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

Part 17 out of 19

resolution had failed him. Waiting till his force was concentrated,
until the Second and Third Corps had crossed at United States Ford,
and were close to Chancellorsville, it was not till eleven o'clock on
the morning of May 1 that he had marched in three great columns
towards Fredericksburg. His intention was to pass rapidly through the
Wilderness, secure the open ground about Tabernacle Church, and
there, with ample space for deployment, to form for battle, and move
against the rear of Marye's Hill.* (* O.R. volume 25 page 324.) But
before his advanced guards got clear of the forest defiles they found
the Confederates across their path, displaying an unmistakable
purpose of pressing the attack. Hooker at once concluded that Lee was
marching against him with nearly his whole force, and of the strength
of that force, owing to the weakness of his cavalry, he was not
aware. The news from the Stafford Heights was disquieting. As soon as
the fog had lifted, about nine o'clock in the morning, the signal
officers and balloonists had descried long columns of troops and
trains marching rapidly towards Chancellorsville.* (* O.R. volume 25
pages 323, 336.) This was duly reported by the telegraph,* (* Ibid
page 326. The telegraph, however, appears to have worked badly, and
dispatches took several hours to pass from Falmouth to
Chancellorsville.) and it was correctly inferred to signify that Lee
was concentrating against the Federal right. But at the same time
various movements were observed about Hamilton's Crossing; columns
appeared marching from the direction of Gurney's Station; there was
much traffic on the railway, and several deserters from Lee's army
declared, on being examined, that Hood's and Pickett's divisions had
arrived from Richmond.* (* Ibid page 327.) The statements of these
men--who we may suspect were not such traitors as they appeared--were
confirmed by the fact that Sedgwick, who was without cavalry, had
noticed no diminution in the force which held the ridge before him.

It is easy, then, to understand Hooker's decision to stand on the
defensive. With a prudent foresight which does him much credit,
before he marched in the morning he had ordered the position about
Chancellorsville, covering his lines of retreat to United States and
Ely's Fords, to be reconnoitred and intrenched, and his front, as Lee
said, was undoubtedly very strong. He would assuredly have done
better had he attacked vigorously when he found the Confederates
advancing. His sudden retrograde movement, especially as following
the swift and successful manoeuvres which had turned Lee's position,
could not fail to have a discouraging effect upon the troops; and if
Sedgwick had been ordered to storm the Fredericksburg lines, the
whole Federal force could have been employed, and the Confederates,
assailed in front and rear simultaneously, must, to say the least,
have been embarrassed. But in abandoning his design of crushing Lee
between his two wings, and in retiring to the stronghold he had
prepared, Hooker did what most ordinary generals would have done,
especially one who had served on the losing side at Fredericksburg.
He had there learned the value of intrenchments. He had seen division
after division shatter itself in vain against a stone wall and a few
gun-pits, and it is little wonder that he had imbibed a profound
respect for defensive tactics. He omitted, however, to take into
consideration two simple facts. First, that few districts contain two
such positions as those of the Confederates at Fredericksburg; and,
secondly, that the strength of a position is measured not by the
impregnability of the front, but by the security of the flanks. The
Fredericksburg lines, resting on the Rappahannock and the Massaponax,
had apparently safe flanks, and yet he himself had completely turned
them, rendering the whole series of works useless without firing a
shot. Were Lee and Jackson the men to knock their heads, like
Burnside, against stout breastworks strongly manned? Would they not
rather make a wide sweep, exactly as he himself had done, and force
him to come out of his works? Hooker, however, may have said that if
they marched across his front, he would attack them en route, as did
Napoleon at Austerlitz and Wellington at Salamanca, and cut their
army in two. But here he came face to face with the fatal defect of
the lines he had selected, and also of the disposition he had made of
his cavalry. The country near Chancellorsville was very unlike the
rolling plains of Austerlitz or the bare downs of Salamanca. From no
part of the Federal position did the view extend for more than a few
hundred yards. Wherever the eye turned rose the dark and impenetrable
screen of close-growing trees, interlaced with wild vines and matted
undergrowth, and seamed with rough roads, perfectly passable for
troops, with which his enemies were far better acquainted than
himself. Had Stoneman's cavalry been present, the squadrons, posted
far out upon the flanks, and watching every track, might have given
ample warning of any turning movement, exactly as Stuart's cavalry
had given Lee warning of Hooker's own movement upon Chancellorsville.
As it was, Pleasonton's brigade was too weak to make head against
Stuart's regiments; and Hooker could expect no early information of
his enemy's movements.

He thus found himself in the dilemma which a general on the
defensive, if he be weak in cavalry, has almost invariably to face,
especially in a close country. He was ignorant, and must necessarily
remain ignorant, of where the main attack would be made. Lee, on the
other hand, by means of his superior cavalry, could reconnoitre the
position at his leisure, and if he discovered a weak point could
suddenly throw the greater portion of his force against it. Hooker
could only hope that no weak point existed. Remembering that the
Confederates were on the pike and the plank road, there certainly
appeared no cause for apprehension. The Fifth Corps, with its flank
on the Rappahannock, held the left, covering the river and the old
Mine roads. Next in succession came the Second Corps, blocking the
pike. In the centre the Twelfth Corps, under General Slocum, covered
Chancellorsville. The Third Corps, under Sickles, held Hazel Grove,
with Berry's division as general reserve; and on the extreme right,
his breastworks running along the plank road as far as Talley's
Clearing, was Howard with the Eleventh Corps, composed principally of
German regiments. Strong outposts of infantry had been thrown out
into the woods; the men were still working in the intrenchments;
batteries were disposed so as to sweep every approach from the south,
the south-east, or the south-west, and there were at least five men
to every yard of parapet. The line, however, six miles from flank to
flank, was somewhat extensive, and to make certain, so far as
possible, that sufficient numbers should be forthcoming to defend the
position, at 1.55 on the morning of May 2, Sedgwick was instructed to
send the First Army Corps to Chancellorsville. Before midnight,
moreover, thirty-four guns, principally horse. Artillery, together
with a brigade of infantry, were sent from Falmouth to Banks' Ford.

Sedgwick, meantime, below Fredericksburg, had contented himself with
engaging the outposts on the opposite ridge. An order to make a brisk
demonstration, which Hooker had dispatched at 11.30 A.M., did not
arrive, the telegraph having broken down, until 5.45 P.M., six hours
later; and it was then too late to effect any diversion in favour of
the main army.

Yet it can hardly be said that Sedgwick had risen to the height of
his responsibilities. He knew that a portion at least of the
Confederates had marched against Hooker, and the balloonists had
early reported that a battle was in progress near Tabernacle Church.
But instead of obeying Napoleon's maxim and marching to the sound of
the cannon, he had made no effort to send support to his commander.
Both he and General Reynolds* (* The following letter (O.R. volume 25
page 337) is interesting as showing the state of mind into which the
commanders of detached forces are liable to be thrown by the absence
of information:--

Headquarters, First Corps, May 1, 1863.

Major-General Sedgwick,

I think the proper view to take of affairs is this: If they have not
detached more than A.P. Hill's division from our front, they have
been keeping up appearances, showing weakness, with a view of
delaying Hooker, and tempting us to make an attack on their fortified
position, and hoping to destroy us and strike for our depot over our
bridges. We ought therefore, in my judgment, to know something of
what has transpired on our right.

JOHN F. REYNOLDS, Major-General.) considered "that to have attacked
before Hooker had accomplished some success, in view of the strong
position and numbers in their front, might have failed to dislodge
the enemy, and have rendered them unserviceable at the proper time."*
(* Dispatch of Chief of the Staff to Hooker, dated 4 P.M., May 1.
O.R. volume 25 page 326.) That is, they were not inclined to risk
their own commands in order to assist Hooker, of whose movements they
were uncertain. Yet even if they had been defeated, Hooker would
still have had more men than Lee.


At a council of war held during the night at Chancellorville House,
the Federal generals were by no means unanimous as to the operations
of the morrow. Some of the generals advised an early assault. Others
favoured a strictly defensive attitude. Hooker himself wished to
contract his lines so as to strengthen them; but as the officers
commanding on the right were confident of the strength of their
intrenchments, it was at length determined that the army should await
attack in its present position.

Three miles down the plank road, under a grove of oak and pine, Lee
and Jackson, while their wearied soldiers slept around them, planned
for the fourth and the last time the overthrow of the great army with
which Lincoln still hoped to capture Richmond. At this council there
was no difference of opinion. If Hooker had not retreated before the
morning--and Jackson thought it possible he was already
demoralised--he was to be attacked. The situation admitted of no
other course. It was undoubtedly a hazardous operation for an
inferior force to assault an intrenched position; but the Federal
army was divided, the right wing involved in a difficult and
unexplored country, with which the Confederate generals and staff
were more or less familiar, and an opportunity so favourable might
never recur. "Fortune," says Napoleon, "is a woman, who must be wooed
while she is in the mood. If her favours are rejected, she does not
offer them again." The only question was where the attack should be
delivered. Lee himself had reconnoitred the enemy's left. It was very
utrong, resting on the Rappahannock, and covered by a stream called
Mineral Spring Run. Two of Jackson's staff officers had reconnoitred
the front, and had pronounced it impregnable, except at a fearful
sacrifice of life. But while the generals were debating, Stuart rode
in with the reports of his cavalry officers, and the weak point of
the position was at once revealed. General Fitzhugh Lee, to whose
skill and activity the victory of Chancellorsville was in great part
due, had discovered that the Federal right, on the plank road, was
completely in the air; that is, it was protected by no natural
obstacle, and the breastworks faced south, and south only. It was
evident that attack from the west or north-west was not anticipated,
and Lee at once seized upon the chance of effecting a surprise.

Yet the difficulties of the proposed operation were very great. To
transfer a turning column to a point from which the Federal right
might be effectively outflanked necessitated a long march by the
narrow and intricate roadways of the Wilderness, and a division of
the Confederate army into two parts, between which communication
would be most precarious. To take advantage of the opportunity the
first rule of war must be violated. But as it has already been said,
the rules of war only point out the dangers which are incurred by
breaking them; and, in this case, before an enemy on the defensive
from whom the separation might be concealed until it is too late for
him to intervene, the risks of dispersion were much reduced. The
chief danger lay in this, that the two wings, each left to its own
resources, might fail to act in combination, just as within the past
twenty-four hours Hooker and Sedgwick had failed. But Lee knew that
in Jackson he possessed a lieutenant whose resolution was invincible,
and that the turning column, if entrusted to his charge, would be
pushed forward without stop or stay until it had either joined hands
with the main body, or had been annihilated.

Moreover, the battle of Fredericksburg had taught both armies that
the elaborate constructions of the engineer are not the only or the
most useful resources of fortification. Hooker had ordered his
position to be intrenched in the hope that Lee and Jackson, following
Burnside's example, would dash their divisions into fragments against
them and thus become an easy prey. Lee, with a broader appreciation
of the true tactical bearing of ditch and parapet, determined to
employ them as a shelter for his own force until Jackson's movement
was completed, and the time had come for a general advance. Orders
were at once sent to General McLaws to cover his front, extending
across the pike and the plank roads, with a line of breastworks; and
long before daylight the soldiers of his division, with the scanty
means at their disposal, were busy as beavers amongst the timber.

It only remained, then, to determine the route and the strength of
the outflanking force; and here it may be observed that the
headquarters staff appears to have neglected certain precautions for
which there had been ample leisure. So long ago as March 19 a council
of war had decided that if Hooker attacked he would do so by the
upper fords, and yet the Wilderness, lying immediately south of the
points of passage, had not been adequately examined. Had Jackson been
on the left wing above Fredericksburg, instead of on the right, near
Hamilton's Crossing, we may be certain that accurate surveys would
have been forthcoming. As it was, the charts furnished to the
Commander-in-Chief were untrustworthy, and information had to be
sought from the country-people.

May 2. 2.30 A.M.

"About daylight on May 2," says Major Hotchkiss, "General Jackson
awakened me, and requested that I would at once go down to Catherine
Furnace, which is quite near, and where a Colonel Welford lived, and
ascertain if there was any road by which we could secretly pass round
Chancellorsville to the vicinity of Old Wilderness Tavern. I had a
map, which our engineers had prepared from actual surveys, of the
surrounding country, showing all the public roads, but with few
details of the intermediate topography. Reaching Mr. Welford's, I
aroused him from his bed, and soon learned that he himself had
recently opened a road through the woods in that direction for the
purpose of hauling cord-wood and iron ore to his furnace. This I
located on the map, and having asked Mr. Welford if he would act as a
guide if it became necessary to march over that road, I returned to

3.30 A.M.

"When I reached those I found Generals Lee and Jackson in conference,
each seated on a cracker box, from a pile which had been left there
by the Federals the day before. In response to General Jackson's
request for my report, I put another cracker box between the two
generals, on which I spread the map, showed them the road I had
ascertained, and indicated, so far as I knew it, the position of the
Federal army. General Lee then said, "General Jackson, what do you
propose to do?" He replied, "Go around here," moving his finger over
the road which I had located upon the map. General Lee said, "What do
you propose to make this movement with?" "With my whole corps," was
the answer. General Lee then asked, "What will you leave me?" "The
divisions of Anderson and McLaws," said Jackson. General Lee, after a
moment's reflection, remarked, "Well, go on," and then, pencil in
hand, gave his last instructions. Jackson, with an eager smile upon
his face, from time to time nodded assent, and when the
Commander-in-Chief ended with the words, "General Stuart will cover
your movement with his cavalry," he rose and saluted, saying, "My
troops will move at once, sir.""* (* Letter to the author. A letter
of General Lee to Mrs. Jackson, which contains a reference to this
council of war, appears as a Note at the end of the chapter.) The
necessary orders were forthwith dispatched. The trains, parked in
open fields to the rear, were to move to Todd's Tavern, and thence
westward by interior roads; the Second Army Corps was to march in one
column, Rodes' division in front, and A.P. Hill's in rear; the First
Virginia Cavalry, with whom was Fitzhugh Lee, covered the front;
squadrons of the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 5th were on the right;
Hotchkiss, accompanied by a squad of couriers, was to send back
constant reports to General Lee; the commanding officers were
impressed with the importance of celerity and secrecy; the ranks were
to be kept well closed up, and all stragglers were to be bayoneted.

4.5 A.M.

The day had broken without a cloud, and as the troops began their
march in the fresh May morning, the green vistas of the Wilderness,
grass under foot, and thick foliage overhead, were dappled with
sunshine. The men, comprehending intuitively that a daring and
decisive movement was in progress, pressed rapidly forward, and
General Lee, standing by the roadside to watch them pass, saw in
their confident bearing the presage of success. Soon after the first
regiments had gone by Jackson himself appeared at the head of his
staff. Opposite to the Commander-in-Chief he drew rein, and the two
conversed for a few moments. Then Jackson rode on, pointing in the
direction in which his troops were moving. "His face," says an
eyewitness, "was a little flushed, as it was turned to General Lee,
who nodded approval of what he said." Such was the last interview
between Lee and Jackson.

Then, during four long hours, for the column covered at least ten
miles, the flood of bright rifles and tattered uniforms swept with
steady flow down the forest track. The artillery followed, the guns
drawn by lean and wiry horses, and the ammunition waggons and
ambulances brought up the rear. In front was a regiment of cavalry,
the 5th Virginia, accompanied by General Fitzhugh Lee; on the flanks
were some ten squadrons, moving by the tracks nearest the enemy's
outposts; a regiment of infantry, the 23rd Georgia, was posted at the
cross-roads near Catherine Furnace; and the plank road was well
guarded until Anderson's troops came up to relieve the rear brigades
of the Second Army Corps.

Meanwhile, acting under the immediate orders of General Lee, and most
skilfully handled by McLaws and Anderson, the 10,000 Confederates who
had been left in position opposite the Federal masses kept up a brisk
demonstration. Artillery was brought up to every point along the
front which offered space for action; skirmishers, covered by the
timber, engaged the enemy's pickets, and maintained a constant fire,
and both on the pike and the river road the lines of battle, disposed
so as to give an impression of great strength, threatened instant
assault. Despite all precautions, however, Jackson's movement did not
escape the notice of the Federals.

8 A.M.

A mile north of Catherine Furnace the eminence called Hazel Grove,
clear of timber, looked down the valley of the Lewis Creek, and as
early as 8 A.M. General Birney, commanding the Federal division at
this point, reported the passage of a long column across his front.

The indications, however, were deceptive. At first, it is probable,
the movement seemed merely a prolongation of the Confederate front;
but it soon received a different interpretation. The road at the
point where Jackson's column was observed turned due south; it was
noticed that the troops were followed by their waggons, and that they
were turning their backs on the Federal lines. Hooker, when he
received Birney's report, jumped to the conclusion that Lee, finding
the direct road to Richmond, through Bowling Green, threatened by
Sedgwick, was retreating on Gordonsville.

11 A.M.

About 11 A.M. a battery was ordered into action on the Hazel Grove

12.15 P.M.

The fire caused some confusion in the Confederate ranks; the trains
were forced on to another road; and shortly after noon, General
Sickles, commanding the Third Army Corps, was permitted by Hooker to
advance upon Catherine Furnace and to develop the situation. Birney's
division moved forward, and Whipple's soon followed. This attack,
which threatened to cut the Confederate army in two, was so
vigorously opposed by Anderson's division astride the plank road and
by the 23rd Georgia at the Furnace, that General Sickles was
constrained to call for reinforcements. Barlow's brigade, which had
hitherto formed the reserve of the Eleventh Corps, holding the
extreme right of the Federal line, the flank at which Jackson was
aiming, was sent to his assistance. Pleasonton's cavalry brigade
followed. Sickles' movement, even before the fresh troops arrived,
had met with some success. The 23rd Georgia, driven back to the
unfinished railroad and surrounded, lost 300 officers and men. But
word had been sent to Jackson's column, and Colonel Brown's artillery
battalion, together with the brigades of Archer and Thomas, rapidly
retracing their steps, checked the advance in front, while Anderson,
manoeuvring his troops with vigour, struck heavily against the flank.
Jackson's train, thus effectively protected, passed the dangerous
point in safety, and then Archer and Thomas, leaving Anderson to deal
with Sickles, drew off and pursued their march.

These operations, conducted for the most part in blind thickets,
consumed much time, and Jackson was already far in advance. Moving in
a south-westerly direction, he had struck the Brook road, a narrow
track which runs nearly due north, and crosses both the plank road
and the pike at a point about two miles west of the Federal right
flank. The Brock road, which, had Stoneman's three divisions of
cavalry been present with the Federal army, would have been strongly
held, was absolutely free and unobstructed. Since the previous
evening Fitzhugh Lee's patrols had remained in close touch with the
enemy's outposts, and no attempt had been made to drive them in. So
with no further obstacle than the heat the Second Army Corps pressed
on. Away to the right, echoing faintly through the Wilderness, came
the sound of cannon and the roll of musketry; couriers from the rear,
galloping at top speed, reported that the trains had been attacked,
that the rear brigades had turned back to save them, and that the
enemy, in heavy strength, had already filled the gap which divided
the Confederate wings. But, though the army was cut in two, Jackson
cast no look behind him. The battle at the Furnace made no more
impression on him than if it was being waged on the Mississippi. He
had his orders to execute; and above all, he was moving at his best
speed towards the enemy's weak point. He knew--and none better--that
Hooker would not long retain the initiative; that every man detached
from the Federal centre made his own chances of success the more
certain; and trusting implicitly in Lee's ability to stave off
defeat, he rode northwards with redoubled assurance of decisive
victory. Forward was the cry, and though the heat was stifling, and
the dust, rising from the deep ruts on the unmetalled road, rose in
dense clouds beneath the trees, and men dropped fainting in the
ranks, the great column pushed on without a check.* (* There were
three halts during the march of fourteen miles. Letter from Major

2 P.M.

About 2 P.M., as the rear brigades, Archer and Thomas, after checking
Sickles, were just leaving Welford's House, some six miles distant,
Jackson himself had reached the plank road, the point where he
intended to turn eastward against the Federal flank. Here he was met
by Fitzhugh Lee, conveying most important and surprising information.

The cavalry regiment had halted when it arrived on the plank road;
all was reported quiet at the front; the patrols were moving
northward, and, attended by a staff officer, the young brigadier had
ridden towards the turnpike. The path they followed led to a wide
clearing at the summit of a hill, from which there was a view
eastward as far as Dowdall's Tavern. Below, and but a few hundred
yards distant, ran the Federal breastworks, with abattis in front and
long lines of stacked arms in rear; but untenanted by a single
company. Two cannon were seen upon the highroad, the horses grazing
quietly near at hand. The soldiers were scattered in small groups,
laughing, cooking, smoking, sleeping, and playing cards, while others
were butchering cattle and drawing rations. What followed is best
told in General Fitzhugh Lee's own words.

"I rode back and met Jackson. "General," said I, "if you will ride
with me, halting your columns here, out of sight, I will show you the
great advantage of attacking down the old turnpike instead of the
plank road, the enemy's lines being taken in reverse. Bring only one
courier, as you will be in view from the top of the hill." Jackson
assented. When we reached the eminence the picture below was still
unchanged, and I watched him closely as he gazed on Howard's troops.
His expression was one of intense interest. His eyes burnt with a
brilliant glow, and his face was slightly flushed, radiant at the
success of his flank movement. To the remarks made to him while the
unconscious line of blue was pointed out he made no reply, and yet
during the five minutes he was on the hill his lips were moving.
"Tell General Rodes," he said, suddenly turning his horse towards the
courier, "to move across the plank road, and halt when he gets to the
old turnpike. I will join him there." One more look at the Federal
lines, and he rode rapidly down the hill."

4 P.M.

The cavalry, supported by the Stonewall Brigade, was immediately
placed a short distance down the plank road, in order to mask the
march of the column. At 4 P.M. Rodes was on the turnpike. Passing
down it for about a mile, in the direction of the enemy's position,
the troops were ordered to halt and form for battle. Not a shot had
been fired. A few hostile patrols had been observed, but along the
line of breastworks, watched closely by the cavalry, the Federal
troops, still in the most careless security, were preparing their
evening meal. Jackson, meanwhile, seated on a stump near the Brock
road, had penned his last dispatch to General Lee.

"Near 3 P.M. May 2, 1863.

"General,--The enemy has made a stand at Chancellor's,* (* Melzi
Chancellor's house; otherwise Dowdall's Tavern.) which is about two
miles from Chancellorsville. I hope as soon as practicable to attack.
I trust that an ever-kind Providence will bless us with great success.


"T.J. JACKSON, Lieutenant-General.

"The leading division is up, and the next two appear to be well


"General B.E. Lee."

25,000 men were now deploying in the forest within a mile of the
Federal works, overlapping them both to north and south, and not a
single general in the Northern army appears to have suspected their
presence. The day had passed quietly at Chancellorsville. At a very
early hour in the morning Hooker, anticipating a vigorous attack, had
ordered the First Army Corps, which had hitherto been acting with
Sedgwick below Fredericksburg, to recross the Rappahannock and march
to Chancellorsville. Averell's division of cavalry, also, which had
been engaged near Orange Court House with W. H. F. Lee's two
regiments, was instructed about the same time to rejoin the army as
soon as possible, and was now marching by the left bank of the
Rapidan to Ely's Ford. Anticipating, therefore, that he would soon be
strongly reinforced, Hooker betrayed no uneasiness. Shortly after
dawn he had ridden round his lines. Expecting at that time to be
attacked in front only, he had no fault to find with their location
or construction. "As he looked over the barricades," says General
Howard, "while receiving the cheers and salutes of the men, he said
to me, 'How strong! how strong!' When the news came that a
Confederate column was marching westward past Catherine Furnace, his
attention, for the moment, was attracted to his right. At 10 A.M. he
was still uncertain as to the meaning of Jackson's movement. As the
hours went by, however, and Jackson's column disappeared in the
forest, he again grew confident; the generals were informed that Lee
was in full retreat towards Gordonsville, and a little later Sedgwick
received the following:

"Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863, 4.10 P.M.

"General Butterfield,--The Major-General Commanding directs that
General Sedgwick cross the river (sic) as soon as indications will
permit,* (* Sedgwick had crossed the river on April 29 and 30.)
capture Fredericksburg with everything in it, and vigorously pursue
the enemy. We know that the enemy is fleeing, trying to save his
trains. Two of Sickles' divisions are among them.


"Brigadier-General and Aide-de-Camp.

"(Copy from Butterfield, at Falmouth, to Sedgwick, 5.50 P.M.)."

At 4 o'clock, therefore, the moment Jackson's vanguard reached the
old turnpike near Luckett's Farm, Hooker believed that all danger of
a flank attack had passed away. His left wing was under orders to
advance, as soon as a swamp to the front could be "corduroyed," and
strike Lee in flank; while to reinforce Sickles, "among the enemy's
trains," Williams' division of the Twelfth Corps was sent forward
from the centre, Howard's reserve brigade (Barlow's) from the right,
and Pleasonton's cavalry brigade from Hazel Grove.

The officers in charge of the Federal right appear to have been as
unsuspicious as their commander. During the morning some slight
preparations were made to defend the turnpike from the westward; a
shallow line of rifle-pits, with a few epaulements for artillery, had
been constructed on a low ridge, commanding open fields, which runs
north from Dowdall's Tavern, and the wood beyond had been partially
entangled. But this was all, and even when the only reserve of the
Eleventh Army Corps, Barlow's brigade, was sent to Sickles, it was
not considered necessary to make any change in the disposition of the
troops. The belief that Lee and Jackson were retreating had taken
firm hold of every mind. The pickets on the flank had indeed
reported, from time to time, that infantry was massing in the
thickets; and the Confederate cavalry, keeping just outside effective
range, occupied every road and every clearing. Yet no attempt was
made, by a strong reconnaissance in force, to ascertain what was
actually going on within the forest; and the reports of the scouts
were held to be exaggerated.

The neglect was the more marked in that the position of the Eleventh
Army Corps was very weak. Howard had with him twenty regiments of
infantry and six batteries; but his force was completely isolated.
His extreme right, consisting of four German regiments, was posted in
the forest, with two guns facing westward on the pike, and a line of
intrenchments facing south. On the low hill eastward, where Talley's
Farm, a small wooden cottage, stood in the midst of a wide clearing,
were two more German regiments and two American. Then, near the
junction of the roads, intervened a patch of forest, which was
occupied by four regiments, with a brigade upon their left; and
beyond, nearly a mile wide from north to south, and five or six
hundred yards in breadth, were the open fields round the little
Wilderness Church, dipping at first to a shallow brook, and then
rising gradually to a house called Dowdall's Tavern. In these fields,
south of the turnpike, were the breastworks held by the second
division of the Eleventh Army Corps; and here were six regiments,
with several batteries in close support. The 60th New York and 26th
Wisconsin, near the Hawkins House at the north end of the fields,
faced to the west; the remainder all faced south. Beyond Dowdall's
Tavern rose the forest, dark and impenetrable to the view; but to the
south-east, nearly two miles from Talley's, the clearings of Hazel
Grove were plainly visible. This part of the line, originally
entrusted to General Sickles, was now unguarded, for two divisions of
the Third Corps were moving on the Furnace; and the nearest force
which could render support to Howard's was Berry's division, retained
in reserve north-east of Chancellorsville, three miles distant from
Talley's Farm and nearly two from Howard's left.

The Confederates, meanwhile, were rapidly forming for attack.
Notwithstanding their fatigue, for many of the brigades had marched
over fifteen miles, the men were in the highest spirits. A young
staff-officer, who passed along the column, relates that he was
everywhere recognised with the usual greetings. "Say, here's one of
old Jack's little boys; let him by, boys!" "Have a good breakfast
this morning, sonny?" "Better hurry up, or you'll catch it for
gettin' behind." "Tell old Jack we're all a-comin'. Don't let him
begin the fuss till we get there!" But on reaching the turnpike
orders were given that all noise should cease, and the troops,
deploying for a mile or more on either side of the road, took up
their formation for attack. In front were the skirmishers of Rodes'
division, under Major Blackford; four hundred yards in rear came the
lines of battle, Rodes forming the first line;* Colston, at two
hundred yards distance, the second line; A.P. Hill, part in line and
part in column, the third.

*(Rodes' brigades were formed in the following order:--
|| _______ ______ _____ _______ ..........
Iverson O'Neal Doles Colquitt
Ramseur ||)

In little more than an hour-and-a-half, notwithstanding the dense
woods, the formation was completed, and the lines dressed at the
proper angle to the road.

5.45 P.M.

Notwithstanding that the enemy might at any moment awake to their
danger, not a single precaution was neglected. Jackson was determined
that the troops should move forward in good order, and that every
officer and man should know what was expected from him.
Staff-officers had been stationed at various points to maintain
communication between the divisions, and the divisional and brigade
commanders had received their instructions. The whole force was to
push resolutely forward through the forest. The open hill, about a
thousand yards eastward, on which stood Talley's Farm, was to be
carried at all hazard, for, so far as could be ascertained, it
commanded, over an intervening patch of forest, the ridge which ran
north from Dowdall's Tavern. After the capture of the heights at
Talley's, if the Federals showed a determined front on their second
line, Rodes was to halt under cover until the artillery could come up
and dislodge them. Under no other circumstances was there to be any
pause in the advance. A brigade of the first line was detailed to
guard the right flank, a regiment the left; and the second and third
lines were ordered to support the first, whenever it might be
necessary, without waiting for further instructions. The field
hospital was established at the Old Wilderness Tavern.

The men were in position, eagerly awaiting the signal; their quick
intelligence had already realised the situation, and all was life and
animation. Across the narrow clearing stretched the long grey lines,
penetrating far into the forest on either flank; in the centre, on
the road, were four Napoleon guns, the horses fretting with
excitement; far to the rear, their rifles glistening under the long
shafts of the setting sun, the heavy columns of A.P. Hill's division
were rapidly advancing, and the rumble of the artillery, closing to
the front, grew louder and louder. Jackson, watch in hand, sat silent
on "Little Sorrel," his slouched hat drawn low over his eyes, and his
lips tightly compressed. On his right was General Rodes, tall, lithe,
and soldierly, and on Rodes' right was Major Blackford.

"Are you ready, General Rodes?" said Jackson.

"Yes, sir," said Rodes, impatient as his men.

"You can go forward, sir," said Jackson.

6 P.M.

A nod from Rodes was a sufficient order to Blackford, and the woods
rang with the notes of a single bugle. Back came the responses from
bugles to right and left, and the skirmishers, dashing through the
wild undergrowth, sprang eagerly to their work, followed by the quick
rush of the lines of battle. For a moment the troops seemed buried in
the thickets; then, as the enemy's sentries, completely taken by
surprise, fired a few scattered shots, and the guns on the turnpike
came quickly into action, the echoes waked; through the still air of
the summer evening rang the rebel yell, filling the forest far to
north and south, and the hearts of the astonished Federals, lying
idly behind their breastworks, stood still within them.

So rapid was the advance, so utterly unexpected the attack, that the
pickets were at once over-run; and, crashing through the timber,
driving before it the wild creatures of the forest, deer, and hares,
and foxes, the broad front of the mighty torrent bore down upon
Howard's flank. For a few moments the four regiments which formed his
right, supported by two guns, held staunchly together, and even
checked for a brief space the advance of O'Neal's brigade. But from
the right and from the left the grey infantry swarmed round them; the
second line came surging forward to O'Neal's assistance; the gunners
were shot down and their pieces captured; and in ten minutes the
right brigade of the Federal army, submerged by numbers, was flying
in panic across the clearing, Here, near Talley's Farm, on the fields
south of the turnpike and in the forest to the north, another
brigade, hastily changing front, essayed to stay the rout. But
Jackson's horse-artillery, moving forward at a gallop, poured in
canister at short range; and three brigades, O'Neal's, Iverson's, and
Doles', attacked the Northerners fiercely in front and flank. No
troops, however brave, could have long withstood that overwhelming
rush. The slaughter was very great; every mounted officer was shot
down, and in ten or fifteen minutes the fragments of these hapless
regiments were retreating rapidly and tumultuously towards the
Wilderness Church.

The first position had been captured, but there was no pause in the
attack. As Jackson, following the artillery, rode past Talley's Farm,
and gazed across the clearing to the east, he saw a sight which
raised high his hopes of a decisive victory. Already, in the green
cornfields, the spoils of battle lay thick around him. Squads of
prisoners were being hurried to the rear. Abandoned guns, and waggons
overturned, the wounded horses still struggling in the traces, were
surrounded by the dead and dying of Howard's brigades. Knapsacks,
piled in regular order, arms, blankets, accoutrements, lay in
profusion near the breastworks; and beyond, under a rolling cloud of
smoke and dust, the bare fields, sloping down to the brook, were
covered with fugitives. Still further eastward, along the plank road,
speeding in wild confusion towards Chancellorsville, was a dense mass
of men and waggons; cattle, maddened with fright, were rushing to and
fro, and on the ridge beyond the little church, pushing their way
through the terror-stricken throng like ships through a heavy sea, or
breaking into fragments before the pressure, the irregular lines of a
few small regiments were moving hastily to the front. At more than
one point on the edge of the distant woods guns were coming into
action; the hill near Talley's Farm was covered with projectiles; men
were falling, and the Confederate first line was already in some

Galloping up the turnpike, and urging the artillery forward with
voice and gesture, Jackson passed through the ranks of his eager
infantry; and then Rodes's division, rushing down the wooded slopes,
burst from the covert, and, driving their flying foes before them,
advanced against the trenches on the opposite ridge. Here and there
the rush of the first line was checked by the bold resistance of the
German regiments. On the right, especially, progress was slow, for
Colquitt's brigade, drawn off by the pressure of Federal outposts in
the woods to the south, had lost touch with the remainder of the
division; Ramseur's brigade in rear had been compelled to follow
suit, and on this flank the Federals were most effectively supported
by their artillery. But Iverson, O'Neal, and Doles, hardly halting to
reform as they Left the woods, and followed closely by the second
line, swept rapidly across the fields, dashed back the regiments
which sought to check them, and under a hot fire of grape and
canister pressed resolutely forward.

The rifle-pits on the ridge were occupied by the last brigade of
Howard's Army Corps. A battery was in rear, three more were on the
left, near Dowdall's Tavern, and many of the fugitives from Talley's
Farm had rallied behind the breastwork. But a few guns and four or
five thousand rifles, although the ground to the front was clear and
open, were powerless to arrest the rush of Jackson's veterans. The
long lines of colours, tossing redly above the swiftly moving ranks,
never for a moment faltered; the men, running alternately to the
front, delivered their fire, stopped for a moment to load, and then
again ran on. Nearer and nearer they came, until the defenders of the
trenches, already half demoralised, could mark through the
smoke-drift the tanned faces, the fierce eyes, and the gleaming
bayonets of their terrible foes. The guns were already flying, and
the position was outflanked; yet along the whole length of the ridge
the parapets still blazed with fire; and while men fell headlong in
the Confederate ranks, for a moment there was a check. But it was the
check of a mighty wave, mounting slowly to full volume, ere it falls
in thunder on the shrinking sands. Running to the front with uplifted
swords, the officers gave the signal for the charge. The men answered
with a yell of triumph; the second line, closing rapidly on the
first, could no longer be restrained; and as the grey masses,
crowding together in their excitement, breasted the last slope, the
Federal infantry, in every quarter of the field, gave way before
them; the ridge was abandoned, and through the dark pines beyond
rolled the rout of the Eleventh Army Corps.

7 P.M.

It was seven o'clock. Twilight was falling on the woods; and Rodes'
and Colston's divisions had become so inextricably mingled that
officers could not find their men nor men their officers. But
Jackson, galloping into the disordered ranks, directed them to press
the pursuit. His face was aglow with the blaze of battle. His swift
gestures and curt orders, admitting of no question, betrayed the
fierce intensity of his resolution. Although the great tract of
forest, covering Chancellorsville on the west, had swallowed up the
fugitives, he had no need of vision to reveal to him the extent of
his success. 10,000 men had been utterly defeated. The enemy's right
wing was scattered to the winds. The Southerners were within a
mile-and-a-half of the Federals' centre and completely in rear of
their intrenchments; and the White House or Bullock road, only
half-a-mile to the front, led directly to Hooker's line of retreat by
the United States Ford. Until that road was in his possession Jackson
was determined to call no halt. The dense woods, the gathering
darkness, the fatigue and disorder of his troops, he regarded no more
than he did the enemy's overwhelming numbers. In spirit he was
standing at Hooker's side, and he saw, as clearly as though the
intervening woods had been swept away, the condition to which his
adversary had been reduced.

To the Federal headquarters confusion and dismay had come, indeed,
with appalling suddenness. Late in the afternoon Hooker was sitting
with two aides-de-camp in the verandah of the Chancellor House. There
were few troops in sight. The Third Corps and Pleasonton's cavalry
had long since disappeared in the forest. The Twelfth Army Corps,
with the exception of two brigades, was already advancing against
Anderson; and only the trains and some artillery remained within the
intrenchments at Hazel Grove. All was going well. A desultory firing
broke out at intervals to the eastward, but it was not sustained; and
three miles to the south, where, as Hooker believed, in pursuit of
Jackson, Sickles and Pleasonton were, the reports of their cannon,
growing fainter and fainter as they pushed further south, betokened
no more than a lively skirmish. The quiet of the Wilderness, save for
those distant sounds, was undisturbed, and men and animals, free from
every care, were enjoying the calm of the summer evening. It was
about half-past six. Suddenly the cannonade swelled to a heavier
roar, and the sound came from a new direction. All were listening
intently, speculating on what this might mean, when a staff-officer,
who had stepped out to the front of the house and was looking down
the plank road with his glass, exclaimed: "My God, here they come!"
Hooker sprang upon his horse; and riding rapidly down the road, met
the stragglers of the Eleventh Corps--men, waggons, and ambulances,
an ever-increasing crowd--rushing in blind terror from the forest,
flying they knew not whither. The whole of the right wing, they said,
overwhelmed by superior numbers, was falling back on
Chancellorsville, and Stonewall Jackson was in hot pursuit.

The situation had changed in the twinkling of an eye. Just now
congratulating himself on the complete success of his manoeuvres, on
the retreat of his enemies, on the flight of Jackson and the
helplessness of Lee, Hooker saw his strong intrenchments taken in
reverse, his army scattered, his reserves far distant, and the most
dreaded of his opponents, followed by his victorious veterans, within
a few hundred yards of his headquarters. His weak point had been
found, and there were no troops at hand wherewith to restore the
fight. The centre was held only by the two brigades of the Twelfth
Corps at the Fairview Cemetery. The works at Hazel Grove were
untenanted, save by a few batteries and a handful of infantry. The
Second and Fifth Corps on the left were fully occupied by McLaws, for
Lee, at the first sound of Jackson's guns, had ordered a vigorous
attack up the pike and the plank road. Sickles, with 20,000 men, was
far away, isolated and perhaps surrounded, and the line of retreat,
the road to United States Ford, was absolutely unprotected.

Messengers were dispatched in hot haste to recall Sickles and
Pleasonton to Hazel Grove. Berry's division, forming the reserve
north-east of the Chancellor House, was summoned to Fairview, and
Hays' brigade of the Second Corps ordered to support it. But what
could three small brigades, hurried into position and unprotected by
intrenchments, avail against 25,000 Southerners, led by Stonewall
Jackson, and animated by their easy victory? If Berry and Hays could
stand fast against the rush of fugitives, it was all that could be
expected; and as the uproar in the dark woods swelled to a deeper
volume, and the yells of the Confederates, mingled with the crash of
the musketry, were borne to his ears, Hooker must have felt that all
was lost. To make matters worse, as Pleasonton, hurrying back with
his cavalry, arrived at Hazel Grove, the trains of the Third Army
Corps, fired on by the Confederate skirmishers, dashed wildly across
the clearing, swept through the parked artillery, and, breaking
through the forest, increased the fearful tumult which reigned round

The gunners, however, with a courage beyond all praise, stood
staunchly to their pieces; and soon a long line of artillery, for
which two regiments of the Third Army Corps, coming up rapidly from
the south, formed a sufficient escort, was established on this
commanding hill. Other batteries, hitherto held in reserve, took post
on the high ground at Fairview, a mile to the north-east, and,
although Berry's infantry were not yet in position, and the stream of
broken troops was still pouring past, a strong front of fifty guns
opposed the Confederate advance.

But it was not the artillery that saved Hooker from irretrievable
disaster.* (* Lieutenant-Colonel Hamlin, the latest historian of
Chancellorsville, has completely disposed of the legend that these
fifty guns repulsed a desperate attack on Hazel Grove.) As they
followed the remnants of the Eleventh Army Corps, the progress of
Rodes and Colston had been far less rapid than when they stormed
forward past the Wilderness Church. A regiment of Federal cavalry,
riding to Howard's aid by a track from Hazel Grove to the plank road,
was quickly swept aside; but the deep darkness of the forest, the
efforts of the officers to re-form the ranks, the barriers opposed by
the tangled undergrowth, the difficulty of keeping the direction,
brought a large portion of the troops to a standstill. At the
junction of the White House road the order to halt was given, and
although a number of men, pushing impetuously forward, seized a line
of log breastworks which ran north-west through the timber below the
Fairview heights, the pursuit was stayed in the midst of the dense

8.15 P.M.

At this moment, shortly after eight o'clock, Jackson was at Dowdall's
Tavern. The reports from the front informed him that his first and
second lines had halted; General Rodes, who had galloped up the plank
road to reconnoitre, sent in word that there were no Federal troops
to be seen between his line and the Fairview heights; and Colonel
Cobb, of the 44th Virginia, brought the news that the strong
intrenchments, less than a mile from Chancellorsville, had been
occupied without resistance.

There was a lull in the battle; the firing had died away, and the
excited troops, with a clamour that was heard in the Federal lines,
sought their companies and regiments by the dim light of the rising
moon. But deeming that nothing was done while aught remained to do,
Jackson was already planning a further movement. Sending instructions
to A.P. Hill to relieve Rodes and Colston, and to prepare for a night
attack, he rode forward, almost unattended, amongst his rallying
troops, and lent his aid to the efforts of the regimental officers.
Intent on bringing up the two divisions in close support of Hill, he
passed from one regiment to another. Turning to Colonel Cobb, he said
to him; "Find General Rodes, and tell him to occupy the barricade* (*
In the woods west of the Fairview Heights.) at once," and then added:
"I need your help for a time; this disorder must be corrected. As you
go along the right, tell the troops from me to get into line and
preserve their order."

It was long, however, before the men could be assembled, and the
delay was increased by an unfortunate incident. Jackson's chief of
artillery, pressing forward up the plank road to within a thousand
yards of Chancellorsville, opened fire with three guns upon the
enemy's position. This audacious proceeding evoked a quick reply.
Such Federal guns as could be brought to bear were at once turned
upon the road, and although the damage done was small, A.P. Hill's
brigades, just coming up into line, were for the moment checked;
under the hail of shell and canister the artillery horses became
unmanageable, the drivers lost their nerve, and as they rushed to the
rear some of the infantry joined them, and a stampede was only
prevented by the personal efforts of Jackson, Colston, and their
staff-officers. Colonel Crutchfield was then ordered to cease firing;
the Federals did the same; and A.P. Hill's brigades, that of General
Lane leading, advanced to the deserted breastworks, while two
brigades, one from Rodes' division and one from Colston's, were
ordered to guard the roads from Hazel Grove.

8.45 P.M.

These arrangements made, Jackson proceeded to join his advanced line.
At the point where the track to the White House and United States
ford strikes the plank road he met General Lane, seeking his
instructions for the attack. They were sufficiently brief: "Push
right ahead, Lane; right ahead!" As Lane galloped off to his command,
General Hill and some of his staff came up, and Jackson gave Hill his
orders. "Press them; cut them off from the United States Ford, Hill;
press them." General Hill replied that he was entirely unacquainted
with the topography of the country, and asked for an officer to act
as guide. Jackson directed Captain Boswell, his chief engineer, to
accompany General Hill, and then, turning to the front, rode up the
plank road, passing quickly through the ranks of the 18th North
Carolina of Lane's brigade. Two or three hundred yards eastward the
general halted, for the ringing of axes and the words of command were
distinctly audible in the enemy's lines.

While the Confederates were re-forming, Hooker's reserves had reached
the front, and Berry's regiments, on the Fairview heights, using
their bayonets and tin-plates for intrenching tools, piling up the
earth with their hands, and hacking down the brushwood with their
knives, were endeavouring in desperate haste to provide some shelter,
however slight, against the rush that they knew was about to come.

After a few minutes, becoming impatient for the advance of Hill's
division, Jackson turned and retraced his steps towards his own
lines. "General," said an officer who was with him, "you should not
expose yourself so much." "There is no danger, sir, the enemy is
routed. Go back and tell General Hill to press on."

Once more, when he was only sixty or eighty yards from where the 18th
North Carolina were standing in the trees, he drew rein and
listened--the whole party, generals, staff-officers, and couriers,
hidden in the deep shadows of the silent woods. At this moment a
single rifle-shot rang out with startling suddenness.

A detachment of Federal infantry, groping their way through the
thickets, had approached the Southern lines.

The skirmishers on both sides were now engaged, and the lines of
battle in rear became keenly on the alert. Some mounted officers
galloped hastily back to their commands. The sound startled the
Confederate soldiers, and an officer of the 18th North Carolina,
seeing a group of strange horsemen riding towards him through the
darkness--for Jackson, hearing the firing, had turned back to his own
lines--gave the order to fire.

The volley was fearfully effective. Men and horses fell dead and
dying on the narrow track. Jackson himself received three bullets,
one in the right hand, and two in the left arm, cutting the main
artery, and crushing the bone below the shoulder, and as the reins
dropped upon his neck, "Little Sorrel," frantic with terror, plunged
into the wood and rushed towards the Federal lines. An overhanging
bough struck his rider violently in the face, tore off his cap and
nearly unhorsed him; but recovering his seat, he managed to seize the
bridle with his bleeding hand, and turned into the road. Here Captain
Wilbourn, one of his staff-officers, succeeded in catching the reins;
and, as the horse stopped, Jackson leaned forward and fell into his
arms. Captain Hotchkiss, who had just returned from a reconnaissance,
rode off to find Dr. McGuire, while Captain Wilbourn, with a small
penknife, ripped up the sleeve of the wounded arm. As he was doing
so, General Hill, who had himself been exposed to the fire of the
North Carolinians, reached the scene, and, throwing himself from his
horse, pulled off Jackson's gauntlets, which were full of blood, and
bandaged the shattered arm with a handkerchief. "General," he said,
"are you much hurt?" "I think I am," was the reply, "and all my
wounds are from my own men. I believe my right arm is broken."

To all questions put to him he answered in a perfectly calm and
self-possessed tone, and, although he spoke no word of complaint, he
was manifestly growing weaker. It seemed impossible to move him, and
yet it was absolutely necessary that he should be carried to the
rear. He was still in front of his own lines, and, even as Hill was
speaking, two of the enemy's skirmishers, emerging from the thicket,
halted within a few paces of the little group. Hill, turning quietly
to his escort, said, "Take charge of those men," and two orderlies,
springing forward, seized the rifles of the astonished Federals.
Lieutenant Morrison, Jackson's aide-de-camp, who had gone down the
road to reconnoitre, now reported that he had seen a section of
artillery unlimbering close at hand. Hill gave orders that the
general should be at once removed, and that no one should tell the
men that he was wounded. Jackson, lying on Hill's breast, opened his
eyes, and said, "Tell them simply that you have a wounded Confederate
officer." Lieutenants Smith and Morrison, and Captain Leigh of Hill's
staff, now lifted him to his feet, and with their aid he walked a few
steps through the trees. But hardly had they gained the road when the
Federal batteries, along their whole front, opened a terrible fire of
grape and canister. The storm of bullets, tearing through the
foliage, was fortunately directed too high, and the three young
officers, laying the general down by the roadside, endeavoured to
shield him by lying between him and the deadly hail. The earth round
them was torn up by the shot, covering them with dust; boughs fell
from the trees, and fire flashed from the flints and gravel of the
roadway. Once Jackson attempted to rise; but Smith threw his arm over
him, holding him down, and saying, "General, you must be still--it
will cost you your life to rise."

After a few minutes, however, the enemy's gunners, changing from
canister to shell, mercifully increased their range; and again, as
the Confederate infantry came hurrying to the front, their wounded
leader, supported by strong arms, was lifted to his feet. Anxious
that the men should not recognise him, Jackson turned aside into the
wood, and slowly and painfully dragged himself through the
undergrowth. As he passed along, General Fender, whose brigade was
then pushing forward, asked Smith who it was that was wounded. "A
Confederate officer" was the reply; but as they came nearer Fender,
despite the darkness, saw that it was Jackson. Springing from his
horse, he hurriedly expressed his regret, and added that his lines
were so much disorganised by the enemy's artillery that he feared it
would be necessary to fall back. "At this moment," says an
eye-witness, "the scene was a fearful one. The air seemed to be alive
with the shriek of shells and the whistling of bullets; horses
riderless and mad with fright dashed in every direction; hundreds
left the ranks and hurried to the rear, and the groans of the wounded
and dying mingled with the wild shouts of others to be led again to
the assault. Almost fainting as he was from loss of blood,
desperately wounded, and in the midst of this awful uproar, Jackson's
heart was unshaken. The words of Fender seemed to rouse him to life.
Pushing aside those who supported him, he raised himself to his full
height, and answered feebly, but distinctly enough to be heard above
the din, 'You must hold your ground, General Fender; you must hold
out to the last, sir.'"

His strength was now completely gone, and he asked to be allowed to
lie down. His staff-officers, however, refused assent. The shells
were still crashing through the forest, and a litter having been
brought up by Captain Leigh, he was carried slowly towards Dowdall's
Tavern. But before they were free of the tangled wood, one of the
stretcher-bearers, struck by a shot in the arm, let go the handle.
Jackson fell violently to the ground on his wounded side. His agony
must have been intense, and for the first time he was heard to groan.

Smith sprang to his side, and as he raised his head a bright beam of
moonlight made its way through the thick foliage, and rested upon his
white and lacerated face. The aide-de-camp was startled by its great
pallor and stillness, and cried out, "General, are you seriously
hurt?" "No, Mr. Smith, don't trouble yourself about me," he replied
quietly, and added some words about winning the battle first, and
attending to the wounded afterwards. He was again placed upon the
litter, and carried a few hundred yards, still followed by the
Federal shells, to where his medical director was waiting with an

Dr. McGuire knelt down beside him and said, "I hope you are not badly
hurt, General?" He replied very calmly but feebly, "I am badly
injured, doctor, I fear I am dying." After a pause he went on, "I am
glad you have come. I think the wound in my shoulder is still
bleeding." The bandages were readjusted and he was lifted into the
ambulance, where Colonel Crutchfield, who had also been seriously
wounded, was already lying. Whisky and morphia were administered, and
by the light of pine torches, carried by a few soldiers, he was
slowly driven through the fields where Hooker's right had so lately
fled before his impetuous onset. All was done that could ease his
sufferings, but some jolting of the ambulance over the rough road was
unavoidable; "and yet," writes Dr. McGuire, "his uniform politeness
did not forsake him even in these most trying circumstances. His
complete control, too, over his mind, enfeebled as it was by loss of
blood and pain, was wonderful. His suffering was intense; his hands
were cold, his skin clammy. But not a groan escaped him--not a sign
of suffering, except the light corrugation of the brow, the fixed,
rigid face, the thin lips, so tightly compressed that the impression
of the teeth could be seen through them. Except these, he controlled
by his iron will all evidence of emotion, and, more difficult than
this even, he controlled that disposition to restlessness which many
of us have observed upon the battle-field as attending great loss of
blood. Nor was he forgetful of others. He expressed very feelingly
his sympathy for Crutchfield, and once, when the latter groaned
aloud, he directed the ambulance to stop, and requested me to see if
something could not be done for his relief.

"After reaching the hospital, he was carried to a tent, and placed in
bed, covered with blankets, and another drink of whisky and water
given him. Two hours and a half elapsed before sufficient reaction
took place to warrant an examination, and at two o'clock on Sunday
morning I informed him that chloroform would be given him; I told him
also that amputation would probably be required, and asked, if it was
found necessary, whether it should be done at once. He replied
promptly, "Yes, certainly, Dr. McGuire, do for me whatever you think

"Chloroform was then administered, and the left arm amputated about
two inches below the shoulder. Throughout the whole of the operation,
and until all the dressings were applied, he continued insensible.
About half-past three, Colonel (then Major) Pendleton arrived at the
hospital. He stated that General Hill had been wounded, and that the
troops were in great disorder. General Stuart was in command, and had
sent him to see the general. At first I declined to permit an
interview, but Pendleton urged that the safety of the army and
success of the cause depended upon his seeing him. When he entered
the tent the general said, 'Well, Major, I am glad to see you; I
thought you were killed.' Pendleton briefly explained the position of
affairs, gave Stuart's message, and asked what should be done.
Jackson was at once interested, and asked in his quick way several
questions. When they were answered, he remained silent, evidently
trying to think; he contracted his brow, set his mouth, and for some
moments lay obviously endeavouring to concentrate his thoughts. For a
moment we believed he had succeeded, for his nostrils dilated, and
his eye flashed with its old fire, but it was only for a moment: his
face relaxed again, and presently he answered, very feebly and sadly:
'I don't know--I can't tell; say to General Stuart he must do what he
thinks best.' Soon after this he slept."

So, leaving behind him, struggling vainly against the oppression of
his mortal hurt, the one man who could have completed the Confederate
victory, Pendleton rode wearily through the night. Jackson's fall, at
so critical a moment, just as the final blow was to be delivered, had
proved a terrible disaster. Hill, who alone knew his intention of
moving to the White House, had been wounded by a fragment of shell as
he rode back to lead his troops. Boswell, who had been ordered to
point out the road, had been killed by the same volley which struck
down his chief, and the subordinate generals, without instructions
and without guides, with their men in disorder, and the enemy's
artillery playing fiercely on the forest, had hesitated to advance.
Hill, remaining in a litter near the line of battle, had sent for
Stuart. The cavalry commander, however, was at some distance from the
field. Late in the evening, finding it impossible to employ his
command at the front, he had been detached by Jackson, a regiment of
infantry supporting him, to take and hold Ely's Ford. He had already
arrived within view of a Federal camp established at that point, and
was preparing to charge the enemy, under cover of the night, when
Hill's messenger recalled him.

When Stuart reached the front he found the troops still halted, Rodes
and Colston reforming on the open fields near Dowdall's Tavern, the
Light Division deployed within the forest, and the generals anxious
for their own security.

So far the attack had been completely successful, but Lee's lack of
strength prevented the full accomplishment of his design. Had
Longstreet been present, with Pickett and Hood to lead his splendid
infantry, the Third Corps and the Twelfth would have been so hardly
pressed that Chancellorsville, Hazel Grove, and the White House would
have fallen an easy prize to Jackson's bayonets. Anderson, with four
small brigades, was powerless to hold the force confronting him, and
marching rapidly northwards, Sickles had reached Hazel Grove before
Jackson fell. Here Pleasonton, with his batteries, was still in
position, and Hooker had not yet lost his head. As soon as Birney's
and Whipple's divisions had come up, forming in columns of brigades
behind the guns, Sickles was ordered to assail the enemy's right
flank and check his advance. Just before midnight the attack was
made, in two lines of battle, supported by strong columns. The night
was very clear and still; the moon, nearly full, threw enough light
into the woods to facilitate the advance, and the tracks leading
north-west served as lines of direction.

The attack, however, although gallantly made, gained no material
advantage. The preliminary movements were plainly audible to the
Confederates, and Lane's brigade, most of which was now south of the
plank road, had made every preparation to receive it. Against troops
lying down in the woods the Federal artillery, although fifty or
sixty guns were in action, made but small impression; and the dangers
of a night attack, made upon troops who are expecting it, and whose
morale is unaffected, were forcibly illustrated. The confusion in the
forest was very great; a portion of the assailing force, losing
direction, fell foul of Berry's division at the foot of the Fairview
heights, which had not been informed of the movement, and at least
two regiments, fired into from front and rear, broke up in panic.
Some part of the log breastworks which Jackson's advanced line had
occupied were recaptured; but not a single one of the assailants,
except as prisoners, reached the plank road. And yet the attack was
an exceedingly well-timed stroke, and as such, although the losses
were heavy, had a very considerable effect on the issue of the day's
fighting. It showed, or seemed to show, that the Federals were still
in good heart, that they were rapidly concentrating, and that the
Confederates might be met by vigorous counter-strokes. "The fact,"
said Stuart in his official dispatch, "that the attack was made, and
at night, made me apprehensive of a repetition of it."

So, while Jackson slept through the hours of darkness that should
have seen the consummation of his enterprise, his soldiers lay beside
their arms; and the Federals, digging, felling, and building,
constructed a new line of parapet, protected by abattis, and
strengthened by a long array of guns, on the slopes of Fairview and
Hazel Grove. The respite which the fall of the Confederate leader had
brought them was not neglected; the fast-spreading panic was stayed;
the First Army Corps, rapidly crossing the Rappahannock, secured the
road to the White House, and Averell's division of cavalry reached
Ely's Ford.

May 3.

On the left, between Chancellorsville and the river, where a young
Federal colonel, named Miles,* (* Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army,
1898.) handled his troops with conspicuous skill, Lee's continuous
attacks had been successfully repulsed, and at dawn on the morning of
May 3 the situation of the Union army was far from unpromising. A gap
of nearly two miles intervened between the Confederate wings, and
within this gap, on the commanding heights of Hazel Grove and
Fairview, the Federals were strongly intrenched. An opportunity for
dealing a crushing counterblow--for holding one portion of Lee's army
in check while the other was overwhelmed--appeared to present itself.
The only question was whether the morale of the general and the men
could be depended upon.

In Stuart, however, Hooker had to deal with a soldier who was no
unworthy successor of Stonewall Jackson. Reluctantly abandoning the
idea of a night attack, the cavalry general, fully alive to the
exigencies of the situation, had determined to reduce the interval
between himself and Lee; and during the night the artillery was
brought up to the front, and the batteries deployed wherever they
could find room. Just before the darkness began to lift, orders were
received from Lee that the assault was to be made as early as
possible; and the right wing, swinging round in order to come abreast
of the centre,

became hotly engaged. Away to the south-east, across the hills held
by the Federals, came the responding thunder of Lee's guns; and
40,000 infantry, advancing through the woods against front and flank,
enveloped in a circle of fire a stronghold which was held by over
60,000 muskets.

It is unnecessary to describe minutely the events of the morning. The
Federal troops, such as were brought into action, fought well; but
Jackson's tremendous attack had already defeated Hooker. Before
Sickles made his night attack from Hazel Grove he had sent orders for
Sedgwick to move at once, occupy Fredericksburg, seize the heights,
and march westward by the plank road; and, at the same time, he had
instructed his engineers to select and fortify a position about a
mile in rear of Chancellorsville. So, when Stuart pressed forward,
not only had this new position been occupied by the First and Fifth
Army Corps, but the troops hitherto in possession of Hazel Grove were
already evacuating their intrenchments.

These dispositions sufficiently attest the demoralisation of the
Federal commander. As the historian of the Army of the Potomac puts
it: "The movement to be executed by Sedgwick was precisely one of
those movements which, according as they are wrought out, may be
either the height of wisdom or the height of folly. Its successful
accomplishment certainly promised very brilliant results. It is easy
to see how seriously Lee's safety would be compromised if, while
engaged with Hooker in front, he should suddenly find a powerful
force assailing his rear, and grasping already his direct line of
communication with Richmond. But if, on the other hand, Lee should be
able by any slackness on the part of his opponent to engage him in
front with a part of his force, while he should turn swiftly round to
assail the isolated moving column, it is obvious that he would be
able to repulse or destroy that column, and then by a vigorous
return, meet or attack his antagonist's main body. In the successful
execution of this plan not only was Sedgwick bound to the most
energetic action, but Hooker also was engaged by every consideration
of honour and duty to so act as to make the dangerous task he had
assigned to Sedgwick possible."* (1 Campaigns of the Army of the
Potomac, pages 241 to 242.)

But so far from aiding his subordinate by a heavy counter-attack on
Lee's front, Hooker deliberately abandoned the Hazel Grove salient,
which, keeping asunder the Confederate wings, strongly facilitated
such a manoeuvre; and more than this, he divided his own army into
two portions, of which the rear, occupying the new position, was
actually forbidden to reinforce the front.

It is possible that Hooker contemplated an early retreat of his whole
force to the second position. If so, Lee and Stuart were too quick
for him. The cavalry commander, as soon as it became light, and the
hills and undulations of the Wilderness emerged from the shadows,
immediately recognised the importance of Hazel Grove. The hill was
quickly seized; thirty pieces of artillery, established on the crest,
enfiladed the Federal batteries, facing west, on the heights of
Fairview; and the brigade on Stuart's extreme right was soon in touch
with the troops directed by General Lee. Then against the three sides
of the Federal position the battle raged. From the south and
south-east came Anderson and McLaws, the batteries unlimbering on
every eminence, and the infantry, hitherto held back, attacking with
the vigour which their gallant commanders knew so well how to
inspire. And from the west, formed in three lines, Hill's division to
the front, came the Second Army Corps. The men knew by this time that
the leader whom they trusted beyond all others had been struck down,
that he was lying wounded, helpless, far away in rear. Yet his spirit
was still with them. Stuart, galloping along the ranks, recalled him
with ringing words to their memories, and as the bugles sounded the
onset, it was with a cry of "Remember Jackson!" that his soldiers
rushed fiercely upon the Federal breastworks.

The advanced line, within the forest, was taken at the first rush;
the second, at the foot of the Fairview heights, protected by a
swampy stream, a broad belt of abattis, and with thirty guns on the
hill behind, proved far more formidable, and Hill's division was
forced back. But Rodes and Colston were in close support. The fight
was speedily renewed; and then came charge and counter-charge; the
storm of the parapets; the rally of the defenders; the rush with the
bayonet; and, mowing down men like grass, the fearful sweep of case
and canister. Twice the Confederates were repulsed. Twice they
reformed, brigade mingled with brigade, regiment with regiment, and
charged again in the teeth of the thirty guns.

On both sides ammunition began to fail; the brushwood took fire, the
ground became hot beneath the foot, and many wounded perished
miserably in the flames. Yet still, with the tangled abattis dividing
the opposing lines, the fight went on; both sides struggling
fiercely, the Federals with the advantage of position, the
Confederates of numbers, for Hooker refused to reinforce his gallant
troops. At length the guns which Stuart had established on Hazel
Grove, crossing their fire with those of McLaws and Anderson, gained
the upper hand over the Union batteries. The storm of shell, sweeping
the Fairview plateau, took the breastworks in reverse; the Northern
infantry, after five hours of such hot battle as few fields have
witnessed, began sullenly to yield, and as Stuart, leading the last
charge, leapt his horse over the parapet, the works were evacuated,
and the tattered colours of the Confederates waved in triumph on the

"The scene," says a staff-officer, "can never be effaced from the
minds of those that witnessed it. The troops were pressing forward
with all the ardour and enthusiasm of combat. The white smoke of
musketry fringed the front of battle, while the artillery on the
hills in rear shook the earth with its thunder and filled the air
with the wild shrieking of the shells that plunged into the masses of
the retreating foe. To add greater horror and sublimity to the scene,
the Chancellorsville House and the woods surrounding it were wrapped
in flames. It was then that General Lee rode to the front of his
advancing battalions. His presence was the signal for one of those
uncontrollable out-bursts of enthusiasm which none can appreciate who
have not witnessed them.

"The fierce soldiers, with their faces blackened with the smoke of
battle, the wounded, crawling with feeble limbs from the fury of the
devouring flames, all seemed possessed of a common impulse. One long,
unbroken cheer, in which the feeble cry of those who lay helpless on
the earth blended with the strong voices of those who still fought,
hailed the presence of the victorious chief.

"His first care was for the wounded of both armies, and he was among
the foremost at the burning mansion, where some of them lay. But at
that moment, when the transports of his troops were drowning the roar
of battle with acclamations, a note was brought to him from General
Jackson. It was handed to him as he sat on his horse near the
Chancellorsville House, and unable to open it with his gauntleted
hands, he passed it to me with directions to read it to him. I shall
never forget the look of pain and anguish that passed over his face
as he listened. In a voice broken with emotion he bade me say to
General Jackson that the victory was his. I do not know how others
may regard this incident, but for myself, as I gave expression to the
thoughts of his exalted mind, I forgot the genius that won the day in
my reverence for the generosity that refused its glory."

Lee's reply ran:--

"General,--I have just received your note, informing me that you were
wounded. I cannot express my regret at the occurrence. Could I have
directed events, I should have chosen for the good of the country to
be disabled in your stead.

"I congratulate you upon the victory, which is due to your skill and

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

"R. E. LEE, General."

Such was the tribute, not the less valued that it was couched in no
exaggerated terms, which was brought to the bedside in the quiet
hospital. Jackson was almost alone. As the sound of cannon and
musketry, borne across the forest, grew gradually louder, he had
ordered all those who had remained with him, except Mr. Smith, to
return to the battle-field and attend to their different duties.

His side, injured by his fall from the litter, gave him much pain,
but his thoughts were still clear, and his speech coherent. "General
Lee," he said, when his aide-de-camp read to him the
Commander-in-Chief's brief words, "is very kind, but he should give
the praise to God."

During the day the pain gradually ceased; the general grew brighter,
and from those who visited the hospital he inquired minutely about
the battle and the troops engaged. When conspicuous instances of
courage were related his face lit up with enthusiasm, and he uttered
his usual "Good, good," with unwonted energy when the gallant
behaviour of his old command was alluded to. "Some day," he said,
"the men of that brigade will be proud to say to their children, "I
was one of the Stonewall Brigade." He disclaimed all right of his own
to the name Stonewall: "It belongs to the brigade and not to me.""
That night he slept well, and was free from pain.

Meanwhile the Confederate army, resting on the heights of
Chancellorsville, preparatory to an attack upon Hooker's second
stronghold, had received untoward news. Sedgwick, at eleven o'clock
in the morning, had carried Marye's Hill, and, driving Early before
him, was moving up the plank road. Wilcox' brigade of Anderson's
division, then at Banks' Ford, was ordered to retard the advance of
the hostile column. McLaws was detached to Salem Church. The Second
Army Corps and the rest of Anderson's division remained to hold
Hooker in check, and for the moment operations at Chancellorsville
were suspended.

McLaws, deploying his troops in the forest, two hundred and fifty
yards from a wide expanse of cleared ground, pushed his skirmishers
forward to the edge, and awaited the attack of a superior force.
Reserving his fire to close quarters, its effect was fearful. But the
Federals pushed forward; a school-house occupied as an advanced post
was captured, and at this point Sedgwick was within an ace of
breaking through. His second line, however, had not yet deployed, and
a vigorous counterstroke, delivered by two brigades, drove back the
whole of his leading division in great disorder. As night fell the
Confederates, careful not to expose themselves to the Union reserves,
retired to the forest, and Sedgwick, like Hooker, abandoned all
further idea of offensive action.

The next morning Lee himself, with the three remaining brigades of
Anderson, arrived upon the scene. Sedgwick, who had lost 5000 men the
preceding day, May had fortified a position covering Banks' Ford, and
occupied it with over 20,000 muskets. Lee, with the divisions of
McLaws, Anderson, and Early, was slightly stronger. The attack was
delayed, for the Federals held strong ground, difficult to
reconnoitre; but once begun the issue was soon decided. Assailed in
front and flanks, with no help coming from Hooker, and only a single
bridge at Banks' Ford in rear, the Federals rapidly gave ground.

Darkness, however, intensified by a thick fog, made pursuit
difficult, and Sedgwick re-crossed the river with many casualties but
in good order. During these operations, that is, from four o'clock on
Sunday afternoon until after midnight on Monday, Hooker had not moved
a single man to his subordinate's assistance.* (* It is but fair,
however, to state that Hooker, during the cannonade which preceded
the final assault at Chancellorsville, had been severely bruised by a
fall of masonry.) So extraordinary a situation has seldom been seen
in war: an army of 60,000 men, strongly fortified, was held in check
for six-and-thirty hours by 20,000; while not seven miles away raged
a battle on which the whole fate of the campaign depended.

Lee and Jackson had made no false estimate of Hooker's incapacity.
Sedgwick's army corps had suffered so severely in men and in moral
that it was not available for immediate service, even had it been
transferred to Chancellorsville; and Lee was now free to concentrate
his whole force against the main body of the Federal army. His men,
notwithstanding their extraordinary exertions, were confident of

May 5.

"As I sheltered myself," says an eye-witness, "in a little farmhouse
on the plank road the brigades of Anderson's division came splashing
through the mud, in wild tumultuous spirits, singing, shouting,
jesting, heedless of soaking rags, drenched to the skin, and burning
again to mingle in the mad revelry of battle."* (* Hon. Francis
Lawley, the Times, June 16, 1863.) But it was impossible to push
forward, for a violent rain-storm burst upon the Wilderness, and the
spongy soil, saturated with the deluge, absolutely precluded all
movement across country. Hooker, who had already made preparations
for retreat, took advantage of the weather, and as soon as darkness
set in put his army in motion for the bridges.

May 6.

By eight o'clock on the morning of the 6th the whole force had
crossed; and when the Confederate patrols pushed forward, Lee found
that his victim had escaped.

The Army of the Potomac returned to its old camp on the hills above
Fredericksburg, and Lee reoccupied his position on the opposite
ridge. Stoneman, who had scoured the whole country to within a few
miles of Richmond, returned to Kelly's Ford on May 8. The raid had
effected nothing. The damage done to the railroads and canals was
repaired by the time the raiders had regained the Rappahannock. Lee's
operations at Chancellorsville had not been affected in the very
slightest degree by their presence in his rear, while Stoneman's
absence had proved the ruin of the Federal army. Jackson, who had
been removed by the Commander-in-Chief's order to Mr. Chandler's
house, near Gurney's Station, on the morning of May 5, was asked what
he thought of Hooker's plan of campaign. His reply was: "It was in
the main a good conception, an excellent plan. But he should not have
sent away his cavalry; that was his great blunder. It was that which
enabled me to turn him without his being aware of it, and to take him
in the rear. Had he kept his cavalry with him, his plan would have
been a very good one." This was not his only comment on the great
battle. Among other things, he said that he intended to cut the
Federals off from the United States Ford, and, taking a position
between them and the river, oblige them to attack him, adding, with a
smile, "My men sometimes fail to drive the enemy from a position, but
they always fail to drive us away." He spoke of General Rodes, and
alluded in high terms to his splendid behaviour in the attack on
Howard. He hoped he would be promoted, and he said that promotion
should be made at once, upon the field, so as to act as an incentive
to gallantry in others. He spoke of Colonel Willis, who had commanded
the skirmishers, and praised him very highly, and referred most
feelingly to the death of Paxton, the commander of the Stonewall
Brigade, and of Captain Boswell, his chief engineer. In speaking of
his own share in the victory he said: "Our movement was a great
success; I think the most successful military movement of my life.
But I expect to receive far more credit for it than I deserve. Most
men will think I planned it all from the first; but it was not so. I
simply took advantage of circumstances as they were presented to me
in the providence of God. I feel that His hand led me--let us give
Him the glory."

It must always be an interesting matter of speculation what the
result would have been had Jackson accomplished his design, on the
night he fell, of moving a large part of his command up the White
House road, and barring the only line of retreat left open to the

Hooker, it is argued, had two corps in position which had been hardly
engaged, the Second and the Fifth; and another, the First, under
Reynolds, was coming up. Of these, 25,000 men might possibly, could
they have been manoeuvred in the forest, have been sent to drive
Jackson back. And, undoubtedly, to those who think more of numbers
than of human nature, of the momentum of the mass rather than the
mental equilibrium of the general, the fact that a superior force of
comparatively fresh troops was at Hooker's disposal will be
sufficient to put the success of the Confederates out of court. Yet
the question will always suggest itself, would not the report that a
victorious enemy, of unknown strength, was pressing forward, in the
darkness of the night, towards the only line of retreat, have so
demoralised the Federal commander and the Federal soldiers, already
shaken by the overthrow of the Eleventh Army Corps, that they would
have thought only of securing their own safety? Would Hooker, whose
tactics the next day, after he had had the night given him in which
to recover his senses, were so inadequate, have done better if he had
received no respite? Would the soldiers of the three army corps not
yet engaged, who had been witnesses of the rout of Howard's
divisions, have fared better, when they heard the triumphant yells of
the advancing Confederates, than the hapless Germans? "The wounding
of Jackson," says a most careful historian of the battle, himself a
participator in the Union disaster, "was a most fortunate circumstance
for the Army of the Potomac. At nine o'clock the capture or
destruction of a large part of the army seemed inevitable. There was,
at the time, great uncertainty and a feeling akin to panic prevailing
among the Union forces round Chancellorsville; and when we consider
the position of the troops at this moment, and how many important
battles have been won by trivial flank attacks--how Richepanse
(attacking through the forest) with a single brigade ruined the
Austrians at Hohenlinden--we must admit that the Northern army was in
great peril when Jackson arrived within one thousand yards of its
vital point (the White House) with 20,000 men and 50 cannon."* (*
Chancellorsville, Lt.-Colonel A.C. Hamlin.) He must be a great leader
indeed who, when his flank is suddenly rolled up and his line of
retreat threatened, preserves sufficient coolness to devise a general
counterstroke. Jackson had proved himself equal to such a situation
at Cedar Run, but it is seldom in these circumstances that Providence
sides with the "big battalions."

The Federal losses in the six days' battles were heavy: over 12,000
at Chancellorsville, and 4700 at Fredericksburg, Salem Church, and
Banks' Ford; a total of 17,287. The army lost 13 guns, and nearly
6000 officers and men were reported either captured or missing.

The casualties were distributed as follows:--

First Army Corps. 185
Second ,, 1,925
Third, ,, 4,119
Fifth ,, 700
Sixth ,, 4,590
Eleventh ,, 2,412
Twelfth ,, 2,822
Pleasonton's Cavalry Brigade 141

The Confederate losses were hardly less severe. The killed and
wounded were as under:--

A.P. Hill's Division 2,583
Rodes' ,, 2,178
Colston's ,, 1,868
Early's ,, 851
Anderson's ,, 1,180
McLaws' ,, 1,879
Artillery 227
Cavalry 11
Prisoners (estimated) 2,000

But a mere statement of the casualties by no means represents the
comparative loss of the opposing forces. Victory does not consist in
merely killing and maiming a few thousand men. This is the visible
result; it is the invisible that tells. The Army of the Potomac, when
it retreated across the Rappahannock, was far stronger in mere
numbers than the Army of Northern Virginia; but in reality it was far
weaker, for the moral of the survivors, and of the general who led
them, was terribly affected. That of the Confederates, on the other
hand, had been sensibly elevated, and it is moral, not numbers, which
is the strength of armies. What, after all, was the loss of 12,200
soldiers to the Confederacy? In that first week of May there were
probably 20,000 conscripts in different camps of instruction, more
than enough to recruit the depleted regiments to full strength. Nor
did the slaughter of Chancellorsville diminish to any appreciable
degree the vast hosts of the Union.

And yet the Army of the Potomac had lost more than all the efforts of
the Government could replace. The Army of Virginia, on the other
hand, had acquired a superiority of spirit which was ample
compensation for the sacrifice which had been made. It is hardly too
much to say that Lee's force had gained from the victory an increase
of strength equivalent to a whole army corps of 80,000 men, while
that of his opponent had been proportionately diminished. Why, then,
was there no pursuit?

It has been asserted that Lee was so crippled by his losses at
Chancellorsville that he was unable to resume operations against
Hooker for a whole month. This explanation of his inactivity can
hardly be accepted.

On June 16 and 18, 1815, at Quatre-Bras and Waterloo, the Anglo-Dutch
army, little larger than that of Northern Virginia, lost 17,000 men;
and yet on the 19th Wellington was marching in pursuit of the French;
nor did he halt until he arrived within sight of Paris. And on August
28, 29, and 30, 1862, at Groveton and the Second Manassas, Stonewall
Jackson lost 4000 officers and men, one-fifth of his force, but he
was not left in rear when Lee invaded Maryland. Moreover, after he
had defeated Sedgwick, on the same night that Hooker was recrossing
the Rappahannock, Lee was planning a final attack on the Federal
intrenchments, and his disappointment was bitter when he learned that
his enemy had escaped. If his men were capable of further efforts on
the night of May 5, they were capable of them the next day; and it
was neither the ravages of battle nor the disorganisation of the army
that held the Confederates fast, but the deficiency of supplies, the
damage done to the railways by Stoneman's horsemen, the weakness of
the cavalry, and, principally, the hesitation of the Government.
After the victory of Chancellorsville, strong hopes of peace were
entertained in the South. Before Hooker advanced, a large section of
the Northern Democrats, despairing of ultimate success, had once more
raised the cry that immediate separation was better, than a hopeless
contest, involving such awful sacrifices, and it needed all Lincoln's
strength to stem the tide of disaffection.

The existence of this despondent feeling was well known to the
Southern statesmen; and to such an extent did they count upon its
growth and increase that they had overlooked altogether the
importance of improving a victory, should the army be successful; so
now, when the chance had come, they were neither ready to forward
such an enterprise, nor could they make up their minds to depart from
their passive attitude. But to postpone all idea of counterstroke
until some indefinite period is as fatal in strategy as in tactics.
By no means an uncommon policy, it has been responsible for the loss
of a thousand opportunities.

Had not politics intervened, a vigorous pursuit--not necessarily
involving an immediate attack, but drawing Hooker, as Pope had been
drawn in the preceding August, into an unfavourable situation, before
his army had had time to recover--would have probably been initiated.
It may be questioned, however, whether General Lee, even when
Longstreet and his divisions joined him, would have been so strong as
he had been at the end of April. None felt more deeply than the
Commander-in-Chief that the absence of Jackson was an irreparable
misfortune. "Give him my affectionate regards," he said to an
aide-de-camp who was riding to the hospital; "tell him to make haste
and get well, and come back to me as soon as he can. He has lost his
left arm, but I have lost my right." "Any victory," he wrote
privately, "would be dear at such a price. I know not how to replace

His words were prophetic. Exactly two months after Chancellorsville
the armies met once more in the clash of battle. During the first two
days, on the rolling plain round Gettysburg, a village of
Pennsylvania, four Federal army corps were beaten in succession, but
ere the sun set on the third Lee had to admit defeat.

And yet his soldiers had displayed the same fiery courage and
stubborn persistence which had carried them victorious through the
Wilderness. But his "right arm" had not yet been replaced. "If," he
said after the war, with unaccustomed emphasis, "I had had Jackson at
Gettysburg I should have won the battle, and a complete victory there
would have resulted in the establishment of Southern independence."

It was not to be. Chancellorsville, where 130,000 men were defeated
by 60,000, is up to a certain point as much the tactical masterpiece
of the nineteenth century as was Leuthen of the eighteenth. But,
splendid triumph as it was, the battle bore no abiding fruits, and
the reason seems very clear. The voice that would have urged pursuit
was silent. Jackson's fall left Lee alone, bereft of his alter ego;
with none, save Stuart, to whom he could entrust the execution of
those daring and delicate manoeuvres his inferior numbers rendered
necessary; with none on whose resource and energy he could implicitly
rely. Who shall say how far his own resolution had been animated and
confirmed at other crises by the prompting and presence of the
kindred spirit? "They supplemented each other," said Davis, "and
together, with any fair opportunity, they were absolutely invincible."

Many a fierce battle still lay before the Army of Northern Virginia;
marvellous was the skill and audacity with which Lee manoeuvred his
ragged regiments in the face of overwhelming odds; fierce and
unyielding were the soldiers, but with Stonewall Jackson's death the
impulse of victory died away.

May 7.

It is needless to linger over the closing scene at Gurney's Station.
For some days there was hope that the patient would recover;
pneumonia, attributed to his fall from the litter as he was borne
from the field, supervened, and he gradually began to sink. On the
Thursday his wife and child arrived from Richmond; but he was then
almost too weak for conversation, and on Sunday morning it was
evident that the end was near.

May 10.

As yet he had scarcely realised his condition.

If, he said, it was God's will, he was ready to go, but he believed
that there was still work for him to do, and that his life would be
preserved to do it. At eleven o'clock Mrs. Jackson knelt by his side,
and told him that he could not live beyond the evening. "You are
frightened, my child," he replied, "death is not so near; I may yet
get well." She fell upon the bed, weeping bitterly, and told him
again that there was no hope. After a moment's pause, he asked her to
call Dr. McGuire. "Doctor," he said, "Anna tells me I am to die
to-day; is it so?" When he was answered, he remained silent for a
moment or two, as if in intense thought, and then quietly replied,
"Very good, very good; it is all right."

About noon, when Major Pendleton came into the room, he asked, "Who
is preaching at headquarters to-day?" He was told that Mr. Lacy was,
and that the whole army was praying for him. "Thank God," he said;
"they are very kind to me." Already his strength was fast ebbing, and
although his face brightened when his baby was brought to him, his
mind had begun to wander. Now he was on the battle-field, giving
orders to his men; now at home in Lexington; now at prayers in the
camp, Occasionally his senses came back to him, and about half-past
one he was told that he had but two hours to live. Again he answered,
feebly but firmly, "Very good; it is all right." These were almost his
last coherent words. For some time he lay unconscious, and then
suddenly he cried out: "Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass
the infantry to the front! Tell Major Hawks--" then stopped, leaving
the sentence unfinished. Once more he was silent; but a little while
after he said very quietly and clearly, "Let us cross over the river,
and rest under the shade of the trees," and the soul of the great
captain passed into the peace of God.


[From General Lee's letter-book.]

Lexington, Virginia, 25th January, 1866.



Dr. Brown handed me your note of the 9th, when in Richmond on
business connected with Washington College. I have delayed replying
since my return, hoping to have sufficient time to comply with your
request. Last night I received a note from Mrs. Brown, enclosing one
from Dr. Dabney, stating that the immediate return of his manuscript
was necessary. I have not been able to open it; and when I read it
when you were here, it was for the pleasure of the narrative, with no
view of remark or correction; and I took no memoranda of what seemed
to be errors. I have not thought of them since, and do not know that
I can now recall them; and certainly have no desire that my opinions
should be adopted in preference to Dr. Dabney's...I am, however,
unable at this time to specify the battles to which my remark
particularly refers. The opinion of General Jackson, in reference to
the propriety of attacking the Federal army under General McClellan
at Harrison's Landing, is not, I think, correctly stated. Upon my
arrival there, the day after General Longstreet and himself, I was
disappointed that no opportunity for striking General McClellan, on
the retreat, or in his then position, had occurred, and went forward
with General Jackson alone, on foot; and after a careful
reconnaissance of the whole line and position, he certainly stated to
me, at that time, the impropriety of attacking. I am misrepresented
at the battle of Chancellorsville in proposing an attack in front,
the first evening of our arrival. On the contrary, I decided against
it, and stated to General Jackson, we must attack on our left as soon
as practicable; and the necessary movement of the troops began
immediately. In consequence of a report received about that time,
from General Fitzhugh Lee, describing the position of the Federal
army, and the roads which he held with his cavalry leading to its
rear, General Jackson, after some inquiry concerning the roads
leading to the Furnace, undertook to throw his command entirely in
Hooker's rear, which he accomplished with equal skill and boldness;
the rest of the army being moved to the left flank to connect with
him as he advanced. I think there is some mistake, too, of a regiment
of infantry being sent by him to the ford on the Rapidan, as
described by Dr. Dabney. The cavalry was ordered to make such a
demonstration. General Stuart had proceeded to that part of the field
to co-operate in General Jackson's movement, and I always supposed it
was his dismounted cavalry. As well as I now recollect, something is
said by Dr. Dabney as to General Jackson's opinion as to the
propriety of delivering battle at Sharpsburg. When he came upon the
field, having preceded his troops, and learned my reasons for
offering battle, he emphatically concurred with me. When I determined
to withdraw across the Potomac, he also concurred; but said then, in
view of all the circumstances, it was better to have fought the
battle in Maryland than to have left it without a struggle. After
crossing the Potomac, General Jackson was charged with the command of
the rear, and he designated the brigades of infantry to support
Pendleton's batteries. I believed General McClellan had been so
crippled at Sharpsburg that he could not follow the Confederate army
into Virginia immediately; but General Stuart was ordered, after
crossing the Potomac, to recross at once at Williamsport, threaten
his right flank, and observe his movements. Near daylight the next,
morning, General Pendleton reported to me the occurrence at
Shepherdstown the previous evening, and stated that he had made a
similar report to General Jackson, who was lying near me on the same
field. From his statement, I thought it possible that the Federal
army might be attempting to follow us; and I sent at once to General
Jackson to say that, in that event, I would attack it; that he must
return with his whole command if necessary; that I had sent to
Longstreet to countermarch the rest of the army; and that upon his
joining me, unless I heard from him to the contrary, I should move
with it to his support. General Jackson went back with Hill's
division, General Pendleton accompanying him, and soon drove the
Federals into Maryland with loss. His report, which I received on my
way towards the river, relieved my anxiety, and the order of the
march of the troops was again resumed. I have endeavoured to be as
brief as possible in my statement, and with the single object of
calling Dr. Dabney's attention to the points referred to, that he may
satisfy himself as to the correctness of his own statements; and this
has been done solely in compliance with your request. Other points
may have attracted my attention in the perusal of the narrative; but
I cannot now recall them, and do not know that those which have
occurred to me are of importance. I wish I could do anything to give
real assistance, for I am very anxious that his work should be

With feelings of great esteem and regard, I am,

Very truly yours,

(Signed) R. E. LEE.

The production of this letter is due to the kindness of Dr. Henry A.
White, and of R. E. Lee, Esquire, of Washington, youngest son of
General Lee.


The following details, communicated to the author by one of Lee's
generals, as to the formations of the Confederate infantry, will be
found interesting:--

"Our brigades were usually formed of four or five regiments, each
regiment composed of ten companies. Troops furnished by the same
State were, as far as possible, brigaded together, in order to
stimulate State pride, and a spirit of healthy emulation.

"The regiment was formed for attack in line two-deep, covered by

"The number of skirmishers, and the intervals between the men on the
skirmish line, depended altogether on the situation. Sometimes two
companies were extended as skirmishers; sometimes one company;
sometimes a certain number of men from several companies. In rear of
the skirmishers, at a distance ranging from three hundred to one
hundred and fifty paces, came the remainder of the regiment.

"When a regiment or a brigade advanced through a heavily wooded
country, such as the Wilderness, the point of direction was
established, and the officers instructed to conform to the movements
of the 'guide company' or 'guide regiment' as the case might be, the
'guide' company or regiment governing both direction and alignment.

"The maintenance of direction under such circumstances was a very
difficult matter. Our officers, however, were greatly assisted by the
rank and file, as many of the latter were accomplished woodsmen, and
accustomed to hunt and shoot in the dense forests of the South. Each
regiment, moreover, was provided with a right and a left 'general
guide,' men selected for their special aptitudes, being good judges
of distance, and noted for their steadiness and skill in maintaining
the direction.

"Then, again, the line of battle was greatly aided in maintaining the
direction by the fire of the skirmishers, and frequently the line
would be formed with a flank resting on a trail or woods-road, a
ravine or watercourse, the flank regiment in such cases acting as the
guide: (at Chancellorsville, Jackson's divisions kept direction by
the turnpike, both wings looking to the centre.) In advancing through
thick woods the skirmish line was almost invariably strengthened, and
while the 'line of battle,' covered by the skirmishers, advanced in
two-deep line, bodies in rear usually marched in columns of fours,
prepared to come, by a 'forward into line,' to the point where their
assistance might be desired. I never saw the compass used in
wood-fighting. In all movements to attack it was the universal custom
for the brigade commander to assemble both field and company officers
to the 'front and centre,' and instruct them particularly as to the
purpose of the movement, the method in which it was to be carried
out, the point of direction, the guide regiment, the position of
other brigades, etc., etc. Like action was also taken by the
regimental commander when a regiment was alone.

"This precaution, I venture to think, is absolutely indispensable to
an orderly and combined advance over any ground whatever, and, so far
as my knowledge goes, was seldom omitted, except when haste was
imperative, in the Army of Northern Virginia. Practical experience
taught us that no movement should be permitted until every officer
was acquainted with the object in view, and had received his
instructions. I may add that brigade and regimental commanders were
most particular to secure their flanks and to keep contact with other
troops by means of patrols; and, also, that in thick woods it was
found to be of very great advantage if a few trustworthy men were
detailed as orderlies to the regimental commander, for by this means
he could most easily control the advance of his skirmishers and of
his line of battle.

General, late Army of Northern Virginia."


Before the campaign of 1864, the theatre of which embraced the region
between the Rappahannock and Petersburg, including the Wilderness,
corps of sharp-shooters, each 180 strong, were organised in many of
the brigades of Lee's army. These "light" troops undertook the
outpost, advanced, flank, and rear guard duties. The men were
carefully selected; they were trained judges of distance, skilful and
enterprising on patrol, and first-rate marksmen, and their rifles
were often fitted with telescopic sights. In order to increase their
confidence in each other they were subdivided into groups of fours,
which messed and slept together, and were never separated in action.
These corps did excellent service during the campaign of 1864.

CHAPTER 2.25. THE SOLDIER AND THE MAN.* (* Copyright 1898 by
Longmans, Green, & Co.)

To the mourning of a sore-stricken nation Stonewall Jackson was
carried to his rest. As the hearse passed to the Capitol, and the
guns which had so lately proclaimed the victory of Chancellorsville
thundered forth their requiem to the hero of the fight, the streets
of Richmond were thronged with a silent and weeping multitude. In the
Hall of Representatives, surrounded by a guard of infantry, the body
lay in state; and thither, in their thousands, from the President to
the maimed soldier, from the generals of the Valley army to wondering
children, borne in their mothers' arms, the people came to look their
last upon the illustrious dead. The open coffin, placed before the
Speaker's chair, was draped in the Confederate standard; the State
colours were furled along, the galleries; and the expression on the
face, firm and resolute, as if the spirit of battle still lingered in
the lifeless clay, was that of a great conqueror, wise in council,
mighty in the strife. But as the evening drew on the darkened
chamber, hung with deep mourning, and resounding to the clash of
arms, lost its sombre and martial aspect. Garlands of soft spring
flowers, the tribute of the women of Virginia, rose high above the
bier, and white pyramids of lilies, the emblems of purity and
meekness, recalled the blameless life of the Christian soldier.

From Richmond the remains were conveyed to Lexington, and, under the
charge of the cadets, lay for the night in the lecture-room of the
Institute, which Jackson had quitted just two years before. The next
morning he was buried, as he himself had wished, in the little
cemetery above the town.

Many were the mourners that stood around the grave, but they were few
in number compared with those whose hearts were present on those
silent hills. From the cities of the Atlantic coast to the far-off
settlements of Texas the news that Stonewall Jackson had fallen came
as a stunning blow. The people sorrowed for him with no ordinary
grief, not as a great man and a good, who had done his duty and had
gone to his reward, but as the pillar of their hopes and the
sheet-anchor of the Confederate cause. Nor will those familiar with
the further history of the Civil War, from the disaster of Gettysburg
to the surrender at Appomattox, question the truth of this mournful
presage. The Army of Northern Virginia became a different and less
manageable instrument after Chancellorsville. Over and over again it
failed to respond to the conceptions of its leader, and the failure
was not due to the soldiers, but to the generals. Loyal and valiant
as they were, of not one of his lieutenants could Lee say, as he had
said of Jackson, "Such an executive officer the sun never shone on. I
have but to show him my design, and I know that if it can be done it
will be done. No need for me to send or watch him. Straight as the
needle to the pole he advances to the execution of my purpose."* (*
Hon. Francis Lawley, the Times, June 16, 1863.)

These words have been quoted as an epitome of Jackson's military
character. "He was essentially," says Swinton, "an executive officer,
and in that sphere he was incomparable; but he was devoid of high
mental parts, and destitute of that power of planning a combination,
and of that calm, broad, military intelligence which distinguished
General Lee."* (* Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac page 289.) And
this verdict, except in the South, has been generally accepted. Yet
it rests on a most unsubstantial basis. Because Jackson knew so well
how to obey it is asserted that he was not well fitted for
independent command. Because he could carry out orders to the letter
it is assumed that he was no master of strategy. Because his will was
of iron, and his purpose, once fixed, never for a moment wavered, we
are asked to believe that his mental scope was narrow. Because he was
silent in council, not eager in expressing his ideas, and averse to
argument, it is implied that his opinions on matters of great moment
were not worth the hearing. Because he was shy and unassuming;
because he betrayed neither in face nor bearing, save in the heat of
battle, any unusual power or consciousness of power, it is hastily
concluded that he was deficient in the initiative, the breadth, and
the penetration which are the distinguishing characteristics of great

In these pages, however, it has been made clear that Jackson's quiet
demeanour concealed a vivid imagination, a fertile brain, and an
extraordinary capacity for far-reaching combinations. After he had
once made up his mind when and where to strike, it is true that his
methods of war were very simple, and his blows those of a
sledgehammer. But simplicity of design and vigour of execution are
often marks of the very highest military ability. "Genius," says
Napier, "is not extravagant; it is ardent, and it conceives great
projects; but it knows beforehand how to attain the result, and it
uses the simplest means, because its faculties are essentially
calculating, industrious, and patient. It is creative, because its
knowledge is vast; it is quick and peremptory, not because it is
presumptuous, but because it is well-prepared." And Swinton's verdict
would have been approved by few of the soldiers of the Civil War. It


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