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had it not been foiled at the outset, must have led to a battle near Chancellorsville. But it was destined that the command of the frank and kindly soldier was to close amid something very like general derision. As the center and left grand-divisions moved around behind the right, and took up the march for Banks' and United States fords, above Fredericksburg, a severe storm set in which soon converted fields and roads alike into one great bed of yellow Virginia mud. The infantry dragged themselves wearily along, pulling their legs out of the sticky clay with a great effort at every step, while at night the poor fellows slept on the flooded ground under an unceasing downpour, hungry because the supply trains had not come up. The artillery, the pontoons, and the ammunition wagons could hardly move at all. Only when half the horses of a battery were harnessed to a single gun, with large details of infantry to pull at the ropes, could any progress be made. At every stage caissons and even cannon were left behind; the road was strewn with dead mules and wrecked wagons. When at last the turning columns had been brought, in such a shape as might be, up to the fords, it was found that the pontoons could not possibly be got down to the river's edge, while it was equally evident that, were the infantry forced across, it must be without artillery or reserve ammunition. Against such difficulties Burnside's last hope gave way; and, soon after the army had been withdrawn to its quarters, he relinquished the command to Hooker, who had long burned to try his hand at it.
From the miseries and humiliation of the " mud campaign" Hancock's troops fortunately escaped, that division forming a part of the force which it had been intended to throw directly across the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg when the turning columns should have opened the way. So from their snug and comfortable huts Hancock's men looked cheerfully and philosophically out upon their fellows of the other corps as they went toiling up the roads to the fords, and as they came back, tired, bedraggled, hungry, and disgusted, after the lapse of three or four wretched days. In the interval between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, Hancock's division lost, by the expiry of its term of enlistment (two years), the gallant Seventh New York; but was re-enforced by two splendid Pennsylvania regiments with full ranks, the One Hundred and Fortieth and the One Hundred and Fortyeighth. Hancock also added three excellent officers to his staff—Major G. W. Scott, Sixty-first New York; Captain H. H. Bingham, One Hundred and Fortieth Pennsylvania; Lieutenant William P.Wilson, One Hundred and Forty-eighth Pennsylvania.
The accession of General Hooker to the command communicated a glow of hope and confidence to the much-enduring soldiers of the Army of the Potomac. He had long been known as one of the most gallant, daring, and impetuous of division and corps commanders. Handsome and picturesque in the extreme, though with a fatally weak chin, his brilliant courage, his popular manners, and even the frankness of his self-assertion, had given him a large place in the soldiers' hearts. And certainly few commanders ever made a better use of an opportunity offered to refresh and refit an army after a disastrous and disheartening defeat. Every branch of the service instantly felt the influence of the new chief's energy and enthusiasm. The artillery was thoroughly reorganized and brought to the highest state of efficiency. The cavalry arm received an impulse which never ceased to actuate it down to the close of the war. The staff fairly jumped to their work in every department. Burnside's favorite "Grand Division " organization was broken up, as clumsy and ineffective; and the infantry of the several corps was thoroughly overhauled in matters of equipment and discipline. Before the end of April Hooker was in command of a splendid army, comprising one hundred and twenty thousand men of all arms—veteran, well-appointed, brave, and believing thoroughly in their leader.
Hooker's plan of operations was clear, definite, sagacious. He purposed sending Meade, with his own corps, the Fifth, and with Howard's Eleventh and Slocum's Twelfth Corps, on a wide turning movement, to cross the Rappahannock at Kelly's ford, above the mouth of the Rapidan; then, bending southward, to cross the latter river at Germanna and Ely's fords; thence to move down along the bank of the Rappahannock, uncovering the fords below. At the United States ford was to be Couch's Second Corps, lacking Gibbon's division which was to remain at Falmouth. Couch was to cross the river and join Meade at Chancellorsville. This re-enforcement would give Meade nearly as many men as Lee had in his entire army, Longstreet's corps being in the West. Meanwhile Sedgwick, with his own corps, the Sixth, Reynolds's First and Sickles's Third Corps and Gibbon's division of the Second, was to make demonstrations at and below Fredericksburg, to induce the belief that Hooker's real object was to be found in that direction. As soon as Hooker should in person relieve Meade in the command at Chancellorsville, it would then be for him to decide whether he would call up Sedgwick's force in whole or in part, or would use that column to cross the Rappahannock below and move into Lee's rear. Only one thing more requires to be said in such a hasty sketch as this. The splendid cavalry of the Army of the Potomac was to be sent on a great raid against Lee's communications, to threaten Richmond, intercept the Confederate supplies and re-enforcements, and prevent Lee from retreating in case of disaster. Perhaps it would have been better had Hooker kept the cavalry by him, to cover the movements of his own army and to help him win the victory of which he was, as the event proved, too well assured.
Everything at first went prosperously. Meade accomplished his turning movement promptly. Setting out on the 27th of April, he was joined at Chancellorsville, on the afternoon of the 30th, by Couch's two divisions. Here Hooker, too, arrived, full of confidence, and that evening issued a boastful general order declaring that " the enemy must either ingloriously fly or come out from behind his defenses and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him." On the left, down the river, things had gone equally well. Sedgwick, on the 29th, crossed the Rappahannock with two divisions below Fredericksburg, causing Lee to believe that here was the real point of attack. As the success of