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s behind Mott's Run, which flows due east, and his left was deployed along the Catherine Furnace road. Could Hooker, on the first day of May, have known Lee's exact location, he never could have had a better opportunity for taking the offensive. But he did not know, and after the few troops advancing toward Fredericksburg had met the approaching enemy he ordered all back to the old position, the Chancellorsville line, which I have just described. On the preceding Thursday, the last of April, the three corps that constituted the right wing of the army, Meade's, Slocum's, and mine, had crossed from the north to the south side of the Rapidan, and by 4 o'clock in the afternoon had reached the vicinity of Chancellorsville, where Slocum, who was the senior commander present, established his headquarters. I, approaching from Germanna Ford, halted my divisions at Dowdall's Tavern and encamped them there. Then I rode along the Plank road through the almost continuous forest to the Cha
ing, not far from the river, was behind Mott's Run, which flows due east, and his left was deployed along the Catherine Furnace road. Could Hooker, on the first day of May, have known Lee's exact location, he never could have had a better opportunity for taking the offensive. But he did not know, and after the few troops advanhurch across all the open ground that stretched away from the tavern to the right of Devens's line. To my great comfort, General Sickles's corps came up on Friday, May 1st, and took from our left Steinwehr's three-quarters of a mile of the Plank road. Thus he relieved from the front line Barlow's large brigade, giving me, besidome such manner came on that battle of May 2d to the watchers at Dowdall's Tavern and Talley's farm-house. The first distant symptom occurred on the evening of May 1st. Then was heard the sudden crack of rifle-shooting. It began with Steinwehr's skirmishers, and then passed on to Schurz. Schimmelfennig pushed out a brigade st
y aide, Major Charles H. Howard, assisted in connecting them between divisions, and during the 2d of May that fearless and faithful staff-officer, Major E. Whittlesey, rode the entire circuit of thei of Hooker's five corps, and Reynolds's, which was not far behind, was, on tile morning of the 2d of May, about 90,000 effectives. The right corps, the Eleventh, had in all, artillery and infantry, an interval between its ominous crashing discharges. In some such manner came on that battle of May 2d to the watchers at Dowdall's Tavern and Talley's farm-house. The first distant symptom occurr Positions of the 12th Corps and part of the 3d Corps, covering the Chancellorsville plateau, May 2 and 3. I next ordered a retreat to the edge of the forest toward Chancellorsville, so as toJackson stood head and shoulders above his confreres, and after his death General Lee could not replace him. Rescuing the wounded on Sunday, May 2d, from the burning woods. From a War-time sketch.
t forth to stem the tide of retreat and refill those trenches, but the panic was too great. Then our artillery fire became weaker and weaker. Positions of the 12th Corps and part of the 3d Corps, covering the Chancellorsville plateau, May 2 and 3. I next ordered a retreat to the edge of the forest toward Chancellorsville, so as to uncover Steinwehr's knoll, the only spot yet firmly held. The batteries, except four pieces, were drawn off and hurried to the rear. The stand at the edge at direction in the face of the fire was effectually barred by the artillery and supporting troops. Stonewall Jackson fell that evening from bullet-wounds, in the forest in front of Berry's position. And here, on the forenoon of the next day, May 3d, the gallant General Berry met his death. It was here, too, that officers of the Eleventh Corps, though mortified by defeat, successfully rallied the scattered brigades and divisions, and, after shielding the batteries, went during the night to
atch is not on file in the War Records Office, but a copy of it exists in Hooker's Letters sent book and in one of the two Letters received books of Howard's headquarters. The entry in Howard's book appears to have been made in the latter part of June. In Hooker's book a notation in red ink reads, Copy furnished General Howard ; and the inference is that it was this copy that was entered in Howard's book in June.--editors. From some confused notion it was issued to Slocum and Howard, when SlocJune.--editors. From some confused notion it was issued to Slocum and Howard, when Slocum was no longer within two miles of me, and had not been in command of my corps after Hooker's arrival at Chancellorsville. Slocum, naturally supposing that I had a copy, would not think of forwarding a joint order to me after that, and certainly no such order came to me. But Generals Devens, Schurz, and Steinwehr, my division commanders, and myself did precisely what we should have done had that order come. The three reserve batteries were put in position, and the infantry reserves were held
he enemy attacked now from the front and rear, and then of course my brave boys were obliged to fall back, the 54th New York and the right wing of the 153d Pennsylvania forcing their way back through the enemy's skirmishers in their rear. . . . Retreating I expected surely to rally my brigade behind our second line, formed by the Third Division, but I did not find the second line; it was abandoned before we reached it. Von Gilsa's brigade lost 133 killed and wounded out of an effective of 1400 men.--editors. had to give way and be broken into fragments. My own horse seemed to catch the fury; he sprang — he rose high on his hind legs and fell over, throwing me to the ground. My aide-de-camp, Dessauer, was struck by a shot and killed, and for a few moments I was as helpless as any of the men who were speeding without arms to the rear. But faithful orderlies helped me to remount. Schurz was still doing all he could to face regiments about and send them to Devens's northern flank
teries were constructed, and cross-intrenchments for the battery supports were dug, extending from the little church across all the open ground that stretched away from the tavern to the right of Devens's line. To my great comfort, General Sickles's corps came up on Friday, May 1st, and took from our left Steinwehr's three-quarters of a mile of the Plank road. Thus he relieved from the front line Barlow's large brigade, giving me, besides the several division reserves, General Barlow with 1500 men as a general reserve for the corps. These were massed near the cross-intrenchments, Dowdall's Tavern, Howard's headquarters. From a War-time photograph. and held avowedly to support the batteries and protect General Devens's exposed right flank. As to pickets, each division had a good line of them. My aide, Major Charles H. Howard, assisted in connecting them between divisions, and during the 2d of May that fearless and faithful staff-officer, Major E. Whittlesey, rode the entire
May 2nd, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 3.28
ly for two miles, till suddenly at the United States Ford it turns and flows south for a mile and a half, and then, turning again, completes a horse-shoe bend. Here, on the south shore, was General Hooker's battle-line on the morning of the 2d of May, 1863. Here his five army corps, those of Meade, Slocum, Couch, Sickles, and Howard, were deployed. The face was toward the south, and the ranks mainly occupied a ridge nearly parallel with the Rapidan. The left touched the high ground just wes the remainder kept a few hundred yards back for a reserve. Schurz's front line of infantry extended along the old turnpike and faced to the south-west. The right division of the corps was commanded Map: position of the 11th Corps at 6pm. May 2, 1863. by General Charles Devens, afterward attorney-general in the cabinet of President Hayes. Devens and I together had carefully reconnoitered both the Orange Plank road and the old turnpike for at least three miles toward the west. After this
d what they could, but others shouted, We've done all we can, and ran on. General Schurz states in his report that the masses which were rallied here were reorganized and led forward two or three times, but were dispersed by the enemy's flank fire.--editors. Schirmer managed 1. Union breastworks in the woods between Dowdall's Tavern and Chancellorsville. 2. Relics of the dead in the woods near the Plank road. 3. The Plank road near where Jackson fell. from photographs taken in 1864. the reserve artillery fairly. Dilger, the battery commander on Schurz's left, rolled the balls along the Plank road and shelled the wood. General Steinwehr was on hand, cool, collected, and judicious. Like Blair at Atlanta, he had made his men (who were south of Dowdall's) spring to the reverse side of their intrenchments and be ready to fire the instant it was possible. Let us pause here a moment and follow Doles, who led the enemy's attack. He states that, after his first successfu
riss-crossed with an abundance of wild vines. In places all along the south-west and west front the forest appeared impassable, and the skirmishers could only work their way through with extreme difficulty. To the officers of the Eleventh Corps the position was never a desirable one. It presented a flank in the air. We were more than four miles south from Ely's ford, where were Hooker's nearest cavalry flankers. In his report after the battle, General Schurz says: Dowdall's Tavern in 1884. The Wilderness Church (in the left middle-ground) and Hawkins's farm (on the right) as seen from the Plank road in front of Dowdall's Tavern. Our right ought to have been drawn back toward the Rapidan, to rest on that river at or near the mouth of Hunting Run, the corps abandoning so much of the Plank road as to enable it to establish a solid line. Yes; but we were ordered to Dowdall's Tavern, and not to the Rapidan, three or four miles in our rear! And our right was fixed for us
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