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THE BATTLES OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK, CHANCELLORSVILLE AND FREDERICKSBURG.
It was now the month of April, and Hooker, the successor of Burnside, busied himself with the reorganization of his powerful army. Its rand divisions were substituted by seven ...'. the 1st (Reynolds), § (Couch), 3d (Sickles), 5th (Meade), 6th (Sedgwick), 11th (Howard), and 12th (Slocum). His forces numbered 120,000 infantry and artillery, 13,000 cavalry, and 400 pieces of artillery. Confronting him on the south side of the river lay the Army of Northern Virginia, 62,000 strong. It consisted of Jackson's corps in four divisions, coinmanded respectively by A. P. Hill, Rodes, Colston and Early; two divisions of o corps, those of Anderson and McLaws; Longstreet himself, with the remainder of his command, having been sent to the south side of James river. Of Lee's force, the cavalry numbered 3,000 men. The 27th of April at length arrived, and it seemed that the “grand hesitation” was at an end, for Hooker on that day ordered a general advance. With a view of concealing his real intention he sent Sedgwick, 30,000 strong, to make a feint of crossing the river at Burnside's Ford, three miles below Fredericksburg, while he was to move secretly and rapidly to the right of his column, and, crossing both the Rappahannock and Rapidan above their confluence, take a position near Chancellorsville. This town, consisting of a hotel and several private residences, is situated on the road leading from Orange Court House to Fredericksburg, and is eleven miles north-west of the latter. Here the roads leading from German Mills and Ely's, United States and Banks' Fords, intersect. The battle-plan of Hooker was not a simple one, but a combined operation consisting of three parts: first, his own movement and flank attack of Lee; second, Sedgwick's attack upon Fredericksburg; and third, Stoneman's cavalry movement to the rear of the Confederate position. Lee was not slow to divine the designs of his enemy, and at once set about disposing of his little army to the best advantage for repelling the shock of battle which he now knew was at hand. General Barksdale's brigade and General Early's division were left to face Sedgwick's advance upon Fredericksburg, and Lee with his entire remaining available force began the march to Chancellorsville, where by throwing the bulk of his army in front of Hooker, he expected to check his advance. On Saturday, May 24, the town was reached, and Jackson in the front began the work assigned him in the mighty contest. For two hours his division passed in review of Sickles' position on the left. The 23d Georgia regiment was guarding the flank of his train, and upon this regiment was poured the first fire. Sickles ordered General Birney to open fire and then charge the passing train; the order was executed
- in the Capitol Grounds, Richmond.
The Inscription reads: “Presented by English gentlemen as a tribute of admiration for the soldier and patriot, THOMAS J. JACKSON, and gratefully accepted by Virginia, in the name of the Southern people. Done A. D. 1875. In the Hundredth Year of the Commonwealth.” “ i.ook : there is Jackson, standing like a Stone Wall.”
and the greater part of the Georgia regiment were made prisoners. But Jackson's division was already far to the right and in position; at 5 P.M. the attack was made upon Howard's division, which broke and ran at the first fire. Sickles was preparing to renew Birney's attack with greater force, and for that purpose had just ordered up Pleasanton's cavalry, 1,000 strong, when the movement was changed to check the panicstricken lines from Howard's right. The action now became general, and the Confederates charged from all points. The 8th Pennsylvania attempted to check the advance of Jackson's column and was entirely overwhelmed. It was the same old story. The Grand Army of the Potomac, in three hours from the first fire, was falling back before the charging columns of that army thrice its victors. In the meantime Sedgwick with a force of two to one had succeeded in driving Barksdale and Early from their position at Fredericksburg, and they were now slowly falling back to join the main forces at Chancellorsville. Sedgwick was in pursuit, and intelligence of his approach reached Lee just as he was o preparations for a final attack upon Hooker. Something must be done to stay the unexpected force in his rear, and he accordingly dispatched four brigades under McLaws and Anderson to reinforce Barksdale and Early, and check Sedgwick. They encountered his advance near Salem Church, but it was now night and darkness put an end to the conflict, both parties retaining their ground. This movement did not prevent Lee from keeping a furious cannonade on Hooker's front. Qn the next morning, Monday, May 4th, Sedgwick sent a messenger to Hooker informing him of his beleaguered condition and asking sup rt from the main o Hooker replied that no aid could be given. #. n Sedgwick fell back rapidly to Banks' Ford, and under a heavy fire from his victorious pursuers succeeded in crossing the river, but leaving 5,000 dead behind him—one-third as many as the commands of Barksdale and Early numbered. Lee had not given Hooker a moment's rest, and on Tuesday night, having placed straw and brush upon the bridge to prevent a noise, the whole Federal army escaped under cover of the darkness to the other side, and on Wednesday morning when the Confederates moved forward to the attack, no enemy was to be seen. Thus ended the battles on the Rappahannock, in which Hooker lost 17,197 men, of whom 5,000 were unwounded prisoners. He had also lost thirteen cannon and 20,000 stand of small arms. Lee's loss was 13,000, of whom 1,581 were killed, 8,700 were wounded, and nearly 3,000 prisoners. Among the killed was the lamented “Stonewall” Jackson—a sketch of whose life will be found in Volume I of WIRGINIA AND WIRGINIANs.
THE INVASION OF PENNSYLVANIA.
For a month after the battle of Chancellorsville, the two armies lay confronting each other with only the river between them. During the time, Hooker's force had been somewhat reduced by the discharge of several regiments whose term of service had expired, while that of Lee had been augmented by the arrival of several regiments of North Carolina troops. His army too had been thoroughly re-organized, and the uestion of Jackson's successor settled to the satisfaction of the country. he President, some time in May, commissioned both Major-Generals R. S. Ewell and A. P. Hill as Lieutenant-Generals in the army of Northern Virginia. To the command of each three divisions were assigned, to complete which Anderson's division was taken from Longstreet's corps, and that of A. P. Hill reduced to two brigades, and the command given to Major-General W. D. Pender; to these was added the brigade of Pettigrew and another from North Carolina, forming a corps, the command of which was given to Major-General Heth. General Lee had for some time entertained a plan for the invasion of the Northern States, being determined that if he could not bring on an: other engagement in Virginia, by an invasion to induce the withdrawal of the Federal forces from her soil. On the 3d of June, the preparations being complete, McLaws' division of Longstreet's corps began its march from Fredericksburg toward Culpeper Court House, and the same evening Hood's division, which had been lying near the mouth of the Rapidan, followed on to the same place. By the 8th, the entire army was in motion, with the rear resting at Culpeper. On the 9th, a large force of Federal cavalry and infantry Cro the Rappahannock at Beverly's and Kelley's fords, and attacked General Stuart. The engagement continued throughout the afternoon, and resulted in the retreat of the Federals beyond the river, leaving behind them four hundred prisoners and three pieces of artillery. This engagement is known to Northern writers as the battle of Brandy Station. The principal fighting on the Confederate side was done by the 11th Virginia cavalry, under command of Colonel Lomax.
CAPTURE OF WINCHESTER.
In the meantime, General Jenkins, commanding a brigade of cavalry, was ordered forward toward Winchester, and at the same time General Imboden was directed to make a demonstration toward Romney, for the purpose of covering the movement of General Jenkins against Winchester, and further to prevent the Federals at that place from being reinforced by troops lying along the line of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad.
General Milroy, the Federal commander at Winchester, had a force of 7,000 men. He was either unaware of, or misinformed regarding the force moving against him, and therefore held his position too long. On the 13th, General Rodes drove in a force which was lying at Berryville, and at 5 P.M. on the 14th, General Early was within cannon range of Milroy's position, which it was his purpose to assault; he at once began preparations for the attack. Twenty pieces of artillery were placed in position and opened fire, and at the same time Hays' Louisiana brigade charged the works, which in a few minutes yielded before the charging columns, and Milroy was defeated and driven from Winchester, with a loss, according to his own account, of 4,000 men, 29 guns, 277 wagons, and 400 horses. Of the fugitives a part escaped to Harpers Ferry, and the remainder into Pennsylvania. General Rodes, having driven the Federals from Berryville, marched to Martinsburg, where he arrived on the 14th, and captured 700 prisoners, 5 pieces of artillery, and a considerable quantity of stores.
THE MARCH INTO PENNSYLVANIA CONTINUED.
These operations had cleared the valley of the Federal forces, those at Harpers Ferry having withdrawn to Maryland Heights; and now the great movement of the war, prefaced by this brilliant introduction, was fairly begun.
Ewell's corps was the first to cross the Potomac. On the 24th it was followed by that of General A. P. Hill, which crossed at Shepherdstown. General Longstreet's corps had previously reached the Maryland shore by the Williamsport ford. The latter was composed of the divisions of McLaws, Pickett, and Hood, while the corps of Hill consisted of those of Pender, Heth, and Anderson, and that of Ewell of the divisions of Rodes, Early, and Johnson. The several columns re-united at Hagerstown, from which place the entire army crossed into Pennsylvania, and on the evening of the 27th encamped near Chambersburg.
Throughout the North this movement produced the wildest excitement. The public records were removed from Harrisburg, and New York and Philadelphia prepared to receive the daring invaders.
On the 15th of June, President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 120,000 militia, of which Pennsylvania was to furnish 50,000, Ohio 30,000, Maryland 10,000, West Virginia 10,000, and New York 20,000. In addition, Governor Andrews tendered the entire military strength of Massachusetts in the terrible crisis.
But it was not the rapidly forming battalions of raw militia that claimed the attention of the daring invader, General Lee. He was watching with the gravest interest the movements of that mighty army, a third greater than his own, which he had left on the banks of the Rappahannock, and which along the Potomac had for three years been ...}. in the science of war.