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company of cavalry to give warning of a hostile approach. No body of troops in such a position could have resisted such an assault, led by Stonewall Jackson. In spite of the utmost resistance which the braver part of Howard's men could offer, the Eleventh Corps was routed and driven back upon the rest of the army, with the Confederates in fierce pursuit. After all the mutterings of the day, the blow came at last as unexpectedly as a bolt launched from a cloudless sky. In an instant all was excitement, and dire was the confusion on the great plain by the Chancellor House. Down the road from Dowdall's Tavern came the wreck of Howard's battle—camp followers, baggage wagons, ambulances and caissons, and fugitives from the ranks—all rushing back pellmell to get as far as possible away from Jackson. But even here they found no peace, for, the moment the sounds of conflict told that the turning column was getting in its work, the divisions of Anderson and McLaws, which General Lee had kept with himself, redoubled their attacks with both artillery and infantry, trusting, in the surprise and alarm, to break through our lines on the left; or, if they could not do that, to prevent any force being dispatched to withstand Jackson.
The brunt of the new assault fell upon Hancock's division by reason of its being directly across the Fredericksburg pike; but the intrenched line under Miles, which had been strongly re-enforced during the night and which was fed by Hancock with fresh troops just as fast as needed, held its ground and kept the enemy at bay. Again and again the Confederates brought lines of battle down into the slashing, and again and again they had to go back. Rarely in the history of war has anything finer been seen. Rightly does Mr. Swinton say: "Amid much that is dastardly at Chancellorsville, the conduct of this young but gallant and skillful officer shines forth with a brilliant luster." So delighted was Hancock at the splendid behavior of his skirmish line that, after one repulse of the enemy, he exclaimed: "Captain Parker, ride down and tell Colonel Miles he is worth his weight in gold "; while Couch, turning to the major generals who commanded his two divisions, said, in his quiet, emphatic way: "I tell you what, gentlemen, I shall not be greatly surprised to find myself some day serving under that young man." Thirty-one years later (1894), "that young man," a volunteer of the great war, is now within three years of commanding the armies of the United States.
While Hancock was thus holding the enemy off from the Chancellor plain, where even a momentary collapse of our line would have been disastrous, Sickles and Pleasonton were straining every nerve to bring Jackson to a stand in his terrific movement down the road from Dowdall's Tavern. Batteries from the reserve galloped into position; troops from the Third and other corps hurried to the threatened point, and formed line with an alacrity and confidence not a whit diminished by the mass of fugitives who still continued to pour along the road, calling out for "the pontoons," or fairly howling with fright.* All observers of that field on that disastrous afternoon agree that the stampede did not in the slightest degree affect the self-possession and discipline of the troops on the Chancellor plain, who, indeed, were rather disposed to chaff their unfortunate brethren from Dowdall's Tavern, and, for themselves, showed no sign of alarm as Jackson's victorious divisions closed in from the west.
But, much to the surprise of all, the worst proved to be over. Jackson's men had become disordered by the very greatness of their success and by their rapid movements; they had suffered not a little from the stand made by some of the Eleventh Corps brigades; night was coming on to embarrass their further advance; at any moment they might, so far as they knew, receive a blow on their left flank; while in front of them a grim line of batteries, supported by infantry and cavalry, barred the way to Hooker's headquarters. After their first onset had been repelled by canister from a score of guns, they contented themselves with feeling our line here and there in the growing darkness, and at last came to a complete halt. An hour later the adventurous and daring captain who had organized this great stroke fell mortally wounded by the fire of his own men while riding back from a reconnoissance of Hooker's position. This great disaster would alone have put a stop to any attempt on the part of the Confederates to push further their advantage that night. The morning of the 3d of May (Sunday) found the Union forces at Chancellorsville in no degree discouraged, except for the strange, uncanny feeling which the conduct of general headquarters had created. The rout of the Eleventh Corps, which to the Confederates had seemed a great victory, had, in fact, affected the real Army of the Potomac scarcely at all. Indeed, after the first shock there was more of a disposition to make a jest of it than to treat it as an important matter. The Eleventh Corps had never been regarded as belonging to the Army of the Potomac. It had come up only after the battle of Fredericksburg, and had then encamped far in the rear of the army, so that almost no intercourse had taken place between these troops and the older divisions. The venerable joke about "fighting mit Sigel" had gone the rounds so many times that it was difficult to take Sigel's men very seriously when
* Some of the fugitives were so completely beside themselves with fear that they ran past the Chancellor House, down the Fredericksburg pike, through Hancock's line, and into the hands of the Confederates, without being stopped. One ingenuous German approached Hancock and begged to be directed to the pontoons. The answer he received has been handed down by tradition ; but it is best not to put it into cold and unsympathetic type.