no question as to who was responsible for the operations of the Confederates, or to whom any failure would have been charged.
It was evident that a direct attack upon the enemy would be attended with great difficulty and loss, in view of the strength of his position and his superiority of numbers.
It was, therefore, resolved to endeavor to turn his right flank and gain his rear, leaving a force in front to hold him in check and conceal the movement.
The execution of this movement was entrusted to Lieutenant General Jackson with his three divisions. * * * .
General Jackson undertook to throw his command entirely in Hooker's rear, which he accomplished with equal skill and boldness. * * *.
The movement by which the enemy's position was turned and the fortune of the day decided was conducted by the lamented Lieutenant General Jackson.
The order to attack Hooker
's rear followed a report made by General Fitzhugh Lee
that the Federal
right on the Plank Road
was, as Colonel Henderson
In the air: that is, it was protected by no natural obstacle, and the breast works faced south, and south only.
It was evident that attack from the west or northwest was not anticipated, and Lee at once seized upon the chance of effecting a surprise.
No one has claimed for General Fitzhugh Lee
the credit of having proposed the attack on Hooker
's rear, although his report of the conditions which made it practicable, was obviously a suggestion of what might be done if conditions elsewhere permitted the detachment of a sufficient force for the purpose.
It was for the commanding general
alone to decide whether the opportunity could be availed of, what force could be detached for the purpose, to whom the command should be entrusted, with what force his lines in Hooker
's front could be maintained; and how Sedgwick
was to be held in check until the rear of Hooker
was reached and the right wing of his army crushed.
The responsibility was all Lee
's, and to him, first of all, belongs the credit of what was accomplished.
The credit of having well performed the parts allotted to them, was shared