General Jackson well understood and fully appreciated what he was expected to do if an opportunity offered, but also that he must refrain from doing anything that might interfere with the general plan of operations. A conspicuous instance of this is related by Colonel Henderson, who says, with reference to Jackson's plans for attacking the Federals under Banks':
But, although authorized to draw Ewell to himself and carry out the project on which his heart was set, he still kept in view the general situation. After he had dispatched the above letter (to General Lee with reference to an attack on Banks), a report came in which led him to believe that Ewell was more needed on the Rappahannock than in the Valley. Lee had already informed him that McDowell's advanced guard had occupied Falmouth, on the north bank of the river, opposite Fredericksburg, on April 19th, and that General Field had fallen back. Jackson, in consequence, permitted Ewell to remain near Gordonsville, close to the railway; assuring Lee that “he would make arrangements so as not to be disappointed should Ewell be.”“The various authors of the life of Jackson,” to whom General Lee refers, did not have Colonel Henderson's trained military perceptions to enable them to appreciate the relative positions of Lee and Jackson, and how impossible it was for the latter to take the initiative and act independently of the commanding general, but it was surely great lack of discernment when Dr. Dabney said, in his account of the conference before Chancellorsville that General Lee had already commanded his troops to commence a movement towards his left; meaning the divisions of Anderson and McLaws; as if Lee and Jackson had separate commands insead of Jackson's Corps being a part of the army commanded by General Lee. The reasons why the claim that General Jackson originated the movement of his Corps around Hooker cannot be admitted, may be stated as follows: First. The probabilities are all against Jackson's having proposed a movement, the success of which would greatly enhance his reputation for vigor, determination and tactical skill, while in case of failure all the responsibility for the disaster would fall upon General Lee.