point of crossing in December, and a division of the First, two miles lower down. Little opposition was made at Franklin's Crossing, there being a heavy fog, but down the river the sharpshooters in the rifle-pits were very troublesome, and it was necessary to bring several batteries to bear upon them before the pontoons could be placed. The remaining divisions of the First and Sixth Corps, and all of the Third Corps, remained upon the north side.

The Confederate lines extended twenty miles below Fredericksburg. Our movement had the effect of hurrying their troops from Port Royal and the vicinity. As the other Federal corps had moved up the river, northwest of the town, it was at this moment doubtful to Gen. Lee where the attack was to be made. He seems, however, to have deemed it necessary on the 30th to bring the major portion of his army to bear against the force which he learned was crossing the Rappahannock and Rapidan, at different points above Fredericksburg; one result of this determination of

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