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[328] imposing force, he himself led five weak divisions to confront Hooker's mighty host. Lee meant to fight, but not in the dark. He meant first to look his adversary in the eye. He meant to see himself how to aim his blow. Where shall we find a match for the vigor, the swiftness, the audacity of that flank march assigned to Jackson—for the fierce and determined front attack led by Lee himself? There is nothing equal to it save only Frederick's immortal stroke of daring on the Austrian flank at Leuthen. But the second day brings out the strongest and grandest lines of the Confederate commander's heroic character. Jackson has been stricken down, Lee's right arm has been torn from him; but the unconquerable firmess of his nature resisting every suggestion of weakness, and that inborn love of fight, without which no General can be great, blazing out and kindling all it touched, he forces on the fierce attack along the whole line, till in a wild tumult of battle, the Federal army wavers, gives ground, melts away. The advance, if pushed, will drive the enemy in confusion to the river. And Lee is preparing for a combined assault. But a new element now bursts into the action. News is brought from ten miles away that the Confederates have been driven from the heights of Fredericksburg towards Richmond, and Sedgwick is marching on Lee's rear. Lee's celerity and firmness are equal to the crisis. He promptly hurls four brigades from under his own hand at the head of Sedgwick's column, and with bold countenance hems in Hooker's army of nearly thrice his own numbers. If it were not the sternest tragedy, it might be comedy—this feat of thirty thousand men shutting up eighty thousand. But Hooker has been beaten, the decisive point is not there, as the eye of genius can intuitively see. It is with Sedgwick, six miles away, and realizing in his practice the golden maxim of the schools, Lee is quickly at that point in sufficient, if not superior, force. Sedgwick is crushed on the third day, and driven across the river. Lee now concentrates all his force to fall upon Hooker, with a final and overwhelming blow. The fifth day breaks, and lo! the Federal army has vanished, not a man of them save the dead, the wounded, and the prisoners remaining on the Richmond side of the Rappahannock.

What was left undone by Lee that genius, constancy, and daring could effect? Will any man say that the Confederate army should have followed its defeated but colossal adversary across the river? This would have been to invite disaster.

The substantial and astounding fruits of victory were won in the collapse for that season of the Federal invasion, in the masterly initiative

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