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they appeared. All this was doubtless unjust. The Eleventh Corps, as its subsequent history proved, contained regiments and brigades which for gallantry, discipline, and endurance could not be excelled. But soldiers are creatures of camp rumors and camp-fire stories. Of the remaining troops, of the Second, Third, Fifth, and Twelfth Corps, then at Chancellorsville, not a single brigade had up to this time had more than fighting enough to bring it to its "second wind." Moreover, the First Corps, under Reynolds, was now up and ready to join in the sport, having left Sedgwick, with the Sixth Corps and Gibbon's division, below. Here, then, were, at the lowest count, seventy thousand men, not including Howard's corps, all veteran troops, ready and even eager for the fray. Lee had, first and last, both of those confronting Sedgwick and of those under his own eye at Chancellorsville, barely fiftyfive thousand. Small wonder that the Army of the Potomac was confident on the 3d of May!
But the army was to have that day a far, far harder trial than it dreamed of. The position at the Chancellor House was a thoroughly bad one. The high ground which Hooker had surrendered to the enemy, of his own fatal motion, or of which he had allowed himself to be dispossessed, completely commanded the plain on which his troops were drawn up. Over that plain shells from a hundred and eighty degrees of the circle were to fly screaming and exploding through every moment of the coming fight. There was no considerable portion of the Union breastworks which was not to be enfiladed or taken in reverse by the enemy's artillery. But the unfortunate position to which the army was condemned was the lightest of the disadvantages under which it was to suffer. That army had, in truth, no longer a head. Hooker had succumbed to the strange lethargy which had afflicted him ever since the morning of the 1st of May. The rout of Howard's corps had finished him. He had caused to be constructed a new line of works at the Bullock Clearing in rear; and his principal thought seemed to be to retire to this, while yet he would neither give the order to retreat nor make the necessary preparations for fighting upon the Chancellorsville plateau. The morning was to see troops desperately engaged for hours against superior numbers, without an effort to re-enforce them or even to supply their exhausted cartridge boxes. It was to see a gallant and veteran army defeated in a false position, while yet two fifths of its numbers had not fired a shot.
The battle of Sunday morning was divided into two separate actions. Even the enemy were not united, the force under Lee being still separated from that which Jackson had led out for his great flank march. The smaller of the two actions was that in which Hancock's division and troops from the Twelfth Corps held the intrenchments on the left against the divisions of McLaws and Anderson. The larger and more desperate action was that in which the Third Corps and portions of the Twelfth, re-enforced later by French's division of the Second, held the center and right against the column commanded by General J. E. B. Stuart, who had succeeded to Jackson's command. All through the long morning the First and Fifth Corps, under Reynolds and Meade, thirty thousand strong, lay on their arms within striking distance of the Confederate left flank without an order to fall on.
The conduct of affairs upon the left was fortunate. The troops there engaged on the Union side were enough to hold back McLaws and Anderson, and they did it. Again Miles played the brilliant rdle that had been assigned to him the day before; and, with his skirmish line re-enforced so that it comprised nearly half the division, beat back every attempt of the enemy until, at last, this heroic young officer, after performing prodigies of valor and escaping a thousand deaths, fell severely wounded, and was carried to the rear, as it was believed, to die. But still the skirmish line, under the personal direction of Couch and Hancock, held its ground; and, though a triple line of battle more than once descended into the slashing to force it back, maintained itself unbroken. Upon Sickles's corps, however, and a division of the Twelfth, the whole fury of Stuart's assault was allowed to fall without support or relief, except for the dispatch of French's division previously mentioned. The attack and the defense were alike of the most desperate resolution. The long Confederate lines were whipped into foam as they dashed against the Third Corps breastworks; their reserves were brought up in vain; and when, at last, Carroll's brigade of three small regiments from the Second Corps was brought Over and thrown upon Stuart's flank it was hardly possible for the enemy to scrape together troops enough to bring this intrepid officer to a stand. Yet all the while the First and Fifth Corps lay less than a mile away. Entreaties met no reply, or else a surly rebuff. At last a fresh assault found an undefended point in the weakened Union lines, a brigade or two gave way and the Confederates poured in and were masters of the position. Even so, there was no rout or panic on the part of our forces; the enemy, dazed by their own success after such tremendous efforts, worn and torn by the savage fighting of the morning, made almost no captures, whether of men or of guns, and were cautious about advancing over the Chancellorsville plateau, perhaps suspecting a trap. Slowly the several Union corps fell out of their positions and took up their retreat to the Bullock Clearing, scarcely molested. By half-past nine o'clock the Confederate commanders were occupying the Union breastworks and were crowding the edges of the plain with their artillery.