Stonewall Jackson And The American Civil War
G. F. R. Henderson

Part 16 out of 19

me good-bye, with a 'God bless you, Lane!'" (1 Memoirs pages 536-7.)

On the other hand, Jackson's treatment of those who failed to obey
his orders was very different. No matter how high the rank of the
offender, Jackson never sought to screen the crime.* (* The five
regimental commanders of the Stonewall Brigade were once placed under
arrest at the same time for permitting their men to burn fence-rails;
they were not released until they had compensated the farmer.) No
thought that the public rebuke of his principal subordinates might
impair their authority or destroy their cordial relations with
himself ever stayed his hand; and it may well be questioned whether
his disregard of consequences was not too absolutely uncompromising.
Men who live in constant dread of their chief's anger are not likely
to render loyal and efficient service, and the least friction in the
higher ranks is felt throughout the whole command. When the troops
begin taking sides and unanimity disappears, the power of energetic
combination at once deteriorates. That Jackson was perfectly just is
not denied; the misconduct of his subordinates was sometimes
flagrant; but it may well be questioned whether to keep officers
under arrest for weeks, or even months, marching without their swords
in rear of the column, was wholly wise. There is but one public
punishment for a senior officer who is guilty of serious
misbehaviour, and that is instant dismissal. If he is suffered to
remain in the army his presence will always be a source of weakness.
But the question will arise, Is it possible to replace him? If he is
trusted by his men they will resent his removal, and give but
halfhearted support to his successor; so in dealing with those in
high places tact and consideration are essential. Even Dr. Dabney
admits that in this respect Jackson's conduct is open to criticism.

As already related, he looked on the blunders of his officers, if
those blunders were honest, and due simply to misconception of the
situation, with a tolerant eye. He knew too much of war and its
difficulties to expect that their judgment would be unerring. He
never made the mistake of reprehending the man who had done his best
to succeed, and contented himself with pointing out, quietly and
courteously, how failure might have been avoided. "But if he
believed," says his chief of the staff, "that his subordinates were
self-indulgent or contumacious, he became a stern and exacting
master; ...and during his career a causeless friction was produced in
the working of his government over several gallant and meritorious
officers who served under him. This was almost the sole fault of his
military character: that by this jealousy of intentional inefficiency
he diminished the sympathy between himself and the general officers
next his person by whom his orders were to be executed. Had he been
able to exercise the same energetic authority, through the medium of
a zealous personal affection, he would have been a more perfect
leader of armies."* (* Dabney volume 2 pages 519 to 520.)

This system of command was in all probability the outcome of
deliberate calculation. No officer, placed in permanent charge of a
considerable force, least of all a man who never acted except upon
reflection, and who had a wise regard for human nature, could fail to
lay down for himself certain principles of conduct towards both
officers and men. It may be, then, that Jackson considered the course
he pursued the best adapted to maintain discipline amongst a number
of ambitious young generals, some of whom had been senior to himself
in the old service, and all of whom had been raised suddenly, with
probably some disturbance to their self-possession, to high rank. It
is to be remembered, too, that during the campaigns of 1862 his
pre-eminent ability was only by degrees made clear. It was not
everyone who, like General Lee, discerned the great qualities of the
silent and unassuming instructor of cadets, and other leaders, of
more dashing exterior, with a well-deserved reputation for brilliant
courage, may well have doubted whether his capacity was superior to
their own.

Such soaring spirits possibly needed a tight hand; and, in any case,
Jackson had much cause for irritation. With Wolfe and Sherman he
shared the distinguished honour of being considered crazy by hundreds
of self-sufficient mediocrities. It was impossible that he should
have been ignorant, although not one word of complaint ever passed
his lips, how grossly he was misrepresented, how he was caricatured
in the press, and credited with the most extravagant and foolhardy
ideas of war. Nor did his subordinates, in very many instances, give
him that loyal and ungrudging support which he conceived was the due
of the commanding general. More than one of his enterprises fell
short of the full measure of success owing to the shortcomings of
others; and these shortcomings, such as Loring's insubordination at
Romney, Steuart's refusal to pursue Banks after Winchester, Garnett's
retreat at Kernstown, A.P. Hill's tardiness at Cedar Run, might all
be traced to the same cause--disdain of his capacity, and a
misconception of their own position. In such circumstances it is
hardly to be wondered at if his wrath blazed to a white heat. He was
not of a forgiving nature. Once roused, resentment took possession of
his whole being, and it may be questioned whether it was ever really
appeased. At the same time, the fact that Jackson lacked the
fascination which, allied to lofty intellect, wins the hearts of men
most readily, and is pre-eminently the characteristic of the very
greatest warriors, can hardly be denied. His influence with men was a
plant of slow growth. Yet the glamour of his great deeds, the gradual
recognition of his unfailing sympathy, his modesty and his truth,
produced in the end the same result as the personal charm of
Napoleon, of Nelson, and of Lee. His hold on the devotion of his
troops was very sure: "God knows," said his adjutant-general, weeping
the tears of a brave man, "I would have died for him!" and few
commanders have been followed with more implicit confidence or have
inspired a deeper and more abiding affection. Long years after the
war a bronze statue, in his habit as he lived, was erected on his
grave at Lexington. Thither, when the figure was unveiled, came the
survivors of the Second Army Corps, the men of Manassas and of
Sharpsburg, of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and of many
another hard-fought field; and the younger generation looked on the
relics of an army whose peer the world has seldom seen. When the guns
had fired a salute, the wild rebel yell, the music which the great
Virginian had loved so well, rang loud above his grave, and as the
last reverberations died away across the hill, the grey-haired ranks
stood still and silent. "See how they loved him!" said one, and it
was spoken with deepest reverence. Two well-known officers, who had
served under Jackson, were sitting near each other on their horses.
Each remarked the silence of the other, and each saw that the other
was in tears. "I'm not ashamed of it, Snowden!" "Nor I, old boy,"
replied the other, as he tried to smile.

When, after the unveiling, the columns marched past the monument, the
old fellows looked up, and then bowed their uncovered heads and
passed on. But one tall, gaunt soldier of the Stonewall Brigade, as
he passed out of the cemetery, looked back for a moment at the
life-like figure of his general, and waving his old grey hat towards
it, cried out, "Good-bye, old man, good-bye; we've done all we could
for you; good-bye!"

It is not always easy to discern why one general is worshipped, even
by men who have never seen him, while another, of equal or even
superior capacity, fails to awaken the least spark of affection,
except in his chosen friends. Grant was undoubtedly a greater soldier
than McClellan, and the genius of Wellington was not less than that
of Nelson. And yet, while Nelson and McClellan won all hearts, not
one single private had either for Wellington or Grant any warmer
sentiment than respect. It would be as unfair, however, to attribute
selfishness or want of sympathy to either Wellington or Grant, as to
insinuate that Nelson and McClellan were deliberate bidders for
popularity. It may be that in the two former the very strength of
their patriotism was at fault. To them the State was everything, the
individual nothing. To fight for their country was merely a question
of duty, into which the idea of glory or recompense hardly entered,
and, indifferent themselves either to praise or blame, they
considered that the victory of the national arms was a sufficient
reward for the soldier's toils. Both were generous and open-handed,
exerting themselves incessantly to provide for the comfort and
well-being of their troops. Neither was insensible to suffering, and
both were just as capable of self-sacrifice as either Nelson or
McClellan. But the standpoint from which they looked at war was too
exalted. Nelson and McClellan, on the other hand, recognised that
they commanded men, not stoics. Sharing with Napoleon the rare
quality of captivating others, a quality which comes by nature or
comes not at all, they made allowance for human nature, and
identified themselves with those beneath them in the closest
camaraderie. And herein, to a great extent, lay the secret of the
enthusiastic devotion which they inspired.

If the pitiless dissectors of character are right we ought to see in
Napoleon the most selfish of tyrants, the coldest end most crafty of
charlatans. It is difficult, however, to believe that the hearts of a
generation of hardy warriors were conquered merely by ringing phrases
and skilful flattery. It should be remembered that from a mercenary
force, degraded and despised, he transformed the Grand Army into the
terror of Europe and the pride of France. During the years of his
glory, when the legions controlled the destinies of their country,
none was more honoured than the soldier. His interests were always
the first to be considered. The highest ranks in the peerage, the
highest offices of State, were held by men who had carried the
knapsack, and when thrones were going begging their claims were
preferred before all others. The Emperor, with all his greatness, was
always "the Little Corporal" to his grenadiers. His career was their
own. As they shared his glory, so they shared his reward. Every
upward step he made towards supreme power he took them with him, and
their relations were always of the most cordial and familiar
character. He was never happier than when, on the eve of some great
battle, he made his bivouac within a square of the Guard; never more
at ease than when exchanging rough compliments with the veterans of
Rivoli or Jena. He was the representative of the army rather than of
the nation. The men knew that no civilian would be preferred before
them; that their gallant deeds were certain of his recognition; that
their claims to the cross, to pension, and to promotion, would be as
carefully considered as the claims of their generals. They loved
Napoleon and they trusted him; and whatever may have been his faults,
he was "the Little Corporal," the friend and comrade of his soldiers,
to the end.

It was by the same hooks of steel that Stonewall Jackson grappled the
hearts of the Second Army Corps to his own. His men loved him, not
merely because he was the bravest man they had ever known, the
strongest, and the most resolute, not because he had given them
glory, and had made them heroes whose fame was known beyond the
confines of the South, but because he was one of themselves, with no
interests apart from their interests; because he raised them to his
own level, respecting them not merely as soldiers, but as comrades,
the tried comrades of many a hard fight and weary march. Although he
ruled them with a rod of iron, he made no secret, either officially
or privately, of his deep and abiding admiration for their
self-sacrificing valour. His very dispatches showed that he regarded
his own skill and courage as small indeed when compared with theirs.
Like Napoleon's, his congratulatory orders were conspicuous for the
absence of all reference to himself; it was always "we," not "I," and
he was among the first to recognise the worth of the rank and file.
"One day," says Dr. McGuire, "early in the war, when the Second
Virginia Regiment marched by, I said to General Johnston, "If these
men will not fight, you have no troops that will." He expressed the
prevalent opinion of the day in his reply, saying, "I would not give
one company of regulars for the whole regiment." When I returned to
Jackson I had occasion to quote General Johnston's opinion. "Did he
say that?" he asked, "and of those splendid men?" And then he added:
"The patriot volunteer, fighting for his country and his rights,
makes the most reliable soldier upon earth." And his veterans knew
more than that their general believed them to be heroes. They knew
that thia great, valiant man, beside whom all others, save Lee
himself, seemed small and feeble, this mighty captain, who held the
hosts of the enemy in the hollow of his hand, was the kindest and the
most considerate of human beings. To them he was "Old Jack" in the
same affectionate sense as he had been "Old Jack" to his class-mates
at West Point. They followed him willingly, for they knew that the
path he trod was the way to victory; but they loved him as children
do their parents, because they were his first thought and his last.

"In season and out of season he laboured for their welfare. To his
transport and commissariat officers he was a hard master. The
unfortunate wight who had neglected to bring up supplies, or who
ventured to make difficulties, discovered, to his cost, that his
quiet commander could be very terrible; but those officers who did
their duty, in whatever branch of the service they might be serving,
found that their zeal was more than appreciated. For himself he asked
nothing; on behalf of his subordinates he was a constant and
persistent suitor. He was not only ready to support the claims to
promotion of those who deserved it, but in the case of those who
displayed special merit he took the initiative himself: and he was
not content with one refusal. His only difference with General Lee,
if difference it can be called, was on a question of this nature. The
Commander-in-Chief, it appears, soon after the battle of
Fredericksburg, had proposed to appoint officers to the Second Army
Corps who had served elsewhere. After some correspondence Jackson
wrote as follows:--"My rule has been to recommend such as were, in my
opinion, best qualified for filling vacancies. The application of
this rule has prevented me from even recommending for the command of
my old brigade one of its officers, because I did not regard any of
them as competent as another of whose qualifications I had a higher
opinion. This rule has led me to recommend Colonel Bradley T. Johnson
for the command of Taliaferro's brigade...I desire the interest of
the service, and no other interest, to determine who shall be
selected to fill the vacancies. Guided by this principle, I cannot go
outside of my command for persons to fill vacancies in it, unless by
so doing a more competent officer is secured. This same principle
leads me to oppose having officers who have never served with me, and
of whose qualifications I have no knowledge, forced upon me by
promoting them to fill vacancies in my command, and advancing them
over meritorious officers well qualified for the positions, and of
whose qualifications I have had ample opportunities of judging from
their having served with me.

"In my opinion, the interest of the service would be injured if I
should quietly consent to see officers with whose qualifications I am
not acquainted promoted into my command to fill vacancies, regardless
of the merits of my own officers who are well qualified for the
positions. The same principle leads me, when selections have to be
made outside of my command, to recommend those (if there be such)
whose former service with me proved them well qualified for filling
the vacancies. This induced me to recommend Captain Chew, who does
not belong to this army corps, but whose well-earned reputation when
with me has not been forgotten."

And as he studied the wishes of his officers, working quietly and
persistently for their advancement, so he studied the wishes of the
private soldiers. It is well known that artillerymen come, after a
time, to feel a personal affection for their guns, especially those
which they have used in battle. When in camp near Fredericksburg
Jackson was asked to transfer certain field-pieces, which had
belonged to his old division, to another portion of the command. The
men were exasperated, and the demand elicited the following letter:--

"December 3, 1862.

"General R.E. LEE,

"Commanding Army of Northern Virginia.

"General,--Your letter of this date, recommending that I distribute
the rifle and Napoleon guns 'so as to give General D.H. Hill a fair
proportion' has been received. I respectfully request, if any such
distribution is to be made, that you will direct your chief of
artillery or some other officer to do it; but I hope that none of the
guns which belonged to the Army of the Valley before it became part
of the Army of Northern Virginia, after the battle of Cedar Run, will
be taken from it. If since that time any artillery has improperly
come into my command, I trust that it will be taken away, and the
person in whose possession it may be found punished, if his conduct
requires it. So careful was I to prevent an improper distribution of
the artillery and other public property captured at Harper's Ferry,
that I issued a written order directing my staff officers to turn
over to the proper chiefs of staff of the Army of Northern Virginia
all captured stores. A copy of the order is herewith enclosed.

"General D.H. Hill's artillery wants existed at the time he was
assigned to my command, and it is hoped that the artillery which
belonged to the Army of the Valley will not be taken to supply his

"I am, General, your obedient servant,

"T.J. JACKSON, Lieutenant-General."

No further correspondence is to be found on the subject, so it may be
presumed that the protest was successful.

Jackson's relations with the rank and file have already been referred
to, and although he was now commander of an army corps, and
universally acknowledged as one of the foremost generals of the
Confederacy, his rise in rank and reputation had brought no increase
of dignity. He still treated the humblest privates with the same
courtesy that he treated the Commander-in-Chief. He never repelled
their advances, nor refused, if he could, to satisfy their curiosity;
and although he seldom went out of his way to speak to them, if any
soldier addressed him, especially if he belonged to a regiment
recruited from the Valley, he seldom omitted to make some inquiry
after those he had left at home. Never, it was said, was his tone
more gentle or his smile more winning than when he was speaking to
some ragged representative of his old brigade. How his heart went out
to them may be inferred from the following. Writing to a friend at
Richmond he said: "Though I have been relieved from command in the
Valley, and may never again be assigned to that important trust, yet
I feel deeply when I see the patriotic people of that region under
the heel of a hateful military despotism. There are all the hopes of
those who have been with me from the commencement of the war in
Virginia, who have repeatedly left their homes and families in the
hands of the enemy, to brave the dangers of battle and disease; and
there are those who have so devotedly laboured for the relief of our
suffering sick and wounded."


Table showing the Nationality and Average Measurements of 346,744
Federal Soldiers examined for Military Service after March 6, 1863.
Chest at
Height Inspiration.
Number ft. in. in.

United States 237,391 5 7.40 35.61
(69 per cent.)
Germany 35,935 5 5.54 35.88
Ireland 32,473 5 5.54 35.24
Canada 15,507 5 5.51 35.42
England 11,479 5 6.02 35.41
France 2,630 5 5.81 35.29
Scotland 2,127 5 6.13 35.97
Other nationalities,
including Wales and 9,202 -- --
five British Colonies -------

Report of the Provost Marshal General, 1866, page 698.

The Roll of the 35th Massachusetts, which may be taken as a typical
Northern regiment, shows clearly enough at what period the great
influx of foreigners took place. Of 104 officers the names of all but
four--and these four joined in 1864--are pure English. Of the 964
rank and file of which the regiment was originally composed, only 50
bore foreign names. In 1864, however, 495 recruits were received, and
of these over 400 were German immigrants.--History of the 35th
Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862-65.



During the long interval which intervened between the battle of
Fredericksburg and the next campaign, Jackson employed himself in
preparing the reports of his battles, which had been called for by
the Commander-in-Chief. They were not compiled in their entirety by
his own hand. He was no novice at literary composition, and his pen,
as his letter-book shows, was not that of an unready writer. He had a
good command of language, and that power of clear and concise
expression which every officer in command of a large force, a
position naturally entailing a large amount of confidential
correspondence, must necessarily possess. But the task now set him
was one of no ordinary magnitude. Since the battle of Kernstown, the
report of which had been furnished in April 1862, the time had been
too fully occupied to admit of the crowded events being placed on
record, and more than one-half of the division, brigade, and
regimental commanders who had been engaged in the operations of the
period had been killed. Nor, even now, did his duties permit him the
necessary leisure to complete the work without assistance. On his
requisition, therefore, Colonel Charles Faulkner, who had been United
States Minister to France before the war, was attached to his staff
for the purpose of collecting the reports of the subordinate
commanders, and combining them in the proper form. The rough drafts
were carefully gone over by the general. Every sentence was weighed;
and everything that might possibly convey a wrong impression was at
once rejected; evidence was called to clear up disputed points; no
inferences or suppositions were allowed to stand; truth was never
permitted to be sacrificed to effect; superlatives were rigorously
excluded,* (* The report of Sharpsburg, which Jackson had not yet
revised at the time of his death, is not altogether free from
exaggeration.) and the narratives may be unquestionably accepted as
an accurate relation of the facts. Many stirring passages were added
by the general's own pen; and the praise bestowed upon the troops,
both officers and men, is couched in the warmest terms. Yet much was
omitted. Jackson had a rooted objection to represent the motives of
his actions, or to set forth the object of his movements. In reply to
a remonstrance that those who came after him would be embarrassed by
the absence of these explanations, and that his fame would suffer, he
said: "The men who come after me must act for themselves; and as to
the historians who speak of the movements of my command, I do not
concern myself greatly as to what they may say." To judge, then, from
the reports, Jackson himself had very little to do with his success;
indeed, were they the only evidence available, it would be difficult
to ascertain whether the more brilliant manoeuvres were ordered by
himself or executed on the initiative of others. But in this he was
perfectly consistent. When the publisher of an illustrated periodical
wrote to him, asking him for his portrait and some notes of his
battles as the basis of a sketch, he replied that he had no likeness
of himself, and had done nothing worthy of mention. It is not without
interest, in this connection, to note that the Old Testament supplied
him with a pattern for his reports, just as it supplied him, as he
often declared, with precepts and principles applicable to every
military emergency. After he was wounded, enlarging one morning on
his favourite topic of practical religion, he turned to the staff
officer in attendance, Lieutenant Smith, and asked him with a smile:
"Can you tell me where the Bible gives generals a model for their
official reports of battles?" The aide-de-camp answered, laughing,
that it never entered his mind to think of looking for such a thing
in the Scriptures. "Nevertheless," said the general, "there are such;
and excellent models, too. Look, for instance, at the narrative of
Joshua's battles with the Amalekites; there you have one. It has
clearness, brevity, modesty; and it traces the victory to its right
source, the blessing of God."

The early spring of 1863 was undoubtedly one of the happiest seasons
of a singularly happy life. Jackson's ambition, if the desire for
such rank that would enable him to put the powers within him to the
best use may be so termed, was fully gratified. The country lad who,
one-and-twenty years ago, on his way to West Point, had looked on the
green hills of Virginia from the Capitol at Washington, could hardly
have anticipated a higher destiny than that which had befallen him.
Over the hearts and wills of thirty thousand magnificent soldiers,
the very flower of Southern manhood, his empire was absolute; and
such dominion is neither the heritage of princes nor within the reach
of wealth. The most trusted lieutenant of his great commander, the
strong right arm with which he had executed his most brilliant
enterprises, he shared with him the esteem and admiration not only of
the army but of the whole people of the South. The name he had
determined, in his lonely boyhood, to bring back to honour already
ranked with those of the Revolutionary heroes. Even his enemies, for
the brave men at the front left rancour to the politicians, were not
proof against the attraction of his great achievements. A friendly
intercourse, not always confined to a trade of coffee for tobacco,
existed between the outposts; "Johnnies" and "Yanks" often exchanged
greetings across the Rappahannock; and it is related that one day
when Jackson rode along the river, and the Confederate troops ran
together, as was their custom, to greet him with a yell, the Federal
pickets, roused by the sudden clamour, crowded to the bank, and
shouted across to ask the cause. "General Stonewall Jackson," was the
proud reply of the grey-coated sentry. Immediately, to his
astonishment, the cry, "Hurrah for Stonewall Jackson!" rang out from
the Federal ranks, and the voices of North and South, prophetic of a
time to come, mingled in acclamation of a great American.

The situation of the army, although the winter was unusually severe,
was not without its compensations. The country was covered with snow,
and storms were frequent; rations were still scarce,* (* On January
23 the daily ration was a quarter of a pound of beef, and one-fifth
of a pound of sugar was ordered to be issued in addition, but there
was no sugar! Lee to Davis, O.R. volume 21 page 1110. In the Valley,
during the autumn, the ration had been one and one-eighth pound of
flour, and one and a quarter pounds of beef. On March 27 the ration
was eighteen ounces of flour, and four ounces of indifferent bacon,
with occasional issues of rice, sugar, or molasses. Symptoms of
scurvy were appearing, and to supply the place of vegetables each
regiment was directed to send men daily to gather sassafras buds,
wild onions, garlic, etc., etc. Still "the men are cheerful," writes
Lee, "and I receive no complaints." O.R. volume 25 part 2 page 687.
On April 17 the ration had been increased by ten pounds of rice to
every 100 men about every third day, with a few peas and dried fruits
occasionally. O.R. volume 25 part 2 page 730.) for the single line of
badly laid rails, subjected to the strain of an abnormal traffic,
formed a precarious means of transport; every spring and pond was
frozen; and the soldiers shivered beneath their scanty coverings.* (*
On January 19, 1200 pairs of shoes and 400 or 500 pairs of blankets
were forwarded for issue to men without either in D.H. Hill's
division, O.R. volume 21 page 1097. In the Louisiana brigade on the
same date, out of 1500 men, 400 had no covering for their feet
whatever. A large number had not a particle of underclothing, shirts,
socks, or drawers; overcoats were so rare as to be a curiosity; the
5th Regiment could not drill for want of shoes; the 8th was almost
unfit for duty from the same cause; the condition of the men's feet,
from long exposure, was horrible, and the troops were almost totally
unprovided with cooking utensils. O.R. volume 21 page 1098.) Huts,
however, were in process of erection, and the goodwill of the people
did something to supply the deficiencies of the commissariat.* (*
O.R. volume 21 page 1098.) The homes of Virginia were stripped, and
many--like Jackson himself, whose blankets had already been sent from
Lexington to his old brigade--ordered their carpets to be cut up into
rugs and distributed amongst the men. But neither cold nor hunger
could crush the spirit of the troops. The bivouacs were never merrier
than on the bare hills and in the dark pine-woods which looked down
on the ruins and the graves of Fredericksburg. Picket duty was light,
for the black waters of the great river formed a secure barrier
against attack; and if the men's stomachs were empty, they could
still feast their eyes on a charming landscape. "To the right and
left the wooded range extended towards Fredericksburg on the one
hand, and Port Royal on the other; in front, the far-stretching level
gave full sweep to the eye; and at the foot of its forest-clad
bluffs, or by the margin of undulating fields, the Rappahannock
flowed calmly to the sea. Old mansions dotted this beautiful
land--for beautiful it was in spite of the chill influences of
winter, with its fertile meadows, its picturesque woodlands, and its
old roads skirted by long lines of shadowy cedars."* (* Cooke page

The headquarters of the Second Army Corps were established at Moss
Neck, on the terrace above the Rappahannock, eleven miles below
Fredericksburg. After the retreat of the Federals to Falmouth, the
Confederate troops had reoccupied their former positions, and every
point of passage between Fredericksburg and Port Royal was strongly
intrenched and closely watched. At Moss Neck Jackson was not only
within easy reach of his divisions, but was more comfortably housed
than had usually been the case. A hunting-lodge which stood on the
lawn of an old and picturesque mansion-house, the property of a
gentleman named Corbin, was placed at his disposal--he had declined
the offer of rooms in the house itself lest he should trespass on the
convenience of its inmates; and to show the peculiar constitution of
the Confederate army, an anecdote recorded by his biographers is
worth quoting. After his first interview with Mrs. Corbin, he passed
out to the gate, where a cavalry orderly who had accompanied him was
holding his horse. "Do you approve of your accommodation, General?"
asked the courier. "Yes, sir, I have decided to make my quarters
here." "I am Mr. Corbin, sir," said the soldier, "and I am very

The lower room of the lodge, hung with trophies of the chase, was
both his bedroom and his office; while a large tent, pitched on the
grass outside, served as a messroom for his military family; and here
for three long months, until near the end of March, he rested from
the labour of his campaigns. The Federal troops, on the snow-clad
heights across the river, remained idle in their camps, slowly
recovering from the effects of their defeat on the fields of
Fredericksburg; the pickets had ceased to bicker; the gunboats had
disappeared, and "all was quiet on the Rappahannock." Many of the
senior officers in the Confederate army took advantage of the lull in
operations to visit their homes; but, although his wife urged him to
do the same, Jackson steadfastly refused to absent himself even for a
few days from the front. In November, to his unbounded delight, a
daughter had been born to him. "To a man of his extreme domesticity,
and love for children," says his wife, "this was a crowning
happiness; and yet, with his great modesty and shrinking from
publicity, he requested that he should not receive the announcement
by telegraph, and when it came to him by letter he kept the glad
tidings to himself--leaving his staff and those around him in the
camp to hear of it from others. This was to him "a joy with which a
stranger could not intermeddle," and from which even his own hand
could not lift the veil of sanctity. His letters were full of longing
to see his little Julia; for by this name, which had been his
mother's, he had desired her to be christened, saying, "My mother was
mindful of me when I was a helpless, fatherless child, and I wish to
commemorate her now.""

"How thankful I am," he wrote, "to our kind Heavenly Father for
having spared my precious wife and given us a little daughter! I
cannot tell how gratified I am, nor how much I wish I could be with
you and see my two darlings. But while this pleasure is denied me, I
am thankful it is accorded to you to have the little pet, and I hope
it may be a great deal of company and comfort to its mother. Now,
don't exert yourself to write to me, for to know that you were
exerting yourself to write would give me more pain than the letter
would pleasure, SO YOU MUST NOT DO IT. But you must love your ESPOSO
in the mean time...I expect you are just now made up with that baby.
Don't you wish your husband wouldn't claim any part of it, but let
you have the sole ownership? Don't you regard it as the most precious
little creature in the world? Do not spoil it, and don't let anybody
tease it. Don't permit it to have a bad temper. How I would love to
see the darling little thing! Give her many kisses from her father.

"At present I am fifty miles from Richmond, and eight miles from
Guiney's Station, on the railroad from Richmond to Fredericksburg.
Should I remain here, I do hope you and baby can come to see me
before spring, as you can come on the railway. Wherever I go, God
gives me kind friends. The people here show me great kindness. I
receive invitation after invitation to dine out and spend the night,
and a great many provisions are sent me, including cakes, tea,
loaf-sugar, etc., and the socks and gloves and handkerchiefs still

"I am so thankful to our ever-kind Heavenly Father for having so
improved my eyes as to enable me to write at night. He continually
showers blessings upon me; and that YOU should have been spared, and
our darling little daughter given us, fills my heart with overflowing
gratitude. If I know my unworthy self, my desire is to live entirely
and unreservedly to God's glory. Pray, my darling, that I may so

Again to his sister-in-law: "I trust God will answer the prayers
offered for peace. Not much comfort is to be expected until this
cruel war terminates. I haven't seen my wife since last March, and
never having seen my child, you can imagine with what interest I look
to North Carolina."

But the tender promptings of his deep natural affection were stilled
by his profound faith that "duty is ours, consequences are God's."
The Confederate army, at this time as at all others, suffered
terribly from desertion; and one of his own brigades reported 1200
officers and men absent without leave.

"Last evening," he wrote to his wife on Christmas Day, "I received a
letter from Dr. Dabney, saying, "one of the highest gratifications
both Mrs. Dabney and I could enjoy would be another visit from Mrs.
Jackson," and he invites me to meet you there. He and Mrs. Dabney are
very kind, but it appears to me that it is better for me to remain
with my command so long as the war continues...If all our troops,
officers and men, were at their posts, we might, through God's
blessing, expect a more speedy termination of the war. The temporal
affairs of some are so deranged as to make a strong plea for their
returning home for a short time; but our God has greatly blessed me
and mine during my absence, and whilst it would be a great comfort to
see you and our darling little daughter, and others in whom I take a
special interest, yet duty appears to require me to remain with my
command. It is important that those at headquarters set an example by
remaining at the post of duty."

So business at headquarters went on in its accustomed course. There
were inspections to be made, the deficiencies of equipment to be made
good, correspondence to be conducted--and the control of 30,000 men
demanded much office-work--the enemy to be watched, information to be
sifted, topographical data to be collected, and the reports of the
battles to be written. Every morning, as was his invariable habit
during a campaign, the general had an interview with the chiefs of
the commissariat, transport, ordnance, and medical departments, and
he spent many hours in consultation with his topographical engineer.
The great purpose for which Virginia stood in arms was ever present
to his mind, and despite his reticence, his staff knew that he was
occupied, day and night, with the problems that the future might
unfold. Existence at headquarters to the young and high-spirited
officers who formed the military family was not altogether lively.
Outside there was abundance of gaiety. The Confederate army, even on
those lonely hills, managed to extract enjoyment from its
surroundings. The hospitality of the plantations was open to the
officers, and wherever Stuart and his brigadiers pitched their tents,
dances and music were the order of the day. Nor were the men
behindhand. Even the heavy snow afforded them entertainment. Whenever
a thaw took place they set themselves to making snow-balls; and great
battles, in which one division was arrayed against another, and which
were carried through with the pomp and circumstance of war, colours
flying, bugles sounding, and long lines charging elaborately planned
intrenchments, were a constant source of amusement, except to
unpopular officers. Theatrical and musical performances enlivened the
tedium of the long evenings; and when, by the glare of the
camp-fires, the band of the 5th Virginia broke into the rattling
quick-step of "Dixie's Land," not the least stirring of national
anthems, and the great concourse of grey-jackets took up the chorus,
closing it with a yell

That shivered to the tingling stars,

the Confederate soldier would not have changed places with the
President himself.

There was much social intercourse, too, between the different
headquarters. General Lee was no unfrequent visitor to Moss Neck, and
on Christmas Day Jackson's aides-de-camp provided a sumptuous
entertainment, at which turkeys and oysters figured, for the
Commander-in-Chief and the senior generals. Stuart, too, often
invaded the quarters of his old comrade, and Jackson looked forward
to the merriment that was certain to result just as much as the
youngest of his staff. "Stuart's exuberant cheerfulness and humour,"
says Dabney, "seemed to be the happy relief, as they were the
opposites, to Jackson's serious and diffident temper. While Stuart
poured out his 'quips and cranks,' not seldom at Jackson's expense,
the latter sat by, sometimes unprepared with any repartee, sometimes
blushing, but always enjoying the jest with a quiet and merry laugh.
The ornaments on the wall of the general's quarters gave Stuart many
a topic of badinage. Affecting to believe that they were of General
Jackson's selection, he pointed now to the portrait of some famous
race-horse, and now to the print of some celebrated rat-terrier, as
queer revelations of his private tastes, indicating a great decline
in his moral character, which would be a grief and disappointment to
the pious old ladies of the South. Jackson, with a quiet smile,
replied that perhaps he had had more to do with race-horses than his
friends suspected. It was in the midst of such a scene as this that
dinner was announced, and the two generals passed to the mess-table.
It so happened that Jackson had just received, as a present from a
patriotic lady, some butter, upon the adornment of which the fair
donor had exhausted her housewife's skill. The servants, in honour of
General Stuart's presence, had chosen this to grace the centre of the
board. As his eye fell upon it, he paused, and with mock gravity
pointed to it, saying, "There, gentlemen! If that is not the crowning
evidence of our host's sporting tastes. He even has his favourite
game-cock stamped on his butter!" The dinner, of course, began with
great laughter, in which Jackson joined, with as much enjoyment as

Visitors, too, from Europe, attracted by the fame of the army and its
leaders, had made their way into the Confederate lines, and were
received with all the hospitality that the camps afforded. An English
officer has recorded his experiences at Moss Neck:--

"I brought from Nassau a box of goods (a present from England) for
General Stonewall Jackson, and he asked me when I was at Richmond to
come to his camp and see him. He left the city one morning about
seven o'clock, and about ten landed at a station distant some eight
or nine miles from Jackson's (or, as his men called him, Old Jack's)
camp. A heavy fall of snow had covered the country for some time
before to the depth of a foot, and formed a crust over the Virginian
mud, which is quite as villainous as that of Balaclava. The day
before had been mild and wet, and my journey was made in a drenching
shower, which soon cleared away the white mantle of snow. You cannot
imagine the slough of despond I had to pass through. Wet to the skin,
I stumbled through mud, I waded through creeks, I passed through
pine-woods, and at last got into camp about two o'clock. I then made
my way to a small house occupied by the general as his headquarters.
I wrote down my name, and gave it to the orderly, and I was
immediately told to walk in.

"The general rose and greeted me warmly. I expected to see an old,
untidy man, and was most agreeably surprised and pleased with his
appearance. He is tall, handsome, and powerfully built, but thin. He
has brown hair and a brown beard. His mouth expresses great
determination. The lips are thin and compressed firmly together; his
eyes are blue and dark, with keen and searching expression. I was
told that his age was thirty-eight, and he looks forty. The general,
who is indescribably simple and unaffected in all his ways, took off
my wet overcoat with his own hands, made up the fire, brought wood
for me to put my feet on to keep them warm while my boots were
drying, and then began to ask me questions on various subjects. At
the dinner hour we went out and joined the members of his staff. At
this meal the general said grace in a fervent, quiet manner, which
struck me very much. After dinner I returned to his room, and he
again talked for a long time. The servant came in and took his
mattress out of a cupboard and laid it on the floor.

"As I rose to retire, the general said, "Captain, there is plenty of
room on my bed, I hope you will share it with me?" I thanked him very
much for his courtesy, but said "Good-night," and slept in a tent,
sharing the blankets of one of his aides-de-camp. In the morning at
breakfast-time I noticed that the general said grace before the meal
with the same fervour I had remarked before. An hour or two
afterwards it was time for me to return to the station; on this
occasion, however, I had a horse, and I returned to the general's
headquarters to bid him adieu. His little room was vacant, so I
slipped in and stood before the fire. I then noticed my greatcoat
stretched before it on a chair. Shortly afterwards the general
entered the room. He said: "Captain, I have been trying to dry your
greatcoat, but I am afraid I have not succeeded very well." That
little act illustrates the man's character. With the care and
responsibilities of a vast army on his shoulders he finds time to do
little acts of kindness and thoughtfulness."

With each of his staff officers he was on most friendly terms; and
the visitors to his camp, such as the English officer quoted above,
found him a most delightful host, discussing with the ease of an
educated gentleman all manner of topics, and displaying not the
slightest trace of that awkwardness and extreme diffidence which have
been attributed to him. The range and accuracy of his information
surprised them. "Of military history," said another English soldier,
"he knew more than any other man I met in America; and he was so far
from displaying the somewhat grim characteristics that have been
associated with his name, that one would have thought his tastes lay
in the direction of art and literature." "His chief delight," wrote
the Hon. Francis Lawley, who knew him well, "was in the cathedrals of
England, notably in York Minster and Westminster Abbey. He was never
tired of talking about them, or listening to details about the
chapels and cloisters of Oxford."* (* The Times, June 11, 1863.)

"General Jackson," writes Lord Wolseley, "had certainly very little
to say about military operations, although he was intensely proud of
his soldiers, and enthusiastic in his devotion to General Lee; and it
was impossible to make him talk of his own achievements. Nor can I
say that his speech betrayed his intellectual powers. But his manner,
which was modesty itself, was most attractive. He put you at your
ease at once, listening with marked courtesy and attention to
whatever you might say; and when the subject of conversation was
congenial, he was a most interesting companion. I quite endorse the
statement as to his love for beautiful things. He told me that in all
his travels he had seen nothing so beautiful as the lancet windows in
York Minster."

In his daily intercourse with his staff, however, in his office or in
the mess-room, he showed to less advantage than in the society of
strangers. His gravity of demeanour seldom wholly disappeared, his
intense earnestness was in itself oppressive, and he was often absent
and preoccupied. "Life at headquarters," says one of his staff
officers, "was decidedly dull. Our meals were often very dreary. The
general had no time for light or trivial conversation, and he
sometimes felt it his duty to rebuke our thoughtless and perhaps
foolish remarks. Nor was it always quite safe to approach him.
Sometimes he had a tired look in his eyes, and although he never
breathed a word to one or another, we knew that he was dissatisfied
with what was being done with the army."* (* Letter from Dr. Hunter

Intense concentration of thought and purpose, in itself an indication
of a powerful will, had distinguished Jackson from his very boyhood.
During his campaigns he would pace for hours outside his tent, his
hands clasped behind his back, absorbed in meditation; and when the
army was on the march, he would ride for hours without raising his
eyes or opening his lips. It was unquestionably at such moments that
he was working out his plans, step by step, forecasting the
counter-movements of the enemy, and providing for every emergency
that might occur. And here the habit of keeping his whole faculties
fixed on a single object, and of imprinting on his memory the
successive processes of complicated problems, fostered by the methods
of study which, both at West Point and Lexington, the weakness of his
eyes had made compulsory, must have been an inestimable advantage.
Brilliant strategical manoeuvres, it cannot be too often repeated,
are not a matter of inspiration and of decision on the spur of the
moment. The problems presented by a theatre of war, with their many
factors, are not to be solved except by a vigorous and sustained
intellectual effort. "If," said Napoleon, "I always appear prepared,
it is because, before entering on an undertaking, I have meditated
for long and have foreseen what may occur. It is not genius which
reveals to me suddenly and secretly what I should do in circumstances
unexpected by others; it is thought and meditation."

The proper objective, speaking in general terms, of all military
operations is the main army of the enemy, for a campaign can never be
brought to a successful conclusion until the hostile forces in the
field have become demoralised by defeat; but, to ensure success,
preponderance of numbers is usually essential, and it may be said,
therefore, that the proper objective is the enemy's main army when it
is in inferior strength.

Under ordinary conditions, the first step, then, towards victory must
be a movement, or a series of movements, which will compel the enemy
to divide his forces, and put it out of his power to assemble even
equal strength on the battle-field.

This entails a consideration of the strategic points upon the theatre
of war, for it is by occupying or threatening some point which the
enemy cannot afford to lose that he will be induced to disperse his
army, or to place himself in a position where he can be attacked at a
disadvantage. While his main army, therefore, is the ultimate
objective, certain strategic points become the initial objectives, to
be occupied or threatened either by the main body or detached forces.
It is seldom, however, that these initial objectives are readily
discovered; and it is very often the case that even the ultimate
objective may be obscured.

These principles are well illustrated by the operations in the Valley
of Virginia during the month of May and the first fortnight of June,
1862. After the event it is easy to see that Banks' army was
Jackson's proper objective--being the principal force in the
secondary theatre of war. But at the time, before the event, Lee and
Jackson alone realised the importance of overwhelming Banks and thus
threatening Washington. It was not realised by Johnston, a most able
soldier, for the whole of his correspondence goes to show that he
thought a purely defensive attitude the best policy for the Valley
Army. It was not realised by Jackson's subordinates, for it was not
till long after the battle of Winchester that the real purport of the
operations in which they had been engaged began to dawn on them. It
was not realised by Lincoln, by Stanton, or even by McClellan, for to
each of them the sudden attack on Front Royal was as much of a
surprise as to Banks himself; and we may be perfectly confident that
none but a trained strategist, after a prolonged study of the map and
the situation, would realise it now.

It is to be noted, too, that Jackson's initial objectives--the
strategical points in the Valley--were invariably well selected. The
Luray Gap, the single road which gives access across the Massanuttons
from one side of the Valley to the other, was the most important. The
flank position on Elk Run, the occupation of which so suddenly
brought up Banks, prevented him interposing between Jackson and
Edward Johnson, and saved Staunton from capture, was a second; Front
Royal, by seizing which he threatened Banks at Strasburg in flank and
rear, compelling him to a hasty retreat, and bringing him to battle
on ground which he had not prepared, a third; and the position at
Port Republic, controlling the only bridge across the Shenandoah, and
separating Shields from Fremont, a fourth. The bearing of all these
localities was overlooked by the Federals, and throughout the
campaign we cannot fail to notice a great confusion on their part as
regards objectives. They neither recognised what the aim of their
enemy would be, nor at what they should aim themselves. It was long
before they discovered that Lee's army, and not Richmond, was the
vital point of the Confederacy. Not a single attempt was made to
seize strategic points, and if we may judge from the orders and
dispatches in the Official Records, their existence was never
recognised. To this oversight the successive defeats of the Northern
forces were in great part due. From McClellan to Banks, each one of
their generals appears to have been blind to the advantages that may
be derived from a study of the theatre of war. Not one of them hit
upon a line of operations which embarrassed the Confederates, and all
possessed the unhappy knack of joining battle on the most
unfavourable terms. Moreover, when it at last became clear that the
surest means of conquering a country is to defeat its armies, the
true objective was but vaguely realised. The annihilation of the
enemy's troops seems to have been the last thing dreamt of.
Opportunities of crushing him in detail were neither sought for nor
created. As General Sheridan said afterwards: "The trouble with the
commanders of the Army of the Potomac was that they never marched out
to "lick" anybody; all they thought of was to escape being "licked"

But it is not sufficient, in planning strategical combinations, to
arrive at a correct conclusion as regards the objective. Success
demands a most careful calculation of ways and means: of the numbers
at disposal; of food, forage, and ammunition; and of the forces to he
detached for secondary purposes. The different factors of the
problem--the strength and dispositions of the enemy, the roads,
railways, fortresses, weather, natural features, the morale of the
opposing armies, the character of the opposing general, the
facilities for supply have each and all of them to be considered,
their relative prominence assigned to them, and their conflicting
claims to be brought into adjustment.

For such mental exertion Jackson was well equipped. He had made his
own the experience of others. His knowledge of history made him
familiar with the principles which had guided Washington and Napoleon
in the selection of objectives, and with the means by which they
attained them. It is not always easy to determine the benefit, beyond
a theoretical acquaintance with the phenomena of the battle-field, to
be derived from studying the campaigns of the great masters of war.
It is true that no successful general, whatever may have been his
practical knowledge, has neglected such study; but while many have
borne witness to its efficacy, none have left a record of the manner
in which their knowledge of former campaigns influenced their own

In the case of Stonewall Jackson, however, we have much evidence,
indirect, but unimpeachable, as to the value to a commander of the
knowledge thus acquired. The Maxims of Napoleon, carried in his
haversack, were constantly consulted throughout his campaigns, and
this little volume contains a fairly complete exposition, in
Napoleon's own words, of the grand principles of war. Moreover,
Jackson often quoted principles which are not to be found in the
Maxims, but on which Napoleon consistently acted. It is clear,
therefore, that he had studied the campaigns of the great Corsican in
order to discover the principles on which military success is based;
that having studied and reflected on those principles, and the effect
their application produced, in numerous concrete cases, they became
so firmly imbedded in his mind as to be ever present, guiding him
into the right path, or warning him against the wrong, whenever he
had to deal with a strategic or tactical situation.

It may be noted, moreover, that these principles, especially those
which he was accustomed to quote, were concerned far more with the
moral aspect of war than with the material. It is a fair inference,
therefore, that it was to the study of human nature as affected by
the conditions of war, by discipline, by fear, by the want of food,
by want of information, by want of confidence, by the weight of
responsibility, by political interests, and, above all, by surprise,
that his attention was principally directed. He found in the
campaigns of Jena and of Austerlitz not merely a record of marches
and manoeuvres, of the use of intrenchments, or of the general rules
for attack and defence; this is the mechanical and elementary part of
the science of command. What Jackson learned was the truth of the
famous maxim that the moral is to the physical--that is, to armament
and numbers--as three to one. He learned, too, to put himself into
his adversary's place and to realise his weakness. He learned, in a
word, that war is a struggle between two intellects rather than the
conflict of masses; and it was by reason of this knowledge that he
played on the hearts of his enemies with such extraordinary skill.

It is not to be asserted, however, that the study of military history
is an infallible means of becoming a great or even a good general.
The first qualification necessary for a leader of men is a strong
character, the second, a strong intellect. With both Providence had
endowed Jackson, and the strong intellect illuminates and explains
the page that to others is obscure and meaningless. With its innate
faculty for discerning what is essential and for discarding
unimportant details, it discovers most valuable lessons where
ordinary men see neither light nor leading. Endowed with the power of
analysis and assimilation, and accustomed to observe and to reflect
upon the relations between cause and effect, it will undoubtedly
penetrate far deeper into the actual significance and practical
bearing of historical facts than the mental vision which is less

Jackson, by reason of his antecedent training, was eminently capable
of the sustained intellectual efforts which strategical conceptions
involve. Such was his self-command that under the most adverse
conditions, the fatigues and anxieties of a campaign, the fierce
excitement of battle, his brain, to use the words of a great
Confederate general, "worked with the precision of the most perfect
machinery."* (* General G. B. Gordon. Introduction to Memoirs of
Stonewall Jackson page 14.) But it was not only in the field, when
the necessity for action was pressing, that he was accustomed to
seclude himself with his own thoughts. Nor was he content with
considering his immediate responsibilities. His interest in the
general conduct of the war was of a very thorough-going character.
While in camp on the Rappahannock, he followed with the closest
attention the movements of the armies operating in the Valley of the
Mississippi, and made himself acquainted, so far as was possible, not
only with the local conditions of the war, but also with the
character of the Federal leaders. It was said that, in the late
spring of 1862, it was the intention of Mr. Davis to transfer him to
the command of the Army of the Tennessee, and it is possible that
some inkling of this determination induced him to study the Western
theatre.* (* In April he wrote to his wife: "There is increasing
probability that I may be elsewhere as the season advances." That he
said no more is characteristic.) Be this as it may, the general
situation, military and political, was always in his mind, and
despite the victory of Fredericksburg, the future was dark and the
indications ominous.

According to the Official Records, the North, at the beginning of
April, had more than 900,000 soldiers under arms; the South, so far
as can be ascertained, not more than 600,000. The Army of the Potomac
was receiving constant reinforcements, and at the beginning of April,
130,000 men were encamped on the Stafford Heights. In the West, the
whole extent of the Mississippi, with the exception of the hundred
miles between Vicksburg and Port Hudson, was held by the Federals,
and those important fortresses were both threatened by large armies,
acting in concert with a formidable fleet of gunboats. A third army,
over 50,000 strong, was posted at Murfreesboro', in the heart of
Tennessee, and large detached forces were operating in Louisiana and
Arkansas. The inroads of the enemy in the West, greatly aided by the
waterways, were in fact far more serious than in the East; but even
in Virginia, although the Army of the Potomac had spent nearly two
years in advancing fifty miles, the Federals had a strong foothold.
Winchester had been reoccupied. Fortress Monroe was still garrisoned.
Suffolk, on the south bank of the James, seventy miles from Richmond,
was held by a force of 20,000 men; while another small army, of about
the same strength, occupied New Berne, on the North Carolina coast.

Slowly but surely, before the pressure of vastly superior numbers,
the frontiers of the Confederacy were contracting; and although in no
single direction had a Federal army moved more than a few miles from
the river which supplied it, yet the hostile occupation of these
rivers, so essential to internal traffic, was making the question of
subsistence more difficult every day. Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas,
the cattle-raising States, were practically cut off from the
remainder; and in a country where railways were few, distances long,
and roads indifferent, it was impossible, in default of communication
by water, to accumulate and distribute the produce of the farms.
Moreover, the dark menace of the blockade had assumed more formidable
proportions. The Federal navy, gradually increasing in numbers and
activity, held the highway of the ocean in an iron grip; and proudly
though the Confederacy bore her isolation, men looked across the
waters with dread foreboding, for the shadow of their doom was
already rising from the pitiless sea.

If, then, his staff officers had some reason to complain of their
chief's silence and abstraction, it was by no means unfortunate for
the South, so imminent was the danger, that the strong brain was
incessantly occupied in forecasting the emergencies that might occur.

But not for a single moment did Jackson despair of ultimate success.
His faith in the justice of the Southern cause was as profound as his
trust in God's good providence. He had long since realised that the
overwhelming strength of the Federals was more apparent than real. He
recognised their difficulties; he knew that the size of an army is
limited to the number that can be subsisted, and he relied much on
the superior morale and the superior leading of the Confederate
troops. After long and mature deliberation he had come to a
conclusion as to the policy to be pursued. "We must make this
campaign," he said, in a moment of unusual expansion, "an exceedingly
active one. Only thus can a weaker country cope with a stronger; it
must make up in activity what it lacks in strength. A defensive
campaign can only be made successful by taking the aggressive at the
proper time. Napoleon never waited for his adversary to become fully
prepared, but struck him the first blow."

On these principles Jackson had good reason to believe General Lee
had determined to act;* (* "There is no better way of defending a
long line than by moving into the enemy's country." Lee to General
Jones, March 21, 1863; O.R. volume 25 part 2 page 680.) of their
efficacy he was convinced, and when his wife came to visit him at the
end of April, she found him in good heart and the highest spirits. He
not only anticipated a decisive result from the forthcoming
operations, but he had seen with peculiar satisfaction that a more
manly tone was pervading the Confederate army. Taught by their
leaders, by Lee, Jackson, Stuart, and many others, of whose worth and
valour they had received convincing proof, the Southern soldiers had
begun to practise the clean and wholesome virtue of self-control.
They had discovered that purity and temperance are by no means
incompatible with military prowess, and that a practical piety,
faithful in small things as in great, detracts in no degree from
skill and resolution in the field. The Stonewall Brigade set the
example. As soon as their own huts were finished, the men, of their
own volition, built a log church, where both officers and men,
without distinction of rank, were accustomed to assemble during the
winter evenings; and those rude walls, illuminated by pine torches
cut from the neighbouring forest, witnessed such scenes as filled
Jackson's cup of content to overflowing. A chaplain writes: "The
devout listener, dressed in simple grey, ornamented only with three
stars, which any Confederate colonel was entitled to wear, is our
great commander, Robert Edward Lee. That dashing-looking cavalry-man,
with 'fighting jacket,' plumed hat, jingling spurs, and gay
decorations, but solemn, devout aspect during the service, is 'Jeb'
Stuart, the flower of cavaliers--and all through the vast crowd
wreaths and stars of rank mingle with the bars of the subordinate
officers and the rough garb of the private soldier. But perhaps the
most supremely happy of the gathered thousands is Stonewall Jackson."
"One could not," says another, "sit in that pulpit and meet the
concentrated gaze of those men without deep emotion. I remembered
that they were the veterans of many a bloody field. The eyes which
looked into mine, waiting for the Gospel of peace, had looked
steadfastly upon whatever is terrible in war. Their earnestness of
aspect constantly impressed me...They looked as if they had come on
business, and very important business, and the preacher could
scarcely do otherwise than feel that he, too, had business of moment

At this time, largely owing to Jackson's exertions, chaplains were
appointed to regiments and brigades, and ministers from all parts of
the country were invited to visit the camps. The Chaplains'
Association, which did a good work in the army, was established at
his suggestion, and although he steadfastly declined to attend its
meetings, deeming them outside his functions, nothing was neglected,
so far as lay within his power, that might forward the moral welfare
of the troops.

But at the same time their military efficiency and material comforts
received his constant attention. Discipline was made stricter,
indolent and careless officers were summarily dismissed, and the
divisions were drilled at every favourable opportunity. Headquarters
had been transferred to a tent near to Hamilton's Crossing, the
general remarking, "It is rather a relief to get where there will be
less comfort than in a room, as I hope thereby persons will be
prevented from encroaching so much upon my time." On his wife's
arrival he moved to Mr. Yerby's plantation, near Hamilton's Crossing,
but "he did not permit," she writes, "the presence of his family to
interfere in any way with his military duties. The greater part of
each day he spent at his headquarters, but returned as early as he
could get off from his labours, and devoted all his leisure time to
ha visitors--little Julia having his chief attention and his care.
His devotion to his child was remarked upon by all who beheld the
happy pair together, for she soon learned to delight in his caresses
as much as he loved to play with her. An officer's wife, who saw him
often during this time, wrote to a friend in Richmond that "the
general spent all his leisure time in playing with the baby.""

April 29.

But these quiet and happy days were soon ended. On April 29 the roar
of cannon was heard once more at Gurney's Station, salvo after salvo
following in quick succession, until the house shook and the windows
rattled with the reverberations. The crash of musketry succeeded,
rapid and continuous, and before the sun was high wounded men were
brought in to the shelter of Mr. Yerby's outhouses. Very early in the
morning a message from the pickets had come in, and after making
arrangements for his wife and child to leave at once for Richmond,
the general, without waiting for breakfast, had hastened to the
front. The Federals were crossing the Rappahannock, and Stonewall
Jackson had gone to his last field.*

(* The Army of the Potomac was now constituted as follows:--

Engineer Brigade.
First Corps. Reynolds.
Second Corps. Couch.
Third Corps. Sickles.

Divisions. Birney.

Fifth Corps. Meade.
Sixth Corps. Sedgwiok.
Eleventh Corps. Howard.

Divisions. McClean.
Von Steinwehr.

Twelfth Corps. Slocum.

Divisions. Williams.

Cavalry Corps. Stoneman.

Divisions. Pleasonton.


Headquarters, Second Corps, Army of N. Va.:

April 13, 1863.

General Orders, No. 26.

I. .......

II. Each division will move precisely at the time indicated in the
order of march, and if a division or brigade is not ready to move at
that time, the next will proceed and take its place, even if a
division should be separated thereby.

III. On the march the troops are to have a rest of ten minutes each
hour. The rate of march is not to exceed one mile in twenty-five
minutes, unless otherwise specially ordered. The time of each
division commander will be taken from that of the corps commander.
When the troops are halted for the purpose of resting, arms will be
stacked, ranks broken, and in no case during the march will the
troops be allowed to break ranks without previously stacking arms.

IV. When any part of a battery or train is disabled on a march, the
officer in charge must have it removed immediately from the road, so
that no part of the command be impeded upon its march.

Batteries or trains must not stop in the line of march to water; when
any part of a battery or train, from any cause, loses its place in
the column, it must not pass any part of the column in regaining its

Company commanders will march at the rear of their respective
companies; officers must be habitually occupied in seeing that orders
are strictly enforced; a day's march should be with them a day of
labour; as much vigilance is required on the march as in camp.

Each division commander will, as soon as he arrive at his
camping-ground, have the company rolls called, and guard details
marched to the front of the regiment before breaking ranks; and
immediately afterwards establish his chain of sentinels, and post his
pickets so as to secure the safety of his command, and will soon
thereafter report to their headquarters the disposition made for the
security of his camp.

Division commanders will see that all orders respecting their
divisions are carried out strictly; each division commander before
leaving an encampment will have all damages occasioned by his command
settled for by payment or covered by proper certificates.

V. All ambulances in the same brigade will be receipted for by the
brigade quartermaster, they will be parked together, and habitually
kept together, not being separated unless the exigencies of the
service require, and on marches follow in rear of their respective

Ample details will be made for taking care of the wounded; those
selected will wear the prescribed badge; and no other person
belonging to the army will be permitted to take part in this
important trust.

Any one leaving his appropriate duty, under pretext of taking care of
the wounded, will be promptly arrested, and as soon as charges can be
made out, they will be forwarded.

By command of Lieutenant-General Jackson,

Assistant Adjutant-General.



IT has already been said that while the Army of Northern Virginia lay
in winter quarters the omens did not point to decisive success in the
forthcoming campaign. During the same period that Lincoln and
Stanton, taught by successive disasters, had ceased to interfere with
their generals, Jefferson Davis and Mr. Seddon, his new Secretary of
War, had taken into their own hands the complete control of military
operations. The results appeared in the usual form: on the Northern
side, unity of purpose and concentration; on the Southern,
uncertainty of aim and dispersion. In the West the Confederate
generals were fatally hampered by the orders of the President. In the
East the Army of Northern Virginia, confronted by a mass of more than
130,000 foes, was deprived of three of Longstreet's divisions; and
when, at the end of April, it was reported that Hooker was advancing,
it was absolutely impossible that this important detachment could
rejoin in time to assist in the defence of the Rappahannock.

A full discussion of the Chancellorsville campaign does not fall
within the scope of this biography, but in justice to the Southern
generals--to Lee who resolved to stand his ground, and to Jackson who
approved the resolution--it must be explained that they were in no
way responsible for the absence of 20,000 veterans. Undoubtedly the
situation on the Atlantic littoral was sufficiently embarrassing to
the Confederate authorities. The presence of a Federal force at New
Berne, in North Carolina, threatened the main line of railway by
which Wilmington and Charleston communicated with Richmond, and these
two ports were of the utmost importance to the Confederacy. So
enormous were the profits arising from the exchange of munitions of
war and medicines* (* Quinine sold in the South for one hundred
dollars (Confederate) the ounce. O.R. volume 25 part 2 page 79.) for
cotton and tobacco that English ship-owners embarked eagerly on a
lucrative if precarious traffic. Blockade-running became a recognised
business. Companies were organised which possessed large fleets of
swift steamers. The Bahamas and Bermuda became vast entrepots of
trade. English seamen were not to be deterred from a perilous
enterprise by fear of Northern broadsides or Northern prisons, and
despite the number and activity of the blockading squadrons the
cordon of cruisers and gunboats was constantly broken. Many vessels
were sunk, many captured, many wrecked on a treacherous coast, and
yet enormous quantities of supplies found their way to the arsenals
and magazines of Richmond and Atlanta. The railways, then, leading
from Wilmington and Charleston, the ports most accessible to the
blockade-runners, were almost essential to the existence of the
Confederacy. Soon after the battle of Fredericksburg, General D.H.
Hill was placed in command of the forces which protected them, and,
at the beginning of the New Year, Ransom's division* (* 3594 officers
and men. Report of December 1. O.R. volume 21 page 1082.) was drawn
from the Rappahannock to reinforce the local levies. A few weeks
later* (* Middle of February.) General Lee was induced by Mr. Seddon
to send Longstreet, with the divisions of Hood and Pickett,* (*
Pickett, 7,165; Hood, 7,956: 15,121 officers and men.) to cover
Richmond, which was menaced both from Fortress Monroe and Suffolk.*
(* Lee thought Pickett was sufficient. O.R. volume 21 page 623.)

The Commander-in-Chief, however, while submitting to this detachment
as a necessary evil, had warned General Longstreet so to dispose his
troops that they could return to the Rappahannock at the first alarm.
"The enemy's position," he wrote, "on the sea-coast had been probably
occupied merely for purposes of defence, it was likely that they were
strongly intrenched, and nothing would be gained by attacking them."

The warning, however, was disregarded; and that Mr. Seddon should
have yielded, in the first instance, to the influence of the
sea-power, exciting apprehensions of sudden attack along the whole
seaboard of the Confederacy, may be forgiven him. Important lines of
communication were certainly exposed. But when, in defiance of Lee's
advice that the divisions should be retained within easy reach of
Fredericksburg, he suggested to Longstreet the feasibility of an
attack on Suffolk, one hundred and twenty miles distant from the
Rappahannock, he committed an unpardonable blunder.

Had Jackson been in Longstreet's place, the Secretary's proposal,
however promising of personal renown, would unquestionably have been
rejected. The leader who had kept the main object so steadfastly in
view throughout the Valley campaign would never have overlooked the
expressed wishes of the Commander-in-Chief. Longstreet, however,
brilliant fighting soldier as he was, appears to have misconceived
the duties of a detached force. He was already prejudiced in favour
of a movement against Suffolk. Before he left for his new command, he
had suggested to Lee that one army corps only should remain on the
Rappahannock, while the other operated south of Richmond; and soon
after his arrival he urged upon his superior that, in case Hooker
moved, the Army of Northern Virginia should retire to the North Anna.
In short, to his mind the operations of the main body should be made
subservient to those of the detached force; Lee, with 30,000 men,
holding Hooker's 130,000 in check until Longstreet had won his
victory and could march north to join him. Such strategy was not
likely to find favour at headquarters. It was abundantly evident, in
the first place, that the Army of Northern Virginia must be the
principal objective of the Federals; and, in the second place, that
the defeat of the force of Suffolk, if it were practicable, would
have no effect whatever upon Hooker's action, except insomuch that
his knowledge of Longstreet's absence might quicken his resolution to
advance. Had Suffolk been a point vital to the North the question
would have assumed a different shape. As it was, the town merely
covered a tract of conquered territory, the Norfolk dockyard, and the
mouth of the James River. The Confederates would gain little by its
capture; the Federals would hardly feel its loss. It was most
improbable that a single man of Hooker's army would be detached to
defend a point of such comparative insignificance, and it was quite
possible that Longstreet would be unable to get back in time to meet
him, even on the North Anna. General Lee, however, anxious as ever to
defer to the opinions of the man on the spot, as well as to meet the
wishes of the Government, yielded to Longstreet's insistence that a
fine opportunity for an effective blow presented itself, and in the
first week of April the latter marched against Suffolk.

April 17.

His movement was swift and sudden. But, as Lee had anticipated, the
Federal position was strongly fortified, with the flanks secure, and
Longstreet had no mind to bring matters to a speedy conclusion. "He
could reduce the place," he wrote on April 17, "in two or three days,
but the expenditure of ammunition would be very large; or he could
take it by assault, but at a cost of 3000 men."

The Secretary of War agreed with him that the sacrifice would be too
great, and so, at a time when Hooker was becoming active on the
Rappahannock, Lee's lieutenant was quietly investing Suffolk, one
hundred and twenty miles away.

From that moment the Commander-in-Chief abandoned all hope that his
missing divisions would be with him when Hooker moved. Bitterly
indeed was he to suffer for his selection of a commander for his
detached force. The loss of 3000 men at Suffolk, had the works been
stormed, and Hood and Pickett marched instantly to the Rappahannock,
would have been more than repaid. The addition of 12,000 fine
soldiers, flushed with success, and led by two of the most brilliant
fighting generals in the Confederate armies, would have made the
victory of Chancellorsville a decisive triumph. Better still had
Longstreet adhered to his original orders. But both he and Mr. Seddon
forgot, as Jackson never did, the value of time, and the grand
principle of concentration at the decisive point.

Happily for the South, Hooker, although less flagrantly, was also
oblivious of the first axiom of war. As soon as the weather improved
he determined to move against Richmond. His task, however, was no
simple one. On the opposite bank of the Rappahannock, from Banks'
Ford to Port Royal, a distance of twenty miles, frowned line upon
line of fortifications, protected by abattis, manned by a numerous
artillery, against which it was difficult to find position for the
Federal guns, and occupied by the victors of Fredericksburg. A
frontal attack gave even less promise of success than in Burnside's
disastrous battle. But behind Lee's earthworks were his lines of
supply; the Richmond Railway, running due south, with the road to
Bowling Green alongside; and second, the plank road, which, running
at first due west, led past Chancellorsville, a large brick mansion,
standing in a dense forest, to Orange Court House and the depots on
the Virginia Central Railroad.

At these roads and railways Hooker determined to strike, expecting
that Lee would at once fall back, and give the Army of the Potomac
the opportunity of delivering a heavy blow.* (* Hooker to Lincoln,
April 12, O.R. volume 25 part 2 page 199.) To effect his object he
divided his 130,000 men into three distinct bodies. The cavalry,
which, with the exception of one small brigade, had moved under
General Stoneman to Warrenton Junction, was to march by way of
Rappahannock Station, and either capturing or passing Culpeper and
Gordonsville, to cut the Confederate communications, and should Lee
retreat, to hold him fast.* (* The cavalry was to take supplies for
six days, food and forage, depending on the country and on captures
for any further quantity that might be required.) General Sedgwick,
with two army corps, the First and Sixth, forming the left wing of
the army, was to cross the river below Fredericksburg, make a brisk
demonstration of attack, and if the enemy fell back follow him
rapidly down the Bowling Green and Telegraph roads. Then, while Lee's
attention was thus attracted, the right wing, composed of the Fifth,
Eleventh, and Twelfth Corps, with Pleasonton's brigade of cavalry,
under Hooker's own command, would move up the Rappahannock to Kelly's
Ford, push forward to the Rapidan, cross at Ely's and Germanna fords,
and march upon Chancellorsville. The Third Corps was to remain
concentrated on the Stafford Heights, ready to reinforce either wing
as circumstances might require. The Second Corps was to leave one
division on outpost at Falmouth, and to post two divisions on the
north bank of the Rappahannock opposite Banks' Ford.

It will be observed that this design would place a wide interval
between the two wings of the Federal army, thus giving the
Confederates, although much inferior in numbers, the advantage of the
interior lines.* (* From Franklin's Crossing below Fredericksburg,
where Sedgwick's bridges were thrown, to Kelly's Ford is 27 miles; to
Ely's Ford 19 miles, and to Chancellorsville 11 miles.) Hooker,
however, who knew the Confederate strength to a man, was confident
that Lee, directly he found his position turned, and Stoneman in his
rear, would at once retreat on Richmond. Yet he was not blind to the
possibility that his great adversary, always daring, might assume the
offensive, and attempt to crush the Federal wings in detail. Still
the danger appeared small. Either wing was practically equal to the
whole Confederate force. Sedgwick had 40,000, with the Third Corps,
19,000, and a division of the Second, 5,500, close at hand; Hooker
42,000, with two divisions of the Second Corps, 11,000, at Banks'
Ford; the Third Corps could reinforce him in less than
four-and-twenty hours; and Stoneman's 10,000 sabres, riding at will
amongst Lee's supply depots, would surely prevent him from attacking.
Still precaution was taken in case the attempt were made. Sedgwick,
if the enemy detached any considerable part of his force towards
Chancellorsville, was "to carry the works at all hazards, and
establish his force on the Telegraph road."* (* O.R. volume 25 page
268.) The right wing, "if not strongly resisted, was to advance at
all hazards, and secure a position uncovering Banks' Ford."* (* O.R.
volume 25 page 274.) Were the Confederates found in force near
Chancellorsville, it was to select a strong position and await attack
on its own ground, while Sedgwick, coming up from Fredericksburg,
would assail the enemy in flank and rear.

Such was the plan which, if resolutely carried out, bade fair to
crush Lee's army between the upper and the nether millstones, and it
seems that the size and condition of his forces led Hooker to
anticipate an easy victory. If the Army of the Potomac was not "the
finest on the planet," as in an order of the day he boastfully
proclaimed it, it possessed many elements of strength. Hooker was a
strict disciplinarian with a talent for organisation. He had not only
done much to improve the efficiency of his troops, but his vigorous
measures had gone far to restore their confidence. When he succeeded
Burnside a large proportion of the soldiers had lost heart and hope.
The generals who had hitherto commanded them, when compared with Lee
and Jackson, were mere pigmies, and the consciousness that this was
the case had affected the entire army. The Official Records contain
much justification of Jackson's anxiety that Burnside should be
fought on the North Anna, where, if defeated, he might have been
pursued. Although there had been no pursuit after the battle of
Fredericksburg, no harassing marches, no continued retreat, with lack
of supplies, abandoning of wounded, and constant alarms, the Federal
regiments had suffered terribly in morale.

"The winter rains set in," said Hooker, "and all operations were for
a while suspended, the army literally finding itself buried in mud,
from which there was no hope of extrication before spring.

"With this prospect before it, taken in connection with the gloom and
despondency which followed the disaster of Fredericksburg, the army
was in a forlorn, deplorable condition. Reference to the letters from
the army at this time, public and private, affords abundant evidence
of its demoralisation; and these, in their turn, had their effect
upon the friends and relatives of the soldiers at home. At the time
the army was turned over to me desertions were at the rate of about
two hundred a day. So anxious were parents, wives, brothers and
sisters, to relieve their kindred, that they filled the express
trains with packages of citizens' clothing to assist them in escaping
from service. At that time, perhaps, a majority of the officers,
especially those high in rank, were hostile to the policy of the
Government in the conduct of the war. The emancipation proclamation
had been published a short time before, and a large element of the
army had taken sides antagonistic to it, declaring that they would
never have embarked in the war had they anticipated the action of the
Government. When rest came to the army, the disaffected, from
whatever cause, began to show themselves, and make their influence
felt in and out of the camps. I may also state that at the moment I
was placed in command I caused a return to be made of the absentees
of the army, and found the number to be 2922 commissioned officers
and 81,964 non-commissioned officers and privates. They were
scattered all over, the country, and the majority were absent from
causes unknown."* (* Report of Committee on the Conduct of the War.)

In the face of this remarkable report it is curious to read, in the
pages of a brilliant military historian, that "armies composed of the
citizens of a free country, who have taken up arms from patriotic
motives...have constantly exhibited an astonishing endurance, and
possessing a bond of cohesion superior to discipline, have shown
their power to withstand shocks that would dislocate the structure of
other military organisations."* (* Campaigns of the Army of the
Potomac. By William Swinton page 267.) A force which had lost
twenty-five per cent of its strength by desertion, although it had
never been pursued after defeat, would not generally be suspected of
peculiar solidity. Nevertheless, the Northern soldiers must receive
their due. Want of discipline made fearful ravages in the ranks, but,
notwithstanding the defection of so many of their comrades, those
that remained faithful displayed the best characteristics of their
race. The heart of the army was still sound, and only the influence
of a strong and energetic commander was required to restore its
vitality. This influence was supplied by Hooker. The cumbrous
organisation of Grand Divisions was abolished. Disloyal and
unsuccessful generals were removed. Salutary changes were introduced
into the various departments of the staff. The cavalry, hitherto
formed in independent brigades, was consolidated into a corps of
three divisions and a brigade of regulars, and under a system of
careful and uniform inspection made rapid improvement. Strong
measures were taken to reduce the number of deserters. The ranks were
filled by the return of absentees. New regiments were added to the
army corps. The troops were constantly practised in field exercises,
and generals of well-deserved reputation were selected for the
different commands. "All were actuated," wrote Hooker, "by feelings
of confidence and devotion to the cause, and I felt that it was a
living army, and one well worthy of the Republic."

On April 27, after several demonstrations, undertaken with a view of
confusing the enemy, had been made at various points, the grand
movement began.

The Confederate army still held the lines it had occupied for the
past four months. Jackson's army corps extended from Hamilton's
Crossing to Port Royal. McLaws' and Anderson's divisions occupied
Lee's Hill and the ridge northward, and a brigade watched Banks'
Ford. Stuart was with his main body, some 2400 strong, at Culpeper,
observing the great mass of Federal horsemen at Warrenton Junction,
and the line of the Rappahannock was held by cavalry pickets.

The strength of the Army of Northern Virginia, so far as can be
ascertained, did not exceed 62,000 officers and men.


A.P. Hill's Division 11,500
Rodes' Division 9,500
Colston's (Jackson's own) Division, 6,600
Early's Division 7,500
Artillery 2,100

Anderson's Division 8,100
McLaws' Division 8,600
Artillery 1,000

Fitzhugh Lee's Brigade 1,500
W.H.F. Lee's Brigade (two regiments) 900
Reserve Artillery 700
Add for reinforcements received since
March 1, date of last return 4,000
Total 62,000
and l70 guns.

Thus the road to Richmond, threatened by a host of 130,000 men and
428 guns, was to be defended by a force of less than half the size.
Ninety-nine generals out of a hundred would have considered the
situation hopeless. The Confederate lines at Fredericksburg were
certainly very strong, but it was clearly impossible to prevent the
Federals outflanking them. The disparity in strength was far greater
than at Sharpsburg, and it seemed that by sheer weight of numbers the
Southern army must inevitably be driven back. Nor did it appear, so
overwhelming were the Federal numbers, that counter-attack was
feasible. The usual resource of the defender, if his adversary
marches round his flank, is to strike boldly at his communications.
Here, however, Hooker's communications with Aquia Creek were securely
covered by the Rappahannock, and so great was his preponderance of
strength, that he could easily detach a sufficient force to check the
Confederates should they move against them.

Yet now, as on the Antietam, Lee and Jackson declined to take numbers
into consideration. They knew that Hooker was a brave and experienced
soldier, but they had no reason to anticipate that he would handle
his vast masses with more skill than McClellan. That the Northern
soldiers had suffered in morale they were well aware, and while they
divined that the position they themselves had fortified might readily
be made untenable, the fact that such was the case gave them small
concern. They were agreed that the best measures of defence, if an
opening offered, lay in a resolute offensive, and with Hooker in
command it was not likely that the opportunity would be long delayed.

No thought of a strategic retreat, from one position to another, was
entertained. Manoeuvre was to be met by manoeuvre, blow by
counterblow.* (* "The idea of securing the provisions, waggons, guns,
of the enemy is truly tempting, and the idea has haunted me since
December." Lee to Trimble, March 8, 1862. O.R. volume 25 part 2 page
658.) If Hooker had not moved Lee would have forestalled him. On
April 16 he had written to Mr. Davis: "My only anxiety arises from
the condition of our horses, and the scarcity of forage and
provisions. I think it is all important that we should assume the
aggressive by the 1st of May...If we could be placed in a condition
to make a vigorous advance at that time, I think the Valley could be
swept of Milroy (commanding the Federal forces at Winchester), and
the army opposite [Hooker's] be thrown north of the Potomac."* (*
O.R. vol 25 page 725.) Jackson, too, even after Hooker's plan was
developed, indignantly repudiated the suggestion that the forthcoming
campaign must be purely defensive. When some officer on his staff
expressed his fear that the army would be compelled to retreat, he
asked sharply, "Who said that? No, sir, we shall not fall back, we
shall attack them."

At the end of the month, however, Longstreet with his three divisions
was still absent; sufficient supplies for a forward movement had not
yet been accumulated;* (* "From the condition of our horses and the
amount of our supplies I am unable even to act on the defensive as
vigorously as circumstances might reguire." Lee to Davis, April 27,
O.R. volume 25 page 752.) two brigades of cavalry, Hampton's and
Jenkins', which had been sent respectively to South Carolina and the
Valley, had not rejoined,* (* On April 20 Lee had asked that the
cavalry regiments not needed in other districts might be sent to the
Army of Northern Virginia. The request was not compiled with until
too late. O.R. volume 25 pages 740, 741.) and Hooker had already
seized the initiative.

The first news which came to hand was that a strong force of all arms
was moving up the Rappahannock in the direction of Kelly's Ford.

April 28.

This was forwarded by Stuart on the evening of April 28. The next
morning the Federal movements, which might have been no more than a
demonstration, became pronounced.

April 29.

Under cover of a thick fog, pontoon bridges were laid at Deep Run
below Fredericksburg; Sedgwick's troops began to cross, and were soon
engaged with Jackson's outposts; while, at the same time, the report
came in that a force of unknown strength had made the passage at
Kelly's Ford.

Lee displayed no perturbation. Jackson, on receiving information of
Sedgwick's movement from his outposts, had sent an aide-de-camp to
acquaint the Commander-in-Chief. The latter was still in his tent,
and in reply to the message said: "Well, I heard firing, and I was
beginning to think that it was time some of your lazy young fellows
were coming to tell me what it was about. Tell your good general he
knows what to do with the enemy just as well as I do."* (* On March
12, before Hooker had even framed his plan of operations, Lee had
received information that the Federals, as soon as the state of the
roads permitted, would cross at United States, Falmouth, and some
point below; the attempt at Falmouth to be a feint. O.R. volume 25
part 2 page 664.)

The divisions of the Second Army Corps were at once called up to
their old battle-ground, and while they were on the march Jackson
occupied himself with watching Sedgwick's movements. The Federals
were busily intrenching on the river bank, and on the heights behind
frowned the long line of artillery that had proved at Fredericksburg
so formidable an obstacle to the Confederate attack. The enemy's
position was very strong, and the time for counterstroke had not yet
come. During the day the cavalry was actively engaged between the
Rappahannock and the Rapidan, testing the strength of the enemy's
columns. The country was wooded, the Federals active, and as usual in
war, accurate information was difficult to obtain and more difficult
to communicate. It was not till 6.30 P.M. that Lee received notice
that troops had crossed at Ely's and Germanna Fords at 2 P.M.
Anderson's division was at once dispatched to Chancellorsvile.

April 30.

The next message, which does not appear to have been received until
the morning of the 30th, threw more light on the situation. Stuart
had made prisoners from the Fifth, the Eleventh, and the Twelfth
Corps, and had ascertained that the corps commanders, Meade, Howard,
and Slocum, were present with the troops. Anderson, moreover, who had
been instructed to select and intrench a strong position, was falling
back from Chancellorsville before the enemy's advance, and two things
became clear:--

1. That it was Hooker's intention to turn the Confederate left.

2. That he had divided his forces.

The question now to be decided was which wing should be attacked
first. There was much to be said in favour of crushing Sedgwick. His
numbers were estimated at 35,000 men, and the Confederates had over
60,000. Moreover, time is a most important consideration in the use
of interior lines. The army was already concentrated in front of
Sedgwick, whereas it would require a day's march to seek Hooker in
the forest round Chancellorsville. Sedgwick's, too, was the smaller
of the Federal wings, and his overthrow would certainly ruin Hooker's
combinations. "Jackson at first," said Lee, "preferred to attack
Sedgwick's force in the plain of Fredericksburg, but I told him I
feared it was as impracticable as it was at the first battle of
Fredericksburg. It was hard to get at the enemy, and harder to get
away if we drove him into the river, but if he thought it could be
done, I would give orders for it." Jackson asked to be allowed to
examine the ground, but soon came to the conclusion that the project
was too hazardous and that Lee was right. Orders were then issued for
a concentration against Hooker, 10,000 men, under General Early,
remaining to confront Sedgwick on the heights of Fredericksburg.

We may now turn to the movements of the Federals.

Hooker's right wing had marched at a speed which had been hitherto
unknown in the Army of the Potomac. At nightfall, on April 30, the
three army corps, although they had been delayed by the Confederate
cavalry, were assembled at Chancellorsville. In three days they had
marched forty-six miles over bad roads, had forded breast-high two
difficult rivers, established several bridges, and captured over a
hundred prisoners.* (* The troops carried eight days' supplies: three
days' cooked rations with bread and groceries in the haversacks; five
days' bread and groceries in the knapsacks; five days' "beef on the
hoof." The total weight carried by each man, including sixty rounds
of ammunition, was 45 pounds. The reserve ammunition was carried
principally by pack mules, and only a small number of waggons crossed
the Rappahannock. Four pontoon bridges were laid by the engineers.
One bridge took three-quarters of an hour to lay; the other three,
one and a half hour to lay, and an hour to take up. Each bridge was
from 100 to 140 yards long. O.R. volume 25 pages 215, 216.) Heavy
reinforcements were in rear. The two divisions of the Second Corps
had marched from Banks' Ford to United States Ford, six miles from
Chancellorsville; while the Third Corps, ordered up from the Stafford
Heights, was rapidly approaching the same point of passage. Thus,
70,000 men, in the highest spirits at the success of their
manoeuvres, were massed in rear of Lee's lines, and Hooker saw
victory within his grasp.

"It is with heartfelt satisfaction," ran his general order, "that the
commanding general announces to his army that the operations of the
last three days have determined that our enemy must either
ingloriously fly or come out from behind his defences, and give us
battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him. The
operations of the Fifth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Corps have been a
succession of splendid achievements."

Hooker was skinning the lion while the beast yet lived, but he had
certainly much reason for congratulation. His manoeuvres had been
skilfully planned and energetically executed. The two rivers which
protected the Confederate position had been crossed without loss; the
Second and Third Corps had been brought into close touch with the
right wing; Lee's earthworks were completely turned, and Stoneman's
cavalry divisions, driving the enemy's patrols before them, were
already within reach of Orange Court House, and not more than twenty
miles from Gordonsville. Best of all, the interval between the two
wings--twenty-six miles on the night of the 28th--was now reduced to
eleven miles by the plank road.

Two things only were unsatisfactory:--

1. The absence of information.

2. The fact that the whole movement had been observed by the
Confederate cavalry.

Pleasonton's brigade of horse had proved too weak for the duty
assigned to it. It had been able to protect the front, but it was too
small to cover the flanks; and at the flanks Stuart had persistently
struck. Hooker appears to have believed that Stoneman's advance
against the Central Railroad would draw off the whole of the
Confederate horse. Stuart, however, was not to be beguiled from his
proper functions. Never were his squadrons more skilfully handled
than in this campaign. With fine tactical insight, as soon as the
great movement on Chancellorsville became pronounced, he had attacked
the right flank of the Federal columns with Fitzhugh Lee's brigade,
leaving only the two regiments under W.H.F. Lee to watch Stoneman's
10,000 sabres. Then, having obtained the information he required, he
moved across the Federal front, and routing one of Pleasonton's
regiments in a night affair near Spotsylvania Court House, he had
regained touch with his own army. The results of his manoeuvres were
of the utmost importance. Lee was fully informed as to his
adversary's strength; the Confederate cavalry was in superior
strength at the critical point, that is, along the front of the two
armies; and Hooker had no knowledge whatever of what was going on in
the space between Sedgwick and himself. He was only aware, on the
night of April 30, that the Confederate position before
Fredericksburg was still strongly occupied.

The want, however, of accurate information gave him no uneasiness.
The most careful arrangements had been made to note and report every
movement of the enemy the next day.

No less than three captive balloons, in charge of skilled observers,
looked down upon the Confederate earthworks.* (* Balloons, which had
been first used in the Peninsular campaign, were not much dreaded by
the Confederates. "The experience of twenty months' warfare has
taught them how little formidable such engines of war are." Special
Correspondent of the Times at Fredericksburg, January 1, 1863.)
Signal stations and observatories had been established on each
commanding height; a line of field telegraph had been laid from
Falmouth to United States Ford, and the chief of the staff, General
Butterfield, remained at the former village in communication with
General Sedgwick. If the weather were clear, and the telegraph did
not fail, it seemed impossible that either wing of the Federal army
could fail to be fully and instantly informed of the situation of the
other, or that a single Confederate battalion could change position
without both Hooker and Sedgwick being at once advised.

Moreover, the Federal Commander-in-Chief was so certain that Lee
would retreat that his deficiency in cavalry troubled him not at all.
He had determined to carry out his original design.

May 1.

The next morning--May 1--the right wing was to move by the plank road
and uncover Banks' Ford, thus still further shortening the line of
communication between the two wings; and as the chief of the staff
impressed on Sedgwick, it was "expected to be on the heights west of
Fredericksburg at noon or shortly after, or, if opposed strongly, at
night." Sedgwick, meanwhile, was "to observe the enemy's movements
with the utmost vigilance; should he expose a weak point, to attack
him in full force and destroy him; should he show any symptom of
falling back, to pursue him with the utmost vigour."* (* O.R. volume
25 page 306.)

But Hooker was to find that mere mechanical precautions are not an
infallible remedy for a dangerous situation. The Confederates had not
only learned long since the importance of concealment, and the
advantage of night marches, but in the early morning of May 1 the
river mists rendered both balloons and observatories useless. Long
before the sun broke through the fog, both McLaws and Jackson had
joined Anderson at Tabernacle Church, and a strong line of battle had
been established at the junction of the two roads, the pike and the
plank, which led east from Chancellorsville. The position was
favourable, running along a low ridge, partially covered with timber,
and with open fields in front. Beyond those fields, a few hundred
paces distant, rose the outskirts of a great forest, stretching far
away over a gently undulating country. This forest, twenty miles in
length from east to west, and fifteen in breadth from north to south,
has given to the region it covers the name of the Wilderness of
Spotsylvania, and in its midst the Federal army was now involved.
Never was ground more unfavourable for the manoeuvres of a large
army. The timber was unusually dense. The groves of pines were
immersed in a sea of scrub-oak and luxuriant undergrowth. The soil
was poor. Farms were rare, and the few clearings were seldom more
than a rifle shot in width. The woodland tracks were seldom
travelled; streams with marshy banks and tortuous courses were met at
frequent intervals, and the only debouchee towards Fredericksburg,
the pike, the plank road, an unfinished line of railway a mile south
of their junction, and the river road, about two miles north, were
commanded from the Confederate position.

8 A.M.

When Jackson arrived upon the scene, Anderson, with the help of Lee's
engineers, had strongly intrenched the whole front. A large force of
artillery had already taken post. The flanks of the line were
covered; the right, which extended to near Duerson's Mill, by Mott's
Run and the Rappahannock; the left, which rested on the unfinished
railroad not far from Tabernacle Church, by the Massaponax Creek. For
the defence of this position, three miles in length, there were
present 45,000 infantry, over 100 guns, and Fitzhugh Lee's brigade of
cavalry, a force ample for the purpose, and giving about nine men to
the yard. On the rolling ground eastward there was excellent cover
for the reserves, and from the breastworks to the front the defiles,
for such, owing to the density of the wood, were the four roads by
which the enemy must approach, might be so effectively swept as to
prevent him from deploying either artillery or infantry.

But Jackson was not disposed to await attack. Only 10,000 men
remained in the Fredericksburg lines to confront Sedgwick, and if
that officer acted vigorously, his guns would soon be heard in rear
of the lines at Tabernacle Church. Work on the intrenchments was at
once broken off, and the whole force was ordered to prepare for an
immediate advance on Chancellorsville.

10.45 A.M.

Before eleven o'clock the rear brigades had closed up; and marching
by the pike and the plank road, with a regiment of cavalry in
advance, and Fitzhugh Lee upon the left, the Confederate army plunged
resolutely into the gloomy depths of the great forest. Anderson's
division led the way, one brigade on the pike, and two on the plank
road; a strong line of skirmishers covered his whole front, and his
five batteries brought up the rear. Next in order came McLaws,
together with the two remaining brigades of Anderson, moving by the
pike, while Jackson's three divisions were on the plank road. The
artillery followed the infantry.

About a mile towards Chancellorsville the Federal cavalry was found
in some force, and as the patrols gave way, a heavy force of infantry
was discovered in movement along the pike. General McLaws, who had
been placed in charge of the Confederate right, immediately deployed
his four leading brigades, and after the Federal artillery,
unlimbering in an open field, had fired a few rounds, their infantry
advanced to the attack. The fight was spirited but short. The
Northern regulars of Sykes' division drove in the Confederate
skirmishers, but were unable to make ground against the line of
battle. Jackson, meanwhile, who had been at once informed of the
encounter, had ordered the troops on the plank road to push briskly
forward, and the Federals, finding their right in danger of being
enveloped, retired on Chancellorsvile. Another hostile column was
shortly afterwards met on the plank road, also marching eastward.
Again there was a skirmish, and again Jackson, ordering a brigade to
march rapidly along the unfinished railroad, had recourse to a
turning movement; but before the manoeuvre was completed, the
Federals began to yield, and all opposition gradually melted away.
The following order was then sent to McLaws:--

2.30 P.M.

Headquarters, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia,

May 1, 1863, 2.30 P.M. (received 4 P.M.).


The Lieutenant-General commanding directs me to say that he is
pressing up the plank road; also, that you will press on up the
turnpike towards Chancellorsville, as the enemy is falling back.

Keep your skirmishers and flanking parties well out, to guard against

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.* (* O.R. volume 25 page 764.)

There was something mysterious in so easy a victory. The enemy was
evidently in great strength, for, on both roads, heavy columns had
been observed behind the lines of skirmishers. Several batteries had
been in action; cavalry was present; and the Confederate scouts
reported that a third column, of all arms, had marched by the river
road toward Banks' Ford, and had then, like the others, unaccountably
withdrawn. The pursuit, therefore, was slow and circumspect. Wilcox'
brigade, on the extreme right, moved up the Mine road, in the
direction of Duerson's Mill; Wright's brigade, on the extreme left,
followed Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry on the unfinished railroad; while the
main body, well closed up, still kept to the main highways.

5 P.M.

At length, late in the afternoon, Hooker's tactics became clear. As
Jackson's advanced guards approached Chancellorsville, the resistance
of the Federal skirmishers, covering the retreat, became more
stubborn. From the low ridge, fringed by heavy timber, on which the
mansion stands, the fire of artillery, raking every avenue of
approach, grew more intense, and it was evident that the foe was
standing fast on the defensive.

The Confederate infantry, pushing forward through the undergrowth,
made but tardy progress; the cavalry patrols found that every road
and bridle-path was strongly held, and it was difficult in the
extreme to discover Hooker's exact position. Jackson himself, riding
to the front to reconnoitre, nearly fell a victim to the recklessness
he almost invariably displayed when in quest of information. The
cavalry had been checked at Catherine Furnace, and were waiting the
approach of the infantry. Wright's brigade was close at hand, and
swinging round northwards, drove back the enemy's skirmishers, until,
in its turn, it was brought up by the fire of artillery. Just at this
moment Jackson galloped up, and begged Stuart to ride forward with
him in order to find a point from which the enemy's guns might be
enfiladed. A bridle-path, branching off from the main road to the
right, led to a hillock about half a mile distant, and the two
generals, accompanied by their staffs, and followed by a battery of
horse-artillery, made for this point of vantage. "On reaching the
spot," says Stuart's adjutant-general, "so dense was the undergrowth,
it was found impossible to find enough clear space to bring more than
one gun at a time into position; the others closed up immediately
behind, and the whole body of us completely blocked up the narrow
road. Scarcely had the smoke of our first shot cleared away, when a
couple of masked batteries suddenly opened on us at short range, and
enveloped us in a storm of shell and canister, which, concentrated on
so narrow a space, did fearful execution among our party, men and
horses falling right and left, the animals kicking and plunging
wildly, and everybody eager to disentangle himself from the
confusion, and get out of harm's way. Jackson, as soon as he found
out his mistake, ordered the guns to retire; but the confined space
so protracted the operation of turning, that the enemy's cannon had
full time to continue their havoc, covering the road with dead and
wounded. That Jackson and Stuart with their staff officers escaped
was nothing short of miraculous."* (* Memoirs of the Confederate War.
Heros von Boreke.)

Other attempts at reconnaissance were more successful. Before
nightfall it was ascertained that Hooker was in strong force on the
Chancellorsville ridge, along the plank road, and on a bare plateau
to the southward called Hazel Grove. "Here," in the words of General
Lee, "he had assumed a position of great natural strength, surrounded
on all sides by a dense forest, filled with a tangled undergrowth, in
the midst of which breastworks of logs had been constructed, with
trees felled in front, so as to form an almost impenetrable abattis.
His artillery swept the few narrow roads, by which the position could
be approached from the front, and commanded the adjacent woods. The
left of his line extended from Chancellorsville towards the
Rappahannock, covering the Bark Mill (United States) Ford, which
communicated with the north bank of the river by a pontoon bridge.
His right stretched westward along the Germanna Ford road (the pike)
more than two miles. As the nature of the country rendered it
hazardous to attack by night, our troops were halted and formed in
line of battle in front of Chancellorsville at right angles to the
plank road, extending on the right to the Mine road, and to the left
in the direction of the Catherine Furnace."

As darkness falls upon the Wilderness, and the fire of the outposts,
provoked by every movement of the patrols, gradually dies away, we
may seek the explanation of the Federal movements. On finding that
his enemy, instead of "ingloriously flying," was advancing to meet
him, and advancing with confident and aggressive vigour, Hooker's


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