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[384] A. P. Hill's division were formed in the rear of Colston, with their right resting on the old turnpike, while the remaining brigades of Hill's division were left in column to follow along the old turnpike as a reserve. At 5 in the afternoon of Saturday, May 2d, two hours before the set of sun, just as a magnificent rainbow sprang its prismatic arch across the western sky in rear of his lines of battle, Jackson ordered an advance. With a wild ‘rebel yell,’ that startled the profound silence that had hitherto reigned in ‘the Wilderness,’ his veterans rushed forward through the forest, driving game of all kinds before them, and in an incredibly short time fell upon How-, ard's corps, holding Hooker's right, which, unconscious even of the near presence of an enemy, was engaged in cooking its supper. Thus unexpectedly attacked, a fearful panic ensued, and Howard's men rushed in dismay along the turnpike toward Chancellorsville, sweeping all organizations along with them in their flight. Six guns of Beckham's horse artillery, of Stuart's corps, galloped at even pace, along the turnpike, with Jackson's men, and by sections of twos poured canister into the retreating Federals.

Nothing could stand against the superior numbers that Jackson hurled against Hooker's flanked line, which he speedily crumpled up and drove back toward Chancellorsville, but two miles away. Many prisoners were taken, and it looked as though the whole Federal army would be routed by the flood of fugitives, followed by Jackson's fierce soldiery flushed with victory. At this juncture, Colquitt, commanding Rodes' right brigade in the woods south of the turnpike, thought he discovered a Federal force on his flank that required him to halt and face southward; and thus was held back, for nearly an hour, Jackson's forward movement, giving Schurz's division, which he would have struck in flank had he continued to advance, time to escape; but Howard's corps was completely wrecked, and all opposition was speedily brushed away as Jackson's men, his lines of battle indiscriminately mixed in finding their way through the dense forests of second-growth timber and over fields along the turnpike, sprang over the Federal works that had been thrown across the road at Dowdall's tavern, nearly two miles east of where Jackson had formed his lines of battle, and about the same distance from Chancellorsville.

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