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Hooker's force.

The restless Hooker, on the 1st and 2d of May, 1863, crossed the river immediately in front of the Confederate lines with a most formidable array of artillery, cavalry, and best equipped infantry in the service on either side—greater in numbers than General Lee had in his entire force to oppose him with. But the sequel soon proved the truth of the aphorism that ‘the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong.’ Hooker had also crossed the Rappahannock about the same time twelve miles above Fredericksburg with 75,000 men of all arms, resting each wing of his command at or near the banks of the river, and in the form of a crescent. In addition to this Hooker had sent a large body of cavalry under General Stoneman to cut off Lee's communication with Richmond. By this movement he thought he had Lee entirely surrounded and completely in his power, and boastingly announced in general orders to his forces that his, ‘the finest body of troops on the planet,’ would quickly destroy Lee and his army and be in Richmond in a very short time. The writer, just at this time, witnessed one of the grandest military spectacles ever beheld in modern times. He saw drawn up along the shores and adjacent plains of the Rappahannock river line after line of light and heavy artillery, with intervals between them; each line formed in regular order of battle and each supported by a full army corps and divisions of infantry and cavalry, extending almost as far back as the eye could reach. All these dazzling lines of armed men fairly glittering in blue and gold, with their polished guns, flashing sabres, and brilliantly colored standards, formed a picture of military splendor, when taken in connection with their vast numbers —all in full view of the comparatively small and poorly equipped forces of the Confederates, certainly seemed sufficient to appall the hearts of any but the brave, courageous, and intensely patriotic soldiers, who, relying on the justice of their cause, had resolved not to be intimidated by numbers or dismayed by all this magnificent display of martial grandeur. But as gloomy as the prospect was to the Southern troops, that wonderful military genius, the indomitable, daring, resourceful strategist, and leader, ‘StonewallJackson was there and showed himself equal to the emergency.

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