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[434] army at Washington: ‘The crossing of the Rapidan effected. Forty-eight hours now will demonstrate whether the enemy intends giving battle this side of Richmond. Telegraph Butler that we have crossed the Rapidan.’ He then had with him not less than 127,000 men, that, almost without opposition, had reached the old fighting ground of ‘The Wilderness.’ He had told Butler that he would let him know when he had made this much progress in his campaign, and had ordered that he should make simultaneous movement from Fort Monroe, up the James, to an assault upon Richmond and Petersburg.

Hancock's corps, crossing at Ely's ford, had encamped on the battlefield of Chancellorsville, whence a good highway led southward, by way of Spottsylvania Court House, into the main roads leading directly to Richmond. Gregg's cavalry, moving along a parallel road to the southwest, toward Todd's tavern and Spottsylvania Court House, protected his flank from the incursions of Stuart's cavalry. Warren's corps had led the advance across Germanna ford and advanced to the valley of Wilderness run, a point where the old turnpike, on which Ewell was marching, crosses the road to Spottsylvania Court House, that Warren was following to the southeast. The Sixth corps, under Sedgwick, followed close behind the Fifth and encamped in the open fields just south of the Rapidan. Cavalry also watched the right of the movement, guarding it from Stuart. Grant's army was now well closed up, facing to the southward, along the Orange and Fredericksburg road, on the high watershed between the Rappahannock and the head branches of the Pamunkey.

In the evening of the 4th of May, Ewell established his headquarters near Locust Grove, on the old turnpike, with his advance but an hour's march from Grant's passing flank, on the same road, at the Wilderness run. Lee's second column, under Hill, which Lee accompanied, had its headquarters at Verdiersville, some four miles to the southwest from Ewell's, while Longstreet, that night, reached Brock's bridge, on the North Anna, on the old road that Lafayette had cut through the forest, to the northeastward, to Verdiersville, in order to form a junction with Wayne, and which, to this day, is known as the ‘Marquis' road.’

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