, where Lee
's two wings opened like great jaws of death to meet an advancing foe; but Marye
's heights, on the left, were more formidable than those of Sudley
, which Jackson
had held, and that indomitable fighter was now on the right, in the weaker, and therefore the more responsible position.
was ordered to begin the battle by attacking the Confederate
Under cover of the dense fog he deployed his 55,000 men on the wide plain in Jackson
's front, and when the fog lifted, in the mid-forenoon of that chill December day, the Federal
lines, infantry and artillery, were revealed, ‘in battle's magnificently stern array,’ along the embanked line of the railway, but a few hundred yards in front of the Confederate
In anticipation of the coming fray, Lee
to witness the opening.
's division led Franklin
's advance, with near 5,000 men, forcing back Jackson
's skirmishers, who had, up to that time, held the line of the railway.
Eagerly watching Meade
's forward movement, Stuart
could not resist the temptation to give it a raking enfilade, with solid shot, from the gallant Pelham
's guns, placed on a swell south of the Massaponax
, in advance of Jackson
This fire checked Meade
's advance, but brought into action five Federal batteries, the weight of which forced Pelham
to retire; but the rousing of this line of combat, hitherto concealed in the way, induced Franklin
to turn Doubleday
's division facing to the south, where it guarded his flank during the entire day. Recovering from Pelham
's blow, shortly before midday, Meade
again advanced, only to have his left shattered by Jackson
's batteries, under Lindsey Walker
, and his entire advance driven back before the Confederate infantry could fire a gun.
Well satisfied with the condition of things on his right, after seeing the result of this first encounter Lee
returned to his left.
had begun his attack on Longstreet
at II o'clock, at about the same time that Franklin
began his on Jackson
, opening it with rapid and continuous discharge of shot and shell, from the 400 big guns on Stafford heights
, upon the Confederate batteries on Marye
For an hour and a half this steady roar of artillery continued, the Confederates
promptly answering the challenge.
While thus attempting to intimidate Lee
with the noise of artillery, Burnside