operation in execution above), he resolved to assume the offensive to relieve his left.
He judged the most effective method of accomplishing this, .to be a counter move by his right and centre on the Union flank and rear at Centreville; and with this view orders were dispatched to General Ewell, whose brigade formed the right of the Confederate line at Union Mills Ford, to begin the movement, which was to be followed up by the brigades of Jones, at McLean's Ford; Longstreet, at Blackburn's Ford; and Bonham, at Mitchell's Ford.
By such a movement, adds Beauregard, I confidently expected to achieve a complete victory for my country by 12 o'clock M. Report of the Battle of Manassas. I must add here a fact which is an evidence that the staff-organization of the Confederate Army was, at this time, little better than that of the Union Army—these orders did not reach their destination for four hours after the time they were sent; and this, as will presently appear, gave a very peculiar tu
s a strong position, and if its rearward slope were held by a determined even though small force, it would be very hard and hazardous to assail.
Colonel Miles, in the distribution of his command, had posted on Maryland Heights a force under Colonel Ford, retaining the bulk of his troops in Harper's Ferry.
This was a faulty disposition.
He should have evacuated the latter place, and transferred his whole force to Maryland Heights, which he could readily have held till McClellan came up. Undeom General Halleck, he was bound, however, to hold Harper's Ferry to the last extremity, and, interpreting this order literally as applying to the town itself, he refused to take this step when urged to it by his subordinates.
But what was worse, Ford, after opposing a very feeble and unskilful resistance to McLaws' attack on the 13th, retired to Harper's Ferry, spiking his guns and toppling them down the declivity.
Thus Maryland Heights was abandoned altogether.
McLaws succeeded in dragging
A commander of any fertility of resource might readily have devised modifications of the plan adapted to the altered state of affairs.
I shall mention one move that would have been promising.
The passage of the river at Fredericksburg was made for a real attack.
Burnside might have converted it into a feint; he might have made threatening demonstrations of attack with Sumner's command, and meanwhile, he might have thrown Hooker's two corps up by Banks' or United States Ford, to execute a turning movement on Lee's left.
Hooker could have been strengthened almost indefinitely, and it is difficult to see why this operation should have failed of success. for the naked enterprise, stripped of this hope, was of a very desperate character.
A brief description of the terrain will serve to prove this.
The battle-field of Fredericksburg presents the character of a broken plain stretching back from the southern margin of the Rappahannock from six hundred yards to two
pahannock from Skenker's Creek to United States Ford (a distance of about twenty-five miles), havingrection; while above his left, at United States Ford, the junction of the Rapidan with the Rappahannl Couch had moved no further than United States Ford, where it was directed to remain on the north b south bank should have uncovered United States Ford, when it was to cross and move also to Chancellh the road from Fredericksburg to United States Ford, stands the Chancellor House—that is, Chancellod seizing his communications with United States Ford.
This suggestion was, it is said, made to Leleft so as to cut off Hooker from United States Ford.
To relieve Rodes' division which had made thut the enemy off from the road to United States Ford; we would have had them entirely surrounded, anppahannock, making the passage at United States Ford—but this was one entire day's march; secondly, to guard the communications with United States Ford.
The corpscom-manders saw that it was only a q
ew lines of communication.
The movement was begun at dawn of the 26th of November, and the order of march was as follows.
The Fifth Corps, followed by the First Corps, was to cross the Rapidan at Culpepper Mine Ford and proceed to Parker's Store, on the plankroad to Orange Courthouse.
The Second Corps was to cross at Germanna Ford, and proceed out on the turnpike (which runs parallel with the plankroad) to Robertson's Tavern.
To this point also the Third Corps, crossing at Jacobs' Mill Ford, and followed by the Sixth Corps, was to march by other routes, and there make a junction with the Second Corps.
With the left thus at Parker's Store and the right at Robertson's Tavern, the army would be in close communication on parallel roads, and by advancing westward towards Orange Courthouse would turn the line of the Mine Run defences, which it was known did not extend as far south as to cross the turnpike and plankroads.
As the distance of the several corps from their encampments to
the Germanna Ford with the turnpike from Orange Courthouse to Fredericksburg.
On the latter road, Wilson's division of cavalry was, in the afternoon, thrown out towards Robertson's Tavern to watch the directions whence any hostile menace might be expected.
The left column, consisting of Hancock's corps, moved from its encampment near Stevensburg, and advanced to Ely's Ford,
General Grant, in his official report (p. 6), inadvertently states that the Second Corps crossed at United States Ford; but Ely's Ford was the point of passage. preceded by Gregg's division of cavalry.
When tile corps reached the Rapidan the cavalry was well across, and had the canvas ponton-bridge nearly laid.
This work being soon completed, the infantry made the passage and pushed forward to Chancellorsville, which place it reached at nine in the morning of the 4th, the cavalry being thrown out towards Fredericksburg and Todd's Tavern.
At Chancellorsville, Hancock's troops rested for the remainder of the
e pauses at after Manassas No. 2, 192; the flank march on, 376; Meade strongly posted at, 385.
Chancellorsville, Hooker's plan of operations against Lee's left, 271; passage of Ely's Ford, 272; pasof Germanna Ford, 272; passage of United States Ford, 273; Hooker in reverse of Lee's position, 273; Franklin's movement on Lee's front to cover flank march, 274; Hooker jubilant of success, 275; topography of the field, 277; Hooker commences pushing towards open country near Fredericksburg, 277; obn Hooker's flank and rear—his force, 283; Jackson's attack on Hooker's right rear, 286; rout of the Eleventh Corps—not half were Germans, 286; Jackson's pursuit of the defeated right checked, 288; Jackson's attempt to cut Hooker from United States Ford, 289; Sedgwick's movement on Lee's rear, 292; Sedgwick met at Salem Heights by a column from Chancellorsville, 298; Hooker's formation on second day, 293; Chancellorsville seized by the Confederates, 295; Hooker prostrated by concussion of a shot,