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Chapter 20: battle of Chancellorsville.

Before light on the morning of the 29th of April, the enemy, having moved three corps of his army up during the night, by taking advantage of a heavy fog that overhung the river, threw a brigade across in boats, just below the mouth of Deep Run, and the 54th North Carolina Regiment on picket at that point, being unable to cope with the force brought against it, was forced to retire, which it did without loss. The movement had been conducted with so much secrecy, the boats being brought to the river by hand, that the first intimation of it, to the regiment on picket, was the landing of the force. Bridges were then rapidly laid down at the same crossing used by Burnside at this point and a division of infantry with some artillery was crossed over.

About a mile lower down below the house of Mr. Pratt, a similar crossing was attempted, but that was discovered, and resisted by the 13th Georgia Regiment under Colonel Smith until after sunrise, when that regiment was relieved by the 6th Louisiana under Colonel Monaghan going on picket in its regular time. The latter regiment continued to resist the crossing successfully until the fog had risen, when the enemy's guns were brought to bear, and by a concentrated fire that regiment was compelled to retire, not, however, without sustaining a considerable loss in killed and wounded as well as prisoners, the latter being captured in rifle pits at points below the crossing, which was effected by the enemy's coming up in their rear before they had received notice of his being across. The 13th Georgia had also sustained some loss in killed and wounded, and prisoners captured in the same way, who had not been relieved. The resistance made at this point delayed the enemy so that the bridges there were not laid until after 10 o'clock A. M. [194]

A little after light, information reached me of the crossing at Deep Run, and I sent notice of it at once to General Jackson. Without, however, waiting for orders, I ordered my division to the front, and as soon as it was possible put it in line along the railroad, with my right resting near Hamilton's Crossing and my left extending to Deep Run. Three regiments were sent to the front and deployed along the River road as skirmishers. The 13th Virginia Regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Terrill, on picket between the mouths of Hazel and Deep Runs, was drawn back to the line of the River road above Deep Run, and remained there until relieved by McLaws' division, when it was brought up.

As soon as the enemy had laid down his bridges at the lower crossing, a division of infantry and some artillery were crossed over at that point. When the fog rose, the slopes of the opposite hills were semicovered with troops the whole distance from opposite Fredericksburg to a point nearly opposite the mouth of the Massaponix. The question was whether they were ostentatiously displayed as a feint, or whether they were massed for crossing. The troops which had crossed were seen throwing up breastworks covering the bridges and also epaulments for artillery; but it was impossible to discover the strength of the force already across, as below the deep banks of the river there was ample space for massing a large body of troops out of our sight. There appeared no attempt to make a crossing at Fredericksburg, or to move up towards the town.

Some artillery was put in position on the hill near Hamilton's Crossing on my right, and in rear of my left. D. H. Hill's division, now under command of Brigadier General Rodes, was soon brought up, and put in position on my right, extending across the Massaponix, one brigade being placed below that creek across the River road, so as to guard the ford. A Whitworth gun, of very long range, was also posted below the [195] Massaponix out of range of the enemy's guns across the river and in position to partially enfilade them.

The remaining divisions of Jackson's corps were brought up during the day, and A. P. Hill's was put in position in a second line in rear of mine. Trimble's division under the command of Brigadier General Colston arrived very late in the afternoon and was placed in reserve in the rear. Barksdale's brigade already occupied the town of Fredericksburg, and the remaining brigades of McLaws' division were brought up and placed in position on the left of my line, one of his brigades connecting with my left, which was now drawn back from the railroad, and a shorter line made across to Deep Run, to connect it with McLaws' right. For the greater part of the way the railroad track furnished a very good protection, and it was strengthened by throwing up embankments, the line being advanced a little in front on the left of my centre where there was a rise in the ground above the level of the road. In order to occupy the whole of the line my brigades had to be extended out, as the division was not strong enough to man it fully.

During the day the enemy made no attempt to advance against us in force with his infantry, and his skirmishers were effectually kept from the River road by mine, and on the right Rodes' skirmishers, which extended from the right of mine around to the river above the Massaponix, prevented any movement in that direction. There was some artillery firing, and one Whitworth gun from across the Massaponix played with very considerable effect on the bottoms on the enemy's left. Large bodies of the infantry on the opposite slopes occasionally moved down towards the river, where they were concealed from our view by the bank on the south side, which is the highest.

I retained my position on the front line during the night, which passed quietly. The next day there was [196] very little change in the appearances in front. The enemy had made strong tetes du pont covering his bridges, and was constructing a line of entrenchments connecting the two, passing in front of the Pratt and Bernard houses, and extending below the lower bridge.

There was this day some apparent diminution of the infantry in view on the opposite slopes, but there were many heavy guns in battery on the heights and a very large force of infantry still visible. There were some demonstrations with the infantry on the north bank, some skirmish firing, and some artillery firing also, but the enemy on the south bank did not appear at all enterprising, and rather contracted his lines on his left, his skirmishers retiring before ours which were pushed forward on that flank. The indications were that it was a mere demonstration on our front, to cloak a more serious move in some other quarter, and so it turned out to be. When this was discovered, it is quite probable that we might have destroyed the comparatively small force on the south bank by a movement against it from our line, but this would not have compensated us for the loss we would, in all probability, have sustained from the enemy's heavy guns.

General Lee had ascertained that by far the largest portion of Hooker's army had crossed the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers above their junction, and were moving down on his left. He therefore determined to move up with the greater part of his own army to meet that force, which was watched by Anderson's division of Longstreet's corps and a portion of Stuart's cavalry. Accordingly late on the afternoon of the 30th I was instructed by General Jackson to retain my position on the line, and, with my division and some other troops to be placed at my disposal, to watch the enemy confronting me while the remainder of the army was absent. Barksdale's brigade occupying Fredericksburg and the heights in rear, was directed to retain his position, as was also a portion of General Pendleton's reserve artillery, which [197] occupied positions on Marye's and Lee's Hills, and the whole was placed under my command. In addition, Graham's battery of artillery of four guns, two twenty pounders and two ten pounders, Parrots, posted on the hill on my right, was left with me, and Lieutenant Colonel Andrews was ordered to report to me with his battalion of four batteries with twelve pieces, to-wit: six Napoleons, four three-inch rifles, and two ten pounder Parrots. A Whitworth gun under Lieutenant Tunis was also left at my disposal and posted on the right across the Massaponix. With the rest of the army near Fredericksburg comprising the other three divisions of Jackson's corps, and three brigades of McLaws' division, General Lee moved on the night of the 30th and the morning of the 1st of May towards Chancellorsville to meet Hooker.

Before leaving, General Lee instructed me to watch the enemy and try to hold him; to conceal the weakness of my force, and if compelled to yield before overpowering numbers, to fall back towards Guiney's depot where our supplies were, protecting them and the railroad; and I was further instructed to join the main body of the army in the event that the enemy disappeared from my front, or so diminished his force as to render it prudent to do so, leaving at Fredericksburg only such force as might be necessary to protect the town against any force the enemy might leave behind.

The force which had made the demonstration on our front consisted at first of the 1st, 3rd, and 6th corps of Hooker's army, under the command of Major General Sedgwick. The 3rd corps moved to join Hooker during the 30th, but the 1st and 6th remained in my front still demonstrating. In his testimony before the Congressional Committee on the war, Hooker stated that the 6th corps, according to the returns of the 30th of April, 1863, numbered 26,233 present for duty. Sedgwick says that the 6th corps numbered only 22,000 when it crossed the river. Taking the medium between them, the [198] effective strength may be put down at 24,000, which General A. P. Howe, commanding one of the divisions, says he was informed, at headquarters of the corps, it was. The first corps must have numbered at least 16,000 and perhaps more, so that I must have been left confronting at least 40,000 men in these two corps, besides the stationary batteries on Stafford Heights and Gibbon's division of the 2nd corps which was just above, near Falmouth, and, according to Hooker's statement, numbered over 6,000 for duty on the 30th.

My division by the last tri-monthly field return which was made on the 20th of April, and is now before me, had present for duty 548 officers and 7,331 enlisted men, making a total of 7,879. It had increased none, and I could not have carried into action 7,500 in all, officers and men, and not more than 7,000 muskets, as in camp wheneverything was quiet, a number of men reported for duty, who were not actually able to take the field. I had already lost about 150 men in the resistance which was made at the lower crossing. Barksdale's brigade did not probably exceed 1,500 men for duty, if it reached that number. I had, therefore, not exceeding 9,000 infantry officers and men in all, being very little over 8,000 muskets; and in addition I had Anderson's battalion with twelve guns; Graham's four guns; Tunis', Whitworths, and portions of Watson's; Cabell's and Cutt's battalions under General Pendleton, not numbering probably thirty guns. I think 45 guns must have covered all my artillery, and these were nothing to compare with the enemy's in weight of metal.

The foregoing constituted the means I had for occupying and holding a line of at least six miles in length, against the enemy's heavy force of infantry, and his far more numerous and heavier and better appointed artillery. It was impossible to occupy the whole line, and the interval between Deep Run and the foot of Lee's Hill had to be left vacant, watched by skirmishers, protected only by a cross fire of artillery. I could spare no infantry [199] from the right, as that was much the weakest point of the line, and the force which had crossed, and which exceeded my whole strength, was below Deep Run, and confronting my own division. Andrews' artillery was placed in position on the morning of the 1st as follows: four Napoleons and two rifles were placed under Major Latimer, near the left of the line occupied by my division, behind some epaulments that had been made on that part of the line; two Parrots were placed with Graham's guns on the hill on my right, and two Napoleons and two rifles were posted to the right of Hamilton's Crossing, near a grove of pines, the Whitworth gun being posted on a height across the Massaponix so as to have a flank fire on the enemy if he advanced, and it was without support. Colonel Andrews had charge of all of the artillery on this part of the line, that on Marye's and Lee's Hills was under the immediate superintendence of General Pendleton, and some of the batteries were so posted as to have a cross fire on the upper part of the valley of Deep Run.

The enemy remained quiet on the 1st, except in demonstrating by manoeuvres of his troops, and there was no firing on that day. His line of entrenchments, covering the two bridges, had been completed, and he still displayed a heavy force of infantry, consisting of the two corps under Sedgwick. The ensuing night also passed quietly, and during it a battery of four Napoleons was sent by General Pendleton to report to Colonel Andrews, and was posted with the four guns near the pines on the right of the crossing.

The morning of the 2nd opened with appearances pretty much the same as they had been the day before; if anything there was more infantry in view on the north bank than had appeared the previous day. Colonel Andrews was ordered early in the day to feel the enemy with his guns, and accordingly Latimer opened with his two rifle guns on the enemy's position near Deep Run, and Graham's and Brown's Parrots opened on the infantry [200] and batteries below and near the Pratt house. Latimer's fire was not returned, but Graham's and Brown's was responded to by two of the batteries on the north bank and some guns on the south side. Shortly afterwards the infantry and artillery at the lower crossing disappeared behind the bank of the river, and that crossing was abandoned.

During the morning I rode to Lee's Hill for the purpose of observing the enemy's movements from that point, and I observed a considerable portion of his infantry in motion up the opposite river bank. While I was, in company with Generals Barksdale and Pendleton, observing the enemy's manoeuvre and trying to ascertain what it meant, at about 11 o'clock A. M., Colonel R. H. Chilton, of General Lee's staff, came to me with a verbal order to move up immediately towards Chancellorsville with my whole force, except a brigade of infantry and Pendleton's reserve artillery, and to leave at Fredericksburg the brigade of infantry and a part of the reserve artillery to be selected by General Pendleton, with instructions to the commander of this force to watch the enemy's movements, and keep him in check if possible, but if he advanced with too heavy a force to retire on the road to Spottsylvania Court-House-General Pendleton being required to send the greater part of his reserve artillery to the rear at once.

This order took me very much by surprise, and I remarked to Colonel Chilton that I could not retire my troops without their being seen by the enemy, whose position on Stafford Heights not only overlooked ours, but who had one or two balloons which he was constantly sending up from the heights to make observations, and stated that he would inevitably move over and take possession of Fredericksburg and the surrounding Heights. The Colonel said he presumed General Lee understood all this, but that it was much more important for him to have troops where he was, than at Fredericksburg, and if he defeated the enemy there he could easily [201] retake Fredericksburg; he called my attention to the fact, which was apparent to us all, that there was a very heavy force of infantry massed on the slopes near Falmouth which had moved up from below, and stated that he had no doubt the greater portion of the force on the other side was in motion to reinforce Hooker. He repeated his orders with great distinctness in the presence of General Pendleton, and in reply to questions from us, said that there could be no mistake in his orders.

This was very astounding to us, as we were satisfied that we were then keeping away from the army, opposed to General Lee, a much larger body of troops than my force could engage or neutralize if united to the army near Chancellorsville. It is true that there was the force massed near Falmouth and the indications were that it was moving above, but still there was a much larger force of infantry stationed below, which evinced no disposition to move. While we were conversing, information was brought me that the enemy had abandoned his lower crossing, and that our skirmishers had advanced tothe Pratt house, but he still, however, maintained his position at the mouth of Deep Creek with a division of infantry and a number of guns on our side of the river.

The orders as delivered to me left me no discretion, and believing that General Lee understood his own necessities better than I possibly could, I did not feel justified in acting on my own judgment, and I therefore determined to move as directed. It subsequently turned out that Colonel Chilton had misunderstood General Lee's orders, which were that I should make the movement indicated if the enemy did not have a sufficient force in my front to detain the whole of mine, and it was to be left to me to judge of that, the orders, in fact, being similar to those given me at first. It also turned out that the troops seen massed near Falmouth were the 1st corps under Reynolds, moving up to reinforce Hooker, and that the 6th corps, Sedgwick's own, remained behind.

When Colonel Chilton arrived, General Pendleton was [202] making arrangements to move some artillery to the left to open on the columns massed near Falmouth, but the order brought rendered it necessary to desist from that attempt in order to make preparations for the withdrawal.

My division occupied a line which was in full view from the opposite hills except where it ran through the small strip of woods projecting beyond the railroad, and the withdrawal had to be made with the probability of its being discovered by the enemy. I determined to leave Hays' brigade to occupy the hills in rear of Fredericksburg with one regiment deployed as skirmishers on the River road confronting the force at the mouth of Deep Run, and also to leave one of Barksdale's regiments, which was already in Fredericksburg and along the bank of the river, picketing from Falmouth to the lower end of the town.

The orders were given at once and the withdrawal commenced, but it had to be made with great caution so as to attract as little attention as possible and therefore required much time. General Pendleton was to remain at Fredericksburg, according to the orders, and the withdrawal of such of his artillery as was to be sent to the rear was entrusted to him and executed under his directions. The Whitworth gun was ordered to the rear with the reserve artillery and Andrews' battalion and Graham's battery were ordered to follow my column, Richardson's battery, which was on the right, being returned to General Pendleton's control. When the withdrawal commenced, the enemy sent up a balloon and I felt sure that he had discovered the movement, but it turned out that he did not.1 It was late in the afternoon before my column was in readiness to move, and Barksdale was ordered to bring up the rear with the three regiments left after detaching the one on picket, as soon [203] as he was relieved by Hays. As soon as the troops were in readiness the three brigades of my division moved along the Ridge road from Hamilton's Crossing to the Telegraph road, and then along a cross-road leading into the Plank road, Barksdale going out on the Telegraph road to join the column. Upon getting near the Plank road, a little before dark, I received a note from General Lee which informed me that he did not expect me to join him unless, in my judgment, the withdrawal of my troops could be made with safety, and I think he used the expression that if by remaining I could neutralize and hold in check a large force of the enemy, I could do as much or perhaps more service than by joining him.

I had proceeded so far that I determined to go on, as the probability was that if the enemy had discovered my movement, the mischief would be done before I could get back, and that I would not be able to recover the lost ground, but might deprive General Lee entirely of the use of my troops. When the head of my column had reached the Plank road and moved up it about a mile, a courier came to me from General Barksdale, stating that the enemy had advanced against Hays with a very large force, and that the latter and General Pendleton had sent word that all of the artillery would be captured unless they had immediate relief. The courier also stated that General Barksdale had started back with his own regiments.

I determined to return at once to my former position, and accordingly halted the column, faced it about and moved back, sending my Adjutant General, Major Hale, to inform General Lee of the fact. The fact turned out to be that just before dark Sedgwick had crossed the remainder of his corps and moved towards the River road below, called also the Bowling Green road, forcing from it the 7th Louisiana Regiment, under Colonel Penn, which occupied that road and fell back to the line on the railroad after skirmishing sharply with the enemy. There had been no advance against Hays at Fredericksburg, [204] and Sedgwick had halted with his whole force and formed line on the river, occupying with his advance force the road from which Colonel Penn had been driven.

We regained our former lines without trouble about ten or eleven o'clock at night, throwing out skirmishers towards the River road. Barksdale occupied his old position and Hays' returned during the night to the right of my line. The night passed quietly on the right after my return except some picket firing on the front, but, just before daybreak on the morning of the 3rd, I was informed by General Barksdale that the enemy had thrown a bridge across at Fredericksburg and was moving into the town. The General had ridden to see me in person to request reinforcements, and I ordered Hays' brigade to return to the left as soon as possible, directing General Barksdale to post the brigade where it was needed, as he understood the ground thoroughly. In reply to a question from me, he informed me that the crossing had not been resisted by his regiment, which had retired skirmishing on the approach of the enemy, as the struggle was deemed useless, and it undoubtedly would have been. This was a mistake about the bridge being laid at that time, but it was a very natural one, as Sedgwick moved a portion of his force up the river into the town, while doubtless preparations were making for laying down the bridge early in the morning.

Barksdale's brigade was then posted as follows: the 21st Mississippi Regiment occupied the trenches on Marye's Hill between Marye's house and, the Plank road; the 18th, the stone wall at the foot of the hill, where it was subsequently reinforced by three companies from the 21st; the 17th, the trenches on the front slope of Lee's Hill; and the 13th, the trenches further to the right. Squires' battery of the Washington Artillery was posted in the works on Marye's Hill, and the rest of Pendleton's guns on Lee's Hill on the front crest and at positions further to the right, so as to cover the interval between the hills and the upper part of Deep [205] Run. There were no troops on the left of the Plank road along the crest overlooking the canal. Very soon after daylight, the head of Sedgwick's column, which had moved up during the night from below, emerged from the town and advanced against the defences at Marye's Hill, but was repulsed by the fire of Barksdale's infantry and the artillery posted there.

When it became sufficiently light to see, it was discovered by us that the opposite bank of the river was bare of troops and it was very apparent that the enemy's whole force lately confronting us on that side was across for the purpose of a serious move, and the question was as to where it would be made. The heaviest force in view was in front of the crossing below the mouth of Deep Run, and there were at that point a number of pieces of artillery. The enemy, however, was also demonstrating against Marye's Hill with both infantry and artillery, but the mass of his infantry there was concealed from our view, and there were indications also as if he might attempt to pass up the valley of Deep Run on the left bank. The fact was that there was one division covering the bridge, one between Deep Run and Hazel Run, and one masked in Fredericksburg. The skirmishers from my division succeeded in getting to the River road on the right, but the position next Deep Run was held by too strong a force to be dislodged.

Very shortly after light the enemy commenced demonstrating at Deep Run as if to turn the left of my division held by Hoke's brigade, and threw bodies of troops up the ravine formed by the high banks of the run, while there were demonstrations also on the left bank of the run. Latimer opened with his guns on the ravine and the advancing bodies of infantry where they could be seen; but a considerable body succeeded in getting up to that part of the railroad next to the run and took position behind it, where they were protected against the fire of our artillery. The enemy opened with two or three batteries on Latimer's guns, and there ensued a [206] brisk artillery duel. Andrews brought Graham's and Brown's guns from the right to replace Latimer's Napoleons, and also Carpenter's two rifles to take position with Latimer's two, and the firing was continued for some time, as well against the enemy's infantry as against his artillery. Finally Smith's brigade, which was on the right of Hoke's, moved out and dislodged the infantry which had taken position behind the railroad embankment, and as it retired the artillery played on it. This ended the demonstrations at Deep Run, and soon heavy bodies of infantry were seen passing up towards Fredericksburg, upon which Andrews' batteries opened.

I had remained on the right with my division, as I knew that that was the weakest part of our line, and I was very apprehensive that the enemy would attempt to cut my force in two by moving up Deep Run, which would have been the most dangerous move to us he could have made. I, however, kept a lookout upon the movements above and was in constant communication with Generals Barksdale and Pendleton, from whom I received several reports that they had repulsed all the attacks upon their position, and thought they could hold it. Shortly after sunrise, and after the repulse of the first attack on Barksdale's position, Gibbon's division, of the enemy's 2nd corps, was crossed over into Fredericksburg on the bridge which had been laid there, and it was then moved above the town for the purpose of turning the position on that flank, but this effort was balked by the canal, over which there was no bridge; it then attempted to effect the movement by repairing a bridge over the canal, the planking from which had been torn up, but Hays' brigade had arrived by that time, and four of his regiments filed into the trenches on the left of the Plank road just in time to thwart this attempt, and another made shortly afterwards to cross the canal at the upper end of the same division.

Hays' brigade had had a long distance to march in order to avoid the enemy, and when it arrived General [207] Barksdale placed one of the regiments, the 6th Louisiana, Colonel Monaghan, on his right in the trenches near what was known as the Howison house, and the other four were sent to man the trenches along the crest of the hills on the left of the Plank road, where they arrived just in time to thwart the attempt to cross the canal as before stated. The enemy's guns from the north side of the river, as well as from positions on the south side above and below the town, continued to fire upon the positions occupied by Barksdale's men and our artillery, but the latter generally reserved its fire for the infantry.

An attempt to turn the right of the position by the right bank of Hazel Run was repulsed by Pendleton's artillery and every effort to get possession of the heights was baffled and repulsed until after 11 A. M., when two large attacking columns of a division each were formed, one of the divisions from below being brought up for that purpose. One of these columns moved against Marye's Hill and the other,against Lee's Hill, both at the same time, while Gibbon's division demonstrated against the heights above with storming parties in front. The column that moved against Marye's Hill, consisting of Newton's division, made its attack on the famous stone wall defended by a regiment and three companies, and its storming parties were twice broken and driven back in disorder by the gallant little band that held that position, but constantly returning to the attack with overwhelming numbers the enemy finally succeeded in carrying the work, after having sustained terrible slaughter.2 Then passing around the foot of the hill a [208] portion of the attacking column came up in the rear, capturing Squires' guns (which had been fought to the last minute), and along with them the Captain and his company.

The column sent against Lee's Hill did not succeed in carrying it by assault, but was kept at bay until Marye's Hill had fallen, when the position being untenable, the regiments defending it were withdrawn up the hill, and the enemy was thus able to take possession of that also. The artillery on both hills had done good service in aiding to repel all the previous assaults and to resist this. The companies of the 21st Mississippi in the trenches on the left of Marye's Hill were compelled to retire to prevent being surrounded and captured, as were also Hays' regiments in the trenches further to the left, the latter being compelled to cross the Plank road higher up, as their retreat on the Telegraph road was cut off. The enemy got on Hays' flank and rear before he was aware the hill on his right was taken, and the consequence was that he lost a few prisoners. He succeeded, however, in making good his retreat.

General Barksdale partially rallied his regiments and made obstinate resistance to the enemy's advance on the Telegraph road, falling back gradually before the large force opposing him. The greater portion of the guns on Lee's Hill were carried off, but some were lost because the horses belonging to them had been carried to the rear to be out of reach of the enemy's shells, and could not be got up in time to carry off the pieces. Ten guns were lost in all, including those taken at Marye's Hill, but two were subsequently recovered, making our final loss in that respect eight pieces.

Wilcox's brigade was above at Banks' Ford, but not under my command, and was about to move up to Chancellorsville, but hearing that the enemy was advancing up the river, General Wilcox hurried to the vicinity of Taylor's house at the extreme left of the line with two pieces of artillery and sixty men, and putting his guns [209] in position, opened with effect on a portion of Gibbon's division when it was trying to effect a crossing of the canal at the upper end. He then detained his brigade, and subsequently started a regiment to Barksdale's assistance at his request, but before it arrived Marye's Hill had been taken and it therefore retired. General Wilcox subsequently did good service in resisting the enemy's advance up the Plank road.

While these events were transpiring above, I was near the left of the line occupied by my division, and in a position from which I could observe a good deal of the movements, but could not see Marye's Hill very well. After what was supposed to be the enemy's effort to move up Deep Run and thus break our lines had been thwarted, and when I saw the infantry moving up towards Fredericksburg, I sent one of my aides, Lieutenant Callaway, to Lee's Hill, to give notice to Generals Barksdale and Pendleton and to ascertain how they were getting on. After he had been gone some time, I became uneasy and determined to ride up myself.

While I was on my way some one came galloping up in my rear and stated that some person below had seen the enemy's troops and flag go up on Marye's Hill. I did not think this could be so, but rode on rapidly, hoping that the statement was untrue. I soon met a courier from General Pendleton with a note stating that they had so far repulsed any attack and could hold their position. This relieved me for an instant, but in a few minutes Lieutenant Callaway came galloping with the information that the enemy certainly had carried the heights, and that he had seen his attacking column ascending them at Marye's house, a very few minutes after parting with Generals Barksdale and Pendleton, who were on Lee's Hill and who had just stated to him that they thought they could hold the position.

I at once sent an order to General Gordon, who occupied my right, to move up as soon as possible with three of his regiments over the road I was following, which was [210] the nearest practicable one. I then galloped to the Telegraph road, and soon met Pendleton's artillery going rapidly to the rear, and ordered it to be halted. Going on I found General Barksdale on the ridge immediately in rear of Lee's Hill rallying his men and skirmishing with the enemy who had ascended the hill, and before whom they were retiring gradually but obstinately. Barksdale's men were rather scattered, but the 6th Louisiana had retired in good order and I directed it to form a line, and Barksdale to halt and get his men in line, which he did. I also ordered a battery of artillery to be brought forward into action and soon one was by my side and unlimbered but did not fire.

There was a line of the enemy in front a few hundred yards on the crest of the hill, and I turned to the officer commanding the battery and asked him why he did not fire, to which he replied, “I have no ammunition, sir.” I ordered another to be brought forward, and a battery of Howitzers, from Cabell's battalion, was brought up and opened with canister. The enemy's advance had been checked by the demonstration, but he soon brought up some artillery and opened on us at short range with shrapnel and canister, and I ordered the line to retire a short distance, which it did in good order, taking up another position. In this manner we continued to retire along the Telegraph road from point to point, taking advantage of favorable portions of the ground to make a stand until the enemy ceased to pursue. I then ordered General Barksdale to take position at Cox's house, about two miles in rear of Lee's Hill, where the first crossroad leaves the Telegraph road to get into the Plank road, and to establish Hays (to whom I had sent a message to come around to the Telegraph road) on the line, as well as Gordon's regiments, when they arrived.

By obtaining possession of Lee's Hill, the enemy had obtained a position from which he could completely enfilade my line on the right, and as soon as the foregoing arrangements were made, I rode rapidly to the [211] right and threw back the troops there into a second line which had been previously prepared in the rear, and which was not enfiladed; and Colonel Andrews was ordered to take position with all of his guns on the ridge at the head of the Deep Run valley, so as to protect the left flank of my division and the right of Barksdale's line.

All these movements were made without molestation from the enemy. Of course I did not know what the purposes of the enemy were, and took my measures to provide as well as I could for any emergency that might present itself. I had met Gordon with his three regiments immediately after leaving Barksdale, and directed him to join the latter. After making the dispositions on the right, I rode back to Barksdale's position and found his line established with Hays and Gordon in position.

It had been now ascertained that the enemy was moving up the Plank road, and I rode out to a position across Hazel Run, from which I could see the moving columns and discovered that it was moving very slowly, and that it finally halted. Lieutenant Pitzer, one of my aides, had been at Lee's Hill when the heights were carried, and knowing the importance of the affair to General Lee, had gone at once to give him the information, as he knew that it would be some time before I could be informed so as to send a messenger myself, and thus judiciously anticipated me in putting General Lee on his guard.

While the events thus detailed were transpiring on the line occupied by me, a great battle had been fought between General Lee's forces and the main body of Hooker's army. Hooker had crossed the river above and concentrated four corps at Chancellorsville in a strong position, and Anderson's division of Longstreet's corps, Longstreet himself being still absent with two of his divisions, had watched the movement of the enemy and resisted his column, taking position on the Plank road at Tabernacle Church. McLaws' division and the [212] three divisions of Jackson's corps had moved up during the night of the 30th of April and the morning of the 1st of May and united with Anderson. Our troops had thus moved forward on the Plank road and the stone turnpike, Anderson's and McLaws' divisions in front, and Jackson's divisions following Anderson's on the Plank road, and had driven an advanced line of the enemy back to within a mile of Chancellorsville upon his main force.

Early on the morning of the 2nd, Anderson's and McLaws' divisions, with the exception of Wilcox's brigade of Anderson's division, which had been sent back to Banks' Ford, and Barksdale's brigade of McLaws' division which was at Fredericksburg, were left to confront the enemy on the side next to Fredericksburg, and Jackson moved with his three divisions, by a circuitous route to the left, to gain the rear of the enemy's right. Late in the afternoon, General Jackson reached the rear of the enemy's right flank about three miles beyond Chancellorsville, and with Rodes in front-followed by Colston with Trimble's division, and A. P. Hill,--advanced at once with great vigor, driving the enemy before him, carrying position after position, routing entirely one corps, and capturing a number of guns and prisoners, until his advance was arrested by the abattis in front of the central position near Chancellorsville. Night had come on by this time, and General Jackson ordered A. P. Hill's division, which was following in rear of the other two, to the front to take the place of the latter. He himself went to the front to reconnoitre for the purpose of ordering another advance, and, having sent an order to Hill to press on, while returning in the darkness was shot and dangerously wounded 3 under an unfortunate mistake, by a part of Hill's advancing troops. General [213] A. P. Hill was soon after disabled and the advance was thus arrested.

When Jackson's guns opened, our troops on the right pressed the enemy's left heavily to prevent any troops being sent from that flank against Jackson, but no attack in front was made then and night put an end to the operations in that quarter. Hooker had been joined during the day by the 1st corps brought up from opposite [214] Fredericksburg, but at the close of the fight his lines had been very much contracted, and his troops on his right greatly scattered; and early in the night he telegraphed to Sedgwick to cross the river and move up to Chancellorsville on the Plank road, which dispatch found Sedgwick already across.

General Jackson had been entirely disabled by his wound, and General A. P. Hill was so injured as to be unable to command in the field. Brigadier General Rodes [215] was the officer next in rank, but having a very natural hesitation to assume the responsibility of so large and important a command, Major General Stuart of the cavalry, who was operating in connection with General Jackson, was requested to assume command, which he did. During the night the enemy strengthened his contracted line with breastworks and abattis, and strongly fortified other positions in his rear nearer the Rappahannock. [216]

Early in the morning of the 3rd, Stuart renewed the attack with Jackson's division on the left, while Anderson pressed forward with his right resting on the Plank road, and McLaws demonstrated on the right. The enemy was forced back from numerous strongholds until Anderson's left connected with Stuart's right, when the whole line attacked with irresistible force, driving the enemy from all his fortified positions around Chancellorsville with very heavy loss, and forcing him to retreat to the [217] new fortifications nearer the Rappahannock. By ten o'clock A. M. General Lee was in full possession of Chancellorsville and the field of battle. He then proceeded to reorganize his troops for an advance against the enemy's new position, to which the latter had been able to retreat under shelter of the dense woods, which covered all the ground, and also rendered an advance by our troops in line of battle very difficult and hazardous.

General Lee had just completed his arrangements to renew the attack, when he received the Intelligence of the capture of Marye's Hill by Sedgwick's force and the [218] advance of his column; and he found it necessary to look after the new opponent. Sedgwick had moved up the Plank road held by Wilcox's brigade, which gradually retired, and finally made a stand at Salem Church on the Plank road, about five miles from Fredericksburg, when, by a gallant resistance, the head of the column was held at bay until the arrival of McLaws with four brigades, and the further advance of the enemy was effectually opposed. 4

It will be thus seen of what importance to General Lee's own movements were those below at Fredericksburg, and how the capture of the heights in rear of the two affected him. A force of at least 30,000 men had been detained from Hooker's army by considerably less than 10,000 on our side. It is true that Sedgwick had finally broken through the force opposed to him and commenced an advance up towards the rear of General Lee's army, but he had not done so until the latter had had time to gain a brilliant victory, and drive Hooker to a position of defence from which he could not advance except under great disadvantages.

Sedgwick's column had thus been detained by Wilcox until a force was brought down to arrest its progress entirely, and time was given to make arrangements to fall upon Sedgwick while separated from the rest of Hooker's army. Barksdale's brigade and the artillery posted with it had resisted all assaults upon their position for at least six hours, thus giving General Lee the requisite time to gain his victory, and in being finally [219] compelled to succumb to overwhelming numbers that brigade had lost no honor. It was impossible for me to reinforce Barksdale with a larger force than I sent to him, and I then weakened very much the defences on the right. Had Sedgwick communicated his purposes to me and informed me that he would assault Marye's and Lee's Hills and those positions alone, then I would have moved my whole force to those points and held them against his entire force.

As it was, a division of Sedgwick's corps larger than my own immediately confronted the position occupied by the three brigades of my division left after Hays had been sent to Barksdale, and if that position had been abandoned and the brigades defending it moved to the left, the division confronting it, and which was constantly demonstrating towards it, would have moved up, taken possession of the line, and then moved upon my rear, compelling me to abandon the works on the left practically without a struggle, or submit to a much greater disaster than that which occurred. Sedgwick would hardly have been so blind as to rush his troops up against the strong positions at Marye's and Lee's Hill's while defended by a force sufficiently large to hold them, when there would have been an easy way open to him for their capture and that of the whole force defending them by simply moving a portion of troops to the rear. Marye's Hill would have fallen much sooner than it did, if it had been occupied by my whole force, or if a force sufficiently strong to prevent the position from being turned had not been retained on the right. By holding the position on the right, therefore, the fall of Marye's Hill and the consequent advance of Sedgwick's column above were both very considerably retarded, and when the catastrophe did happen there was left a considerable force to threaten and fall upon Sedgwick's rear. I think I may claim that the force entrusted to my command had accomplished all that could reasonably [220] have been expected of it under the circumstances in which it was placed.

I will now return to my own position. Just as I was returning from observing Sedgwick's column I encountered, at Hazel Run, one of General McLaws' staff officers, Major Costin, coming down under an escort of cavalry, and he informed me that General McLaws had moved down the Plank road to meet the enemy, and that General Lee wished him and myself to attack Sedgwick in conjunction and endeavor to overwhelm him, and there was a note or message from General McLaws requesting information as to my position and that of the enemy, and asking what place I proposed, for attacking the enemy.

I think there was a note received later from General Lee communicating his wishes in regard to the proposed attack, similar to information brought by Major Costinat any rate the information of his views and wishes was brought by Lieutenant Pitzer on his return. It was about an hour before sunset when Major Costin reached me, and that part of my division on the right was more than three miles from the position at Cox's, so that it was impossible to accomplish anything that night. I immediately sent a note to General McLaws informing him that I would concentrate all my force that night and move against the enemy very early next morning, drive him from Lee's and Marye's Hills, and extend my left while advancing so as to connect with his (McLaws') right, and continue to move against the enemy above, after his connection with Fredericksburg was severed; and I asked General McLaws' co-operation in this plan. During the night, I received a note from him assenting to my plan and containing General Lee's approval of it also.

As soon as the first communication had been received from General McLaws, my troops from the right were ordered up, but it was after night before they were all concentrated. Andrews' artillery was brought up before [221] night, one battery being left on the ridge so as to cover my right flank on the line across the Telegraph road, and a regiment of infantry being posted so as to guard against a surprise on that flank, if the enemy should move around Lee's Hill up the left of Deep Run. Just before dark, we discovered a piece of artillery advancing along the Telegraph road in our front, followed by a few wagons. The men in charge of the piece of artillery came on so deliberately, though in full view of our line, that we took it for granted that it must be one of the pieces supposed to be captured, with a forge or two, that had been probably able to elude the vigilance of the enemy by concealment in some of the ravines.

The approaching darkness rendered objects very indistinct, and we therefore watched the approaching piece until it got within a few hundred yards of us, when the drivers suddenly discovered who we were, wheeled rapidly and dashed to the rear, and we became then aware that it was one of the enemy's pieces. Some of Andrews' guns which were ready opened fire, but the piece of artillery got off, though some of the mules to a wagon and to a forge were killed, and we found and secured the latter the next day with several fine mules.

The night passed quietly with us, and at light on the morning of the 4th I prepared to advance. My plan was to advance along the Telegraph road with Gordon's brigade in line in front, followed by Andrews' battalion of artillery and Graham's battery, with Smith's and Barksdale's brigades following in the rear, forming a second line, and to throw Hays' and Hoke's brigades across Hazel Run opposite my present position so as to move down the left bank, as the column moved along the Telegraph road against the heights, both of which I took it for granted the enemy held, as the affair just at dusk the evening before must have given him notice of my presence.

It was my purpose, as soon as the heights were taken and the enemy's connection with Fredericksburg cut, to [222] advance with Gordon's and Smith's brigades up the Plank road and river, and for Hays and Hoke to advance across towards the Plank road extending to the left to connect with McLaws, while Barksdale's brigade and some of Pendleton's artillery should be posted to hold Marye's and Lee's Hills and protect my rear from the direction of Fredericksburg. The ravine of Hazel Run is so rugged that it was impossible to cross it except where there were roads, and therefore it was necessary to pass Hays' and Hoke's brigades over at the ford on my left.

Gordon's brigade was placed in line at light, and Andrews' artillery immediately in its rear, while Smith and Barksdale were ordered to take their positions and be in readiness to follow. I then went with General Hays and Hoke, whose brigades were put in motion, across Hazel Run to point out to them the positions they were to take and how they were to move. After doing this, I rode back and found to my surprise that Gordon had moved off under a misapprehension of my order, as he was to have waited until all was ready, and I designed accompanying him. Andrews had followed him and I immediately put Smith and Barksdale in motion, the former along the road by flank, and Barksdale in line of battle on the right.

The line of hills composed of Marye's, Cemetery, Stansbury's, and Taylor's Hills descends towards the Marye's Hill, which is the lowest, Taylor's, bordering on the river at the upper end of the canal, being much the highest. Stansbury's, Cemetery, and Marye's Hills are separated from a higher range on the southwest by a very small stream which rises between Taylor's Hill and the Plank road and runs across that road into Hazel Run, some distance above the crossing of the Telegraph road over that run. Cemetery and Marye's Hills slope back gradually to the little stream, and from the latter, on the southwest, rise steep hills terminating in a high, wide ridge, along which the Plank road runs; and the face of these hills fronting towards Cemetery [223] and Marye's Hills is intersected by a number of deep ravines, up one of which the Plank road ascends to get on the main ridge. On the south side of the road and a little distance from it the main ridge terminates in a high hill which descends abruptly to Hazel Run, the face towards the run being wooded. At the lower front of the base of this hill is a mill called the Alum Spring Mill. Just at the upper part of the base of the hill a branch of Hazel Run comes in, uniting with the main stream. This branch rises some distance above near the Plank road, and runs nearly parallel to it, through a deep valley to its junction with the main stream.

On the south of this valley is another long wide ridge which extends for some distance parallel to that along which the Plank road runs and also terminates with an abrupt descent to Hazel Run. On the south of the Plank road, and on the same ridge with it, is situated Mr. Guest's house some two or three miles from Fredericksburg, and nearly opposite to it on the other ridge is Mr. Downman's house. On the extremities of the lesser ridges, projecting out from that on which the Plank road is located, was a line of small works and epaulments for artillery, extending from the river at Taylor's Hill to and across the Plank road, which had been previously made by our troops, and this line completely commanded the crests and rear slopes of Marye's, Cemetery and Stansbury's Hills, being much higher.

The Plank road crosses the little stream, with a high embankment extending for some distance on both sides, the stream passing through a culvert. The Telegraph road passes towards Fredericksburg from Cox's house, where I was, along a ridge to Lee's Hill and descends the hill on the side of the slope next to Hazel Run.

Gordon, when he started, advanced rapidly along the Telegraph road, and when he reached Lee's Hill, it was found unoccupied, but a body of infantry was moving along the Plank road from the town between Marye's [224] Hill and the ridge above, which halted and took position behind the embankment of the road. In the valley between Guest's and Downman's houses, was observed a considerable body of infantry, and at Downman's house a battery of artillery. Gordon threw out his skirmishers and made preparations to descend the hill and cross over Hazel Run above Marye's Hill. Andrews placed Graham's battery in position on the road and opened on the infantry in the valley, which moved out of the way. Two large bodies of infantry, supposed to be brigades, each then moved over the ridge just beyond the Alum Spring Mill, threatening Gordon's left, as he was advancing. Graham turned his guns on them and soon drove them off up the ridge. Gordon then made a dash across the run and after a sharp engagement drove off the infantry behind the road embankment, capturing some prisoners and securing several baggage and subsistence wagons, a battery wagon, and a forge-with their teams,--which were passing up the road with the infantry he encountered.

This gave us the possession of Marye's and Cemetery Hills again, and cut the enemy's connection with Fredericksburg. Arriving soon after with Smith's brigade I threw it across Hazel Run to the support of Gordon, the batteries from the Stafford Heights opening a heavy fire on it as it descended Lee's Hill. Barksdale's brigade, which had halted in the rear without orders, was then sent for, to occupy the stone wall at the foot of Marye's Hill, and General Barksdale was ordered to move rapidly into the town if not held by too large a force, get possession of the bridge, and secure a camp of wagons seen at the lower part of the town. When Graham's guns were operating upon the bodies of infantry in the valley between Guest's and Downmann's houses and those threatening Gordon's flank, the enemy's battery-at Downman's house,--opened fire on them, but as soon as the infantry was disposed of, Graham turned his two 20 pounder Parrots on the enemy's guns, which returned [225] across the valley and took position near Guest's house where they were out of reach.

Seeing the enemy's wagons moving off from the town and not hearing Barksdale's rifles, I sent a staff officer to repeat the orders, and received a reply that he was preparing to send forward his skirmishers; a second messenger sent to him returned with the information that his skirmishers reported a heavy force holding the town, entrenched within rifle pits. The enemy's wagon trains had thus made their escape, and I sent orders to Barksdale to desist from the attack on the town and to dispose of his brigade so as to resist any advance from that direction. It turned out that the town was held by Gibbon's division which had been left behind.

I had listened anxiously to hear the sound of McLaws' guns or some indication of his being engaged, but heard nothing. The enemy had not expected us in this direction, and he was therefore evidently taken by surprise, but Gordon's advance, which was so handsomely made, being sooner than I had intended, had given the enemy time to form his troops in line, to meet any further advance I could make after my arrival; and as the character of the ground was such that considerable bodies of troops could be concealed from my view from any point that was accessible to me, I could not tell what force I would have to encounter on ascending the hills above.

I could see that all the little works on the heights were occupied by infantry, making a line extending across from Taylor's Hill to the brow of the hill beyond and above the Alum Spring Mill. Gordon's and Smith's brigades had taken position in the trenches along the crests from the Plank road towards Taylor's Hill, facing towards the enemy above and with their backs towards Fredericksburg. The enemy did not open then with artillery, and as they were very much exposed, I thought possibly he did not have any on that flank, and I therefore determined to feel him and make him develop what he had. [226]

Smith was ordered to advance his brigade towards the heights occupied by the enemy above; two regiments, the 13th and 58th Virginia, advanced against one of the positions which appeared to be occupied by the strongest force, and the 49th and 52nd separately against other points. The regiments advanced to the base of the hills and commenced ascending, when the enemy appeared in force on their crests, and also opened with artillery from the neighborhood of Taylor's house. The 13th and 58th Regiments became heavily engaged, and the 49th and 52nd slightly.

It was now apparent that the hills were held in strong force, and as an attempt to carry them from that direction, as my troops were then located, would have been under great disadvantage and attended with great difficulty, I ordered the regiments to be withdrawn. The 49th and 52nd were withdrawn without difficulty and with but slight loss, the 13th and 58th being on the right and more exposed to the enemy's guns were withdrawn with more difficulty and heavier loss. The 13th lost 17 prisoners and 58th 71, including the color bearer of the latter with his colors, the most of the men captured, including the color bearer of the 58th, taking refuge in a house at the foot of the hill, under the fire of the enemy's guns as well as his infantry, and declining to fall back over the plain while exposed to the fire of the artillery.

They were thus captured by their own misconduct, the enemy sending to take possession of them, which I could not prevent without bringing on a heavy engagement under disadvantageous circumstances, and thus incurring a much heavier loss of men. The brigade resumed its position after this affair, and I sent Lieutenant Pitzer to General McLaws to apprise him of what had been done and my position, with a request for him to begin his attack on the enemy and the information that I could move two brigades, Hays' and Hoke's, across towards the Plank road extending to the left as they [227] advanced to connect with his right, and, as soon as the enemy was engaged so as to make it practicable, I would move up from below with my other two brigades, Gordon's and Smith's; Hays' and Hoke's brigades had moved down the left bank of Hazel Run and were put in position to co-operate with McLaws' attack, when made, by moving across the ridge on which Downman's house was located, and orders were given them accordingly. General McLaws did not make the attack, and Lieutenant Pitzer returned with the information that Anderson's division was coming down, and with instruction for me to wait until he was in position, when at a signal given by firing three guns rapidly in succession, a simultaneous attack should be made by the whole force.

When Anderson's force began to arrive, I was able to draw Hays and Hoke nearer to my right, and I therefore brought Hays' brigade across the branch of Hazel Run, which has been mentioned, and put his brigade in line at the foot of the hill near Alum Spring Mill, so that it might move up the wooded face of the hill on to the plain above, which was occupied by a part of the enemy's force. Hoke's brigade was placed in line just in the edge of the woods on the rear slope of the lower end of the ridge on which Downman's house was, facing towards the Plank road, concealed from the view of the enemy, as was Hays'.

General Lee came down himself before the signal was given, and sent for me to meet him towards my left. We examined the position of the enemy together, as well as we could, and I explained to him my plan of attacking with my force, which was, for Hays to move up the hill at foot of which he was and directly forward, which would carry him to the Plank road, and up on the right side; for Hoke to move over the ridge below Downman's house and across the valley to the other ridge, as far as the Plank road, where he was to change direction so as to move up on the left of the road; and when the signal was heard, Gordon was to move rapidly by the flank to [228] the ravine up which the Plank road runs, and then diagonally towards Taylor's house so as to sweep all the crests in front of him and Smith as they were then posted, and turn the enemy's left which rested near the river. Smith was to remain stationary so as to reinforce the brigades engaged, or Barksdale as might be necessary. General Lee approved my plan and directed me to carry it out as soon as the signal should be given, and then left me.

Sedgwick's line covered the Plank road for some distance on the south side; being in the centre along the ridge or plateau on which the road is located, and bending back across it with both flanks which rested near the river, above and below. Guest's house was in his line and some artillery was posted near it, while Downman's house, and the ridge on which it was located were occupied by his skirmishers. In advance of the part of the line facing towards me, which was his left wing, there was an advanced line occupying the crests of the hills towards me, extending across from Taylor's Hill to the lower end of the valley which has been mentioned, with artillery posted near the left of this advanced line.

The plateau, on the ridge where Downman's house was located, was entirely cleared of timber below the house, as was the valley between the two ridges. The ridge along which the Plank road runs was cleared on the south side of it, and from the direction of Fredericksburg up to within a short distance below Guest's house, from which point bodies of woodland extended up the road for some distance and across towards Taylor's house, with occasional intervals of cleared land.

We waited for the signal, but it was not given until a short time before sunset. When it was heard, Hoke moved at once across the plateau in his front between Downman's house and Hazel Run, then down the slope, across the valley, and up the steep ascent of the next ridge towards the Plank road, driving the enemy's [229] skirmishers before him, while the guns at Guest's house played upon his advancing line without disturbing his beautiful order. Hays rapidly ascended the hill in front, immediately encountering the right of the enemy's front line, which he swept before him, and continued his advance without a halt. It was a splendid sight to see the rapid and orderly advance of these two brigades, with the enemy flying before them. The officers and men manning the artillery which had been posted on eminences along the Telegraph road and on the right bank of Hazel Run so as to protect the infantry retreat in case of disaster, debarred from an active participation in the action, could not refrain from enthusiastically cheering the infantry, as it so handsomely swept everything in front.

In the meantime Gordon, as soon as the signal was heard, moved his brigade by flank rapidly to the Plank road, formed in line up the ravine and swept on towards Taylor's house, clearing the crests of the enemy, compelling his artillery on that flank to retire rapidly and driving the enemy's extreme left from its position back towards Banks' Ford. On getting near the point of woods below Guest's house, Hays' and Hoke's brigades approached each other. The artillery at Guest's house had been compelled to fly in order to prevent capture, and the enemy was retiring in confusion on all parts of the line confronting them and Gordon, but just then Hoke fell from his horse, with his arm badly shattered by a ball near the shoulder joint.

The brigade thus losing its commander, to whom alone the instruction had been given, and without any one to direct its movement at that particular crisis, pushed on across the Plank road, encountered Hays' brigade in the woods still advancing, and the two commingling together were thrown into confusion. They crossed each other's paths in this condition, but still continued to advance, getting far into the woods. Hays' brigade pressed on in its proper direction, but Hoke's, [230] now under the command of Colonel Avery of the 6th North Carolina, had got to its right. The regiments of both brigades had lost their organization, and in the woods it was impossible to restore it. Portions of both brigades penetrated a considerable distance into the woods, still driving the enemy before them, but when scattered they came across a portion of the retiring force which had been rallied, and the advance parties were compelled to retire themselves, leaving some prisoners in the enemy's hands, many of whom had become so exhausted by their rapid advance that they were unable to get out of the way, and were picked up after the fighting was over. Other portions of the brigades, hearing Gordon's firing on the right and not aware of his movements, thought the enemy was in their rear and retired also. The brigades were then rallied and reformed on the Plank road just below Guest's house. I had taken my position on the heights near the Telegraph road opposite the Alum Spring Mill, from which point I could see the movement of all three brigades, and when I discovered them all in motion and driving the enemy as described, I rode across Hazel Run in the direction taken by Hays' brigade.

I arrived just as the first men of that brigade were emerging from the woods, and directed the re-formation of the two brigades. Two regiments of Smith's brigade, the 49th and 52nd, were ordered up, but when, they arrived and the two brigades had been reorganized it had become too dark to make any further advance, and I did not hear either of the other two divisions engaged. Gordon's progress was also arrested by the approach of night, and he halted and assumed a position above Taylor's house confronting the enemy's left, which he had driven back very considerably. Hays' and Hoke's brigades were put in line of battle across the Plank road, at the point where they had been rallied, with Smith's two regiments advanced to the front.

McLaws' division had not advanced at all. Anderson's [231] division had advanced on Hoke's left, driving the enemy's skirmishers, fronting his centre, from Downman's house and the upper part of the ridge, but it did not cross to the Plank road until dark, when I saw Posey's brigade moving up the hill on my, then, left from the direction of Downman's house, and it took position above me on the Plank road, the enemy having retired from that road. Wright's brigade was subsequently moved across to the Plank road at eight or nine o'clock and took position on Posey's left. The main attack had been made by my three brigades.5 [232]

After dark General Lee sent for me to go to him at Downman's house, where he had established his head-. quarters for the night. After informing him of the condition of things on my front, he directed me to leave two of my brigades in line on the north of the road, at right angles with it and facing the enemy, and to reinforce [233] Barksdale at Fredericksburg with the other two. Hoke's brigade was moved to the right and placed on line with Gordon's on its left, and Hays' brigade was moved back and placed in the trenches at Lee's Hill on Barksdale's right, and Smith's two regiments rejoined the others and took position in the trenches on the left of the Plank road overlooking the canal.

During the night General Barksdale reported to me, once by his aide and once in person, that the enemy was crossing troops and artillery into the town, and asked for more reinforcements. I told him I had no doubt the enemy was recrossing and would be gone in the morning, and that I had no more reinforcements to give him. When it became light the enemy was gone from the town and his bridge was taken up. Sedgwick had also recrossed during the night his whole force on bridges laid at Banks' Ford and nothing remained on the south bank but Hooker's force above. Some of McLaws' brigades had advanced toward Banks' Ford during the night, picking up some prisoners, and some pieces of artillery had opened on the enemy's bridge as he was recrossing. Posey's and Wright's brigades had also advanced towards Banks' Ford, picking up some prisoners. Next morning a number of prisoners were gathered who had been left behind when the main force crossed, some of them being taken on the river by detachments from Gordon's brigade.

On the 5th, after it had been ascertained that all of Sedgwick's force was gone, I was ordered to move up the Plank road towards Chancellorsville, leaving Barksdale at Fredericksburg. I moved up to the vicinity of Salem Church, and was halted, remaining there some time, when I was ordered to return to my old position. In doing so my brigades were heavily shelled by the enemy's batteries from across the river, as they were crossing Hazel Run to the Telegraph road. Smith's brigade was left with Barksdale in the position it had occupied the night before, and the others moved to their [234] former positions, which they regained in the morning, in a tremendous storm of rain.

General Lee had moved all his troops back to oppose Hooker, who had been confronted during the operations against Sedgwick by Jackson's three divisions alone, but on the morning of the 6th, he was found gone also, having recrossed under cover of the storm and darkness of the previous night. The whole army then returned to its former camps, and Hooker resumed his position opposite Fredericksburg.

My loss in the different actions around Fredericksburg at this time was, in my own division, 125 killed and 721 wounded, total 846; in Andrews' artillery 7 killed and 21 wounded, total 28; in Barksdale's brigade 45 killed and 181 wounded, total 226.

A little over 500 prisoners were lost in my division, more than half of which were lost in resisting the crossing at the enemy's lower bridge; from Hays' brigade at the time of the fall of Marye's Hill; and from Smith's brigade in forcing the enemy's position on the morning of the 4th; and the residue from Hays' and Hoke's brigades in the attack on Sedgwick above Fredericksburg. Barksdale's brigade lost a little over 300 prisoners captured from the 17th and 21st Mississippi Regiments at Marye's Hill. General Lee's entire loss in killed and wounded was 1,581 killed and 8,700 wounded. Hooker's loss far exceeded it in killed and wounded, and we secured several thousand prisoners, thirteen pieces of artillery, over twenty thousand stand of arms, besides a large amount of ammunition, accoutrements, etc.

Hooker's army was more than double General Lee's, which did not exceed, including my force, 50,000 muskets and including all arms was under 60,000; yet Hooker, on returning to his camps, issued a general order congratulating his troops on their achievements, and stating that they had added new laurels to their former renown, though on first crossing the river he had issued an address to his troops intimating that General Lee's [235] army was then in his power and that he would proceed to destroy it.

During the operations at Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, the enemy's cavalry in large force under Stoneman, having crossed the rivers higher up, made a raid in the direction of Richmond which accomplished nothing of consequence, but merely frightened and depredated upon the unarmed country people. Stoneman's force was glad to make its escape back to its former position.

On our part, our rejoicings over the brilliant and important victory that had been gained were soon dampened by the sad news of the death of General Jackson.

1 Professor Lowe's balloon reconnaissances so signally failed on this occasion and in the operations at Chancellorsville, that they were abandoned for the rest of the war.

2 Sedgwick, in his testimony before the Congressional Committee on the War, says: “I lost a thousand men in less than ten minutes time in taking the heights of Fredericksburg.”

General Barksdale informed me that just before this final attack was made the enemy sent a flag of truce to Colonel Griffin, commanding the force behind the stone wall, asking permission to take care of his wounded lying in front under our fire, which permission was im- prudently granted by Colonel Griffin, without his knowledge, and that the weakness of the force at that point was thus discovered, and immediately afterwards the assaulting columns advanced.


Some conflicting accounts of the manner in which General Jackson was shot have been published, and as you were with him, I will be very much obliged, if you will give me all the details of the affair. With pleasant recollections of your official connection with me,

Yrs. very truly J. A. Early. Lynchburg, Feb. 12, 1873.

General J. A. early:
I give you the facts relating to the wounding of General T. J. Jackson. As the details of the battle are familiar to you, I will begin with Jackson's movements after the battle was over, and all seemed quiet, the enemy having disappeared from our immediate front, and all firing consequently having ceased. Jackson took advantage of this lull in the storm to relieve Rodes' troops (who had been fighting and steadily advancing and making repeated charges from the time the fight began), and had ordered General Hill to the front to relieve Rodes with his fresh troops, directing the change to be made as quickly as possible. We were within a half mile of the open fields near Chancellorsville, where the enemy was supposed to be strongly entrenched. While the change was being made Jackson manifested great impatience to get Hill's troops into line and ready to move promptly, and to accomplish this he sent the members of his staff with orders to Hill and other general officers to hurry up the movement. From the orders sent to General Stuart it was evident that his intention was to storm the enemy's works at Chancellorsville as soon as the lines were formed, and before the enemy recovered from the shock and confusion of the previous fighting, and to place; the left of his army between Hooker and the river. While these orders were being issued Jackson sat on his horse just in front — of the line on the pike. From this point he sent me with an order to General Hill. I galloped back and met Hill, in about 50 yards, riding along the pike towards General Jackson. I turned and rode with him to his lines, he stopping within a few feet of their front. I then rode immediately on to General Jackson, who was in sight, and only a few paces in front of Hill, just in the position I had left him. As I reached him, he sent off the only staff officer present, with orders to Hill to move forward as soon as possible, and then started slowly along the pike towards the enemy. I rode at his left side, two of my signal men just behind us, followed by couriers, etc., in columns of twos. General Jackson thought, while awaiting Hill's movements, that he would ride to the front, as far as the skirmish line, or pickets, and ascertain what could be seen or heard of the enemy and his movements,--supposing there was certainly a line of skirmishers in front, as his orders were always very imperative to keep a skirmish line in front of the line of battle. When we had ridden only a few rods and reached a point nearly opposite an old dismantled house in the woods (near the road to our right) and while I was delivering to him General Hill's reply to his order-given a few moments before,--to our great surprise our little party was fired upon by about a battalion or probably less of our troops, a little to our right and to the right of the pike, the balls passing diagonally across the pike and apparently aimed at us. There seemed to be one gun discharged, followed almost instantly by this volley. The single gun may have been discharged accidentally, but seemed to have been taken as a signal by the troops, to announce the approach of the enemy. I hardly think the troops saw us, though they could hear our horses' feet on the pike and probably fired at random in the supposed direction of the enemy. However, the origin of the firing is mere conjecture, but it came as above stated, and many of the escorts and their horses were shot down. At the firing our horses wheeled suddenly to the left and General Jackson, at whose side I rode, galloped away-followed by the few who were not dismounted by the first firing,--into the woods to get out of range of the bullets, and approached our line: a little obliquely, but had not gone over 20 steps beyond the edge of the pike, into the thicket, ere the brigade just to the left of the turnpike (on our right as we approached from the direction of the enemy), drawn up within 30 yards of us, fired a volley in their turn, kneeling on the right knee, as shown by the flash of their guns, as though prepared to guard against cavalry. By this fire General Jackson was wounded. These troops evidently mistook us for the enemy's cavalry. We could distinctly hear General Hill calling, at the top of his voice, to his troops to make them cease firing. He knew that we had just passed in front of him, as did the troops immediately on the pike, and I don't think these latter fired. I was alongside of Jackson, and saw his arm fall at his side, loosing the rein, when the volley came from the left. His horse wheeled suddenly and ran through the bushes toward the enemy. The limb of a tree took off his cap and threw him flat on the back on his horse. I rode after him, passing under the same limb, which took off my hat also, but Jackson soon regained his seat, caught the bridle in his right hand, and turning his horse towards the pike and our men, somewhat checked his speed. As he turned to the pike, it gave me the inside track, and I caught his horse as he reached the pike, which he was approaching at an acute angle. Just as I caught the reins, Captain Wynn rode up on the opposite side of him and caught hold of the reins on that side, almost simultaneously. By this time the confusion was over and all was quiet, and looking up and down the pike in every direction, no living creature could be seen save us three.

As soon as I could check Jackson's horse, I dismounted, and seeing that he was faint, I asked him what I could do for him, or if he felt able to ride as far as into our lines. He answered, “You had best take me down,” leaning, as he spoke, toward me and then falling, partially fainting from loss of blood.

I was on the side of the broken arm, while his horse had his head turned towards the enemy and about where we were when first fired upon, and would not be kept still, as he was frightened and suffering from his own wounds. As General Jackson fell over on me, I caught him in my arms, and held him until Captain Wynn could get his feet out of the stirrups, then we carried him in our arms some 10 or 15 steps north of the pike, where he was laid on the ground, resting his head in my lap, while I proceeded to dress his wounds, cutting off his coat sleeves, and binding a handkerchief tightly above and below his wound and putting his arm in a sling. Wynn went for Dr. McGuire and an ambulance, and I was left alone with him until General Hill came up. Just before Hill reached us, Jackson revived a little and asked me to have a skilful surgeon attend him. When I told him what had been done he said “Very good.”

The enemy evidently thought the firing had thrown our men into confusion and resolved to take advantage of it by making a determined attack at this time, so in a few minutes, it was announced by Lieutenant Morrison, who had joined Jackson while he was lying on the ground, and now ran up in a very excited manner, crying out, “The enemy is within 50 yards and advancing. Let us take the General away.” Jackson was still lying with his head in my lap, I had finished tying up his arm where it was broken, and asked him where his other wound was, and what I should do for that, when he replied, “In my right hand, but never mind that, it is a mere trifle.” He said nothing about the wound in his left wrist, and did not seem aware of it, doubtless owing to the fact that the arm was broken above. Upon hearing Morrison's warning, I sprang up, and said, “Let us take the General in our arms, and carry him back,” to which he replied, “No, if you will help me up, I can walk.” He had only gone a few steps, when we met a litter and placed him on it. He was being borne off on foot, supported by Captain Lee and one or two others, I walking between them and the pike, and leading three horses, trying to keep the troops, then moving down the pike, from seeing who it was, but found this impossible, and we met some men with this litter before we had gone ten steps. While placing Jackson on it, the enemy opened fire on us at short range, from a battery planted on the pike and with infantry; a terrific fire of grape, shell, minie balls, etc., and advancing at a rapid rate. Everything seemed to be seized with a panic, and taken by surprise, our line was thrown into confusion. It recoiled and for awhile continued to give way, and the enemy pressed forward. Such was the disorder that I thought that General Jackson and party would certainly fall into the hands of the enemy. The horses jerked loose, and ran in every direction, and before we proceeded fax one of the litter bearers was shot, having both of his arms broken, and General Jackson fell to the ground. As he lay there he grew faint from loss of blood, having fallen on his wounded side, and his arm began to bleed afresh. I rode away to try to get some whiskey for the purpose of reviving him, and at a short distance met Dr. McGuire and Colonel Pendleton, to whom I told what had happened, as we rode towards the place where I left Jackson. The ambulance came up; we hurried it to the front, and, reaching Jackson, placed him in it. As soon as the ambulance left, I was ordered by Colonel Pendleton, after consul- tation with General Rodes, to go to General Lee as quickly as possible and communicate the intelligence to him, explaining our position, what had been accomplished, who had taken command; and ask him to come to that place.

During the attack on our forces so many of our men had gone past us that we seemed to be left with no troops between us and the enemy, and I made up my mind to remain with the General to nurse him, as it seemed we should soon be in their hands However, the gallant Pender —— in command after the wounding of General Hill--soon rallied his line and pressed forward, driving the enemy back to his works, at which quiet was restored for th3 night, the fight having ended as suddenly as it began.

Many people have thought it strange that Jackson should give an order to troops to fire at everything, especially cavalry approaching from the direction of the enemy, and then place himself in a situation to have himself fired upon. I heard of no such order, and feel sure that none such was given. If such had been the order it would have been given to the skirmish line, and there could have been no necessity for such an order to them, as they would do this anyway.

R. E. Welbourn. (Chief Signal Officer, 2nd Army Corps, 1863, Lieutenant General Jackson, commanding.)

4 In this condition of things, Lincoln telegraphed to General Hooker's Chief of Staff, who was on the north bank near Falmouth, as follows:

War Department, Washington City, May 3, 1863.
Major General Butterfield:
Where is General Hooker? Where is Sedgwick? Where is Stoneman?

A. Lincoln. Sent 4.35 P. M.

[See report Committee on the War.]

5 The force which I encountered in front in this action was Howe's division. Brigadier General Howe testified before the Com- mittee on the Conduct of the War.

After speaking of the battle of Chancellorsville as a sharp skirmish, and claiming all the credit for capturing Marye's Hill, though his division advanced against Lee's Hill alone, and further claiming to have done all the fighting on the 4th, he says:

“ The prisoners taken all agreed that it was Early's, Anderson's, and McLaws' divisions that attacked my division, and that the move- ment was led by General Lee, who told them that it would be a good thing to destroy the 6th corps, or capture it; that it would not get out the Chancellorsville way, and that the movements in our rear would cut us off.”

It was my three brigades alone that attacked him, McLaws' division being above confronting Sedgwick's right, and Anderson's advancing against the centre. Again he says:

“ Some time after this movement, after we had returned to our old camps, I met General Hooker, and spoke to him of the movements we had made and the positions we held. I stated to him that after the fight on the 4th of May, I could have gone with my division on to the heights at Fredericksburg, and held them, or, if necessary, could have recrossed that way. He was surprised that those heights could have been held the night of the 4th, and said: ‘If I had known that you could have gone on those heights and held them, and would have held them, I would have reinforced you with the whole army.’ That was the key of the position, and there was no difficulty in holding it. I told him that if I had not received orders to go back to Banks' Ford, but had been allowed to go to the Fredericksburg heights, I could have marched there uninterruptedly after nine o'clock that night; for after the fight we had had, the rebels abandoned the heights, and there was nothing to be seen of them. There was a bright moon that night, and we could see an object of the size of a man or a horse at a great distance.”

Verily General Howe had accomplished wonders according to his own showing. He had with his solitary division routed the greater part of Lee's army, notwithstanding the rough handling it had been able to give Hooker's five corps above. Perhaps if he had made the attempt to march to the heights, he might have encountered the brigades of Gordon and Hoke which occupied a line extending from above Taylor's house towards the Plank road at Guest's house, and which had escaped his observation notwithstanding the light of the “bright moon that night.” He might also have encountered Barksdale's, Hays', and Smith's brigades holding the heights, and disturbed my own headquarters on the left of Lee's Hill, which had been assumed at 12 at night after I had ridden along his whole front with my staff at a late hour, posting Hoke's brigade on Gordon's left and examining the position of the latter. General Howe was either mistaken or he was star gazing.

Hooker, in his examination before the Congressional Committee in regard to the battle, made the following statement:

Our artillery had always been superior to that of the rebels, as was also our infantry, except in discipline, and that, for reasons not necessary to mention, never did equal Lee's army. With a rank and file mostly inferior to our own, intellectually and physically, that army has, by discipline alone, acquired a character for steadiness and efficiency unsurpassed, in my judgment, in ancient or modern times. We have not been able to rival it, nor has there been any near approximation to it in the other rebel armies.

Their artillery certainly surpassed ours far in numbers of guns, weight of metal, and the quality of the ammunition, and at long range their firing was admirable, while ours was defective from the defect in the ammunition, but when we came to close range so that our guns could tell, their gunners lost their coolness and ours surpassed them in the accuracy of the firing, always getting the advantage under such circumstances unless the odds were too great.

Hooker did not complain that he was overpowered by numbers, and he was the first of the commanders of that army who had not made that complaint.

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