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[364]

While awaiting the development of Burnside's local intentions and watching all the ways by which he might move toward Richmond, Lee sent D. H. Hill's division, of Jackson's corps, to watch the crossing of the Rappahannock, at Port Royal, below Fredericksburg, by which a highway led toward Richmond. Ewell's division, now commanded by Early, was encamped next above D. H. Hill, while the divisions of A. P. Hill and Taliaferro were placed near the railroad leading to Richmond, where they could readily move either to the aid of D. H. Hill or to that of Longstreet, as the exigencies of the occasion might demand. Jackson established himself in the vicinity of Guiney's station, near the divisions of A. P. Hill and Taliaferro, whence highways led to his divisions, those of Early and D. H. Hill, down the river, and to General Lee's headquarters, which were established on the old Telegraph road back from Fredericksburg. The mild weather that had prolonged the late autumn had given place to light snows, and the cold blasts from the North froze the ground and chilled Lee's veteran soldiery, who hovered around camp-fires in the dense forests, most of them without tents.

Burnside issued twelve-days' rations to his army, confidently expecting to make the next issue at Richmond, and on the morning of December 11th, in a dense fog that concealed his movements, his pontoon builders hastened to the bank of the Rappahannock, opposite Fredericksburg, to throw a bridge for the passage of Sumner's corps, and another, a short distance below, for the crossing of Franklin's corps, while 143 of his big guns, along a line more than three miles in length, gave fearful warning against any opposing movement from the side of the Confederates. Lee's two signal guns gave notice to his army of this Federal advance, and the men were hurried forward from their bivouacs to the rudely intrenched positions that had been chosen for them. Jackson's men were sent for, and A. P. Hill and Taliaferro were put in position, on Longstreet's right, on the morning of the 12th; but D. H. Hill. and Early remained near Port Royal until Burnside should more fully uncover his intentions.

Barksdale's brigade of Mississippians had been charged with the duty of defending the crossings of the Rappahannock in front of Fredericksburg, where that river is

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