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[109] Napoleon, teaching the lesson of indifference to danger to the boys he gathered around him, after the fatal Russian campaign, said: ‘The cannon balls have been flying around our legs for twenty years.’ Hannibal's career occupied about fifteen years. No other great commander in the world's history has in so short a time won so great a fame as Jackson. Two years, crowded with weighty deeds, now draw to a close, and Chancellorsville witnesses, perhaps, the most important single incident of his life as a soldier. The whole story has been too often told. Hooker, in command of what was called by the North, ‘the finest army on the planet,’ crossed the Rappahannock and marched to Chancellorsville. He had 123,000 soldiers, Lee less than 58,000. Notwithstanding, Hooker was frightened at his own temerity in coming within striking distance of Lee and Jackson, and he at once set his whole army to work to throw up entrenchments and make abatis of the most formidable character. Lee and Jackson had to meet the present difficulty without the aid of a large portion of their army, absent with Longstreet. Lee and Jackson! How well I remember their meeting before this battle, and their confiding conference! How these two men loved and trusted each other! Where in all history shall we find a parallel to their mutual faith and love and confidence? I can find none. Said Jackson: ‘Lee is a phenomenon. I would follow him blindfold.’

And Lee said to an aide de camp of Jackson's, who reported that Hooker had crossed the river, ‘Go back and tell General Jackson that he knows as well as I what to do.’ After they arrived in front of Hooker our movements are described in a hitherto unpublished letter of General Lee's. That great commander, after saying that he decided not to attack in front, writes as follows: ‘I stated to General Jackson that we must attack on our left as soon as practicable,’ and he adds, ‘in consequence of a report from General Fitz. Lee, describing the position of the Federal army and the roads which he held with his cavalry leading to its rear, General Jackson, after some inquiry concerning the roads leading to the Furnace, undertook to throw his command entirely in Hooker's rear, which he accomplished with equal skill and boldness.’ General Jackson believed the fighting qualities of the Army of Northern Virginia equal to the task of ending the war. During the winter preceding Chancellorsville, in the course of a conversation at Moss Neck, he said: ‘We must do more than defeat their armies; we must destroy ’

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