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[392] near Banks' ford, southward, along the crest above Colin run across the plank road, then along, south of that, to within a mile of Fredericksburg, then north to the Rappahannock at Taylor's hill. The same morning Early, marching along the Telegraph road, had recaptured Marye heights, and moving westward joined the right of the troops Lee already had in position. By 6 in the afternoon the Confederate lines had advanced from the west, the south and the east, and forced Sedgwick back to the Rappahannock; but McLaws, on the left, was slow in his movements, and Sedgwick was enabled to escape, by pontoons, across the river below Banks' ford and under shelter of the river bluffs. This large left wing of Hooker's army was thus finally disposed of, but after a spirited resistance. Lee, late in the day, returned to Chancellorsville and gave orders to again concentrate his army for a final assault upon Hooker's intrenched position.

Tuesday, May 5th, was spent by Lee in reassembling his army at Chancellorsville and making preparations to assault Hooker's last-held position. He sent the writer to reconnoiter Hooker's right and ascertain whether his flank could be turned in that direction. Just at dawn, on the morning of the 6th, as Lee was about to order an advance, General Pender came galloping to his field headquarters under a tent fly at Fairview cemetery, and informed him that his skirmishers had advanced and found Hooker's gone. In surprise, he exclaimed: ‘Why, General Pender! That is what you young men always do. You allow these people to get away. I tell you what to do, but you don't do it.’ Then, with an impatient wave of the hand, he exclaimed: ‘Go after them and damage them all you can.’ A heavy rain (such as almost invariably followed great battles in Virginia) had set in during the preceding night, and under cover of that, and concealed by his formidable intrenchments and the unbroken forest through which the roads led to the United States ford, Hooker had safely withdrawn his army over the pontoon bridges that he had placed across the Rappahannock below the United States ford, only leaving behind the debris of a well-conducted retreat.

The morning of the 7th found Hooker ordering that ‘General headquarters to-night will be at the old camp near Falmouth,’ and thence, before nightfall, issuing

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