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‘  had been its discipline that some eighty-five thousand officers and men appeared on the rolls . . . as absent without leave.’1 One hundred and fifty regiments were thoroughly inspected, and on March 3, 1863, the result of this inspection was announced. Eleven regiments were commended and were rewarded by special privileges in the way of furloughs,—three from Massachusetts (the 1st, 2d and 20th), two each from Maine and New York, and one each from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Fourteen batteries were similarly commended, of which two were from Massachusetts, the 1st (McCartney's) and the 3d (Martin's). On the other hand, twenty-five regiments were reproved and punished by cessation of all furloughs; of these, fifteen were from New York, eight from Pennsylvania and one each from Indiana and Massachusetts.2 Eleven batteries were also reproved, not one of which was from Massachusetts. Within four months Hooker had under his command nearly one hundred and twenty thousand men,3 whom he himself designated as ‘the finest army on this planet.’ His first step was a brilliant one, soon to be followed by defeat and disappointment. On April 29 and 30 an army of fifty thousand men, each bearing sixty pounds of baggage, marched twenty-seven miles, crossed two streams guarded by an enemy, and took up a strong position at Chancellorsville, Va. So sure was Hooker of his position that he announced in an official order (April 30), ‘The enemy must either ingloriously fly or come out from behind his defences and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him.’4 But the superior generalship of Lee and the westerly flank movement under Jackson reversed the condition, and an utter surprise brought on a complete defeat. On May 5 the Union army recrossed the river, having lost in killed, wounded and missing more than seventeen thousand men,5 of whom more than seven hundred were from Massachusetts regiments.
1 Dodge's Bird's Eye View, p. 127. Halleck wrote Hooker, March 5, 1863, that 9,692 officers (of the whole army) were absent from their commands. (Official War Records, 39, p. 123.) The result of Hooker's inspection was announced in G. O. 18, Army of the Potomac, March 3, 1863. The Order itself may be found in Official War Records, 39, p. 119. Compare Cudworth's 1st Regiment Mass. Infantry, p. 348.
2 It is to be observed that the regiment thus censured, while occupying on May 3 a breastwork peculiarly exposed, declined the offer of the brigade commander to be relieved and placed in reserve, the lieutenant-colonel commanding saying that ‘the regiment preferred to remain in front.’ (Official War Records, 39, p. 518.)
4 Official War Records, 39, p. 171.
5 17,287. (Official War Records, 39, p. 192.)
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