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286

ORDER OF GEN. HOOKER.

the tree-tops to scrutinize our movements, and ascertain, if possible, “what we were about that we did not come on." Gen. Sedgwick, who had charge of this wing of the army, continued to march and countermarch the troops in view of the enemy. Forming on the crest of the hills, they would move down in solid columns to the bridges, as if to cross, but instead of crossing, quietly draw back through a gully, and in a half hour's time be descending the hill again. This series of manæuvres led the enemy to suppose that our entire army was here. The disappearance, however, of most of the rebel infantry from our front, on Friday morning, indicated that they had divined our strategy—not, however, until it had accomplished •the purpose intended, as the reading of the following order showed:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

.: NEAR FALMOUTH, APRIL 30, 1863. /

It is with heartfelt satisfaction that the General Commanding announces to the army that the operations of the last three days have determined that our enemy must ingloriously fly, or come out from behind their defences and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits them. The operations of the Fifth, Eleventh and Twelfth Corps have been a series of splendid successes.

By command of

MAJOR-GENERAL HOOKER. S. WILLIAMS, Adjutant-General.

THE WASHINGTON ESTATE.

287 While the enemy had delayed in our front, our right wing had reached Chancellorsville. .

The reading of these brief lines to the various Regiments occasioned the wildest enthusiasm, and cheer after cheer was given for “ Fighting Joe.', While waiting orders on the flats, elegant swords were presented to Captains Cole and Gifford by their respective Companies. The Colonel made a brief address, urging them to wield these new weapons manfully in the coming strife.

Just at nightfall the enemy opened a heavy fire on the lower bridges and the infantry on the opposite bank, killing and wounding some thirty of them. Our guns replied with much spirit, until darkness put an end to the conflict. The rebels used one heavy Whitworth gun, which was planted four miles away, and fired with a most uncomfortable precision.

Friday was a day of comparative quiet, there being no infantry and but very little artillery firing. The enemy's pickets were posted along the Bowling Green road, while heavy reinforcements from Richmond could be seen moving over the hills towards Chancellorsville. Gen. Sickles' Corps moved up the river to reinforce Hooker.

During the afternoon, members of the Regiment improved the inactivity to visit the old Washington Estate, situated down the river, about a mile in the rear of the lower bridges. The story of little George cutting down his father's apple tree with his new hatchet, is familiar to everyone. The exact spot where the tree stood is pointed out, and the green on which

288

· HEAVY ARTILLERY FIRING.

the Father of his Country played and wantoned in his childhood. The Estate has descended to the Fitzhughs, who abandoned it on our appearance here last fall. Their son, a Captain in the Confederate service, was killed on Wednesday, when the Iron Brigade crossed the river.

Saturday morning found our troops posted in about the same position as the day previous, the Thirty-third still remaining encamped on the flats. About half-past seven a rebel battery, planted during the night in front of the ruins of the Bernard House, tossed a couple of shells among the pickets, who were playing ball. This was immediately followed by their ten-pound Parrots, planted on the crest, three-quarters of a mile below, which again concentrated a rapid fire on the lower bridges and Wadsworth’s Division. They were, however, soon silenced by our heavy guns. Occasional skirmishing continued through the day. Towards evening, Gen. Brooks discovered bodies of the enemy moving along the hills, as if to fall upon our right. When, however, he perceived, a few moments later, that the head of the column was directed towards Chancellorsville, he became satisfied that Gen. Lee was withdrawing all his infantry from our front, and immediately ordered the skirmish line forward. The “Light Brigade," which was then in front, advanced, flanked the enemy's pickets and drove them in fine style half a mile beyond the Bowling Green road. Scattered along the turnpike were found knapsacks, canteens and several “dummeys," or pickets of CROSSING ON PONTOONS BY MOONLIGHT.

289

The lower crossing had now been abandoned, and Gen. Sedgwick sent the First Corps likewise up the river to reinforce Hooker, leaving only the Sixth Corps below Fredericksburg. Immediately on our obtaining possession of the Bowling Green turnpike, Howe's and Newton's, the two remaining Divisions of the Corps, passed over the bridges.

290

A GLORIOUS SUCCESS.

CHAPTER XXXI.

THE STORMING OF FREDERICKSBURG HEIGHTS.

SUNDAY, MAY 3, 1863.

SUNDAY, May 3d, was a proud day for the Union arms--the boasted Heights of Fredericksburg were stormed by our brave boys, and the Stars and Stripes planted triumphantly over that “Gibraltar of America.” Whatever the result of the fighting in the rear, that in front crowned our arms with imperishable renown. “This crest of hills," wrote the London Times' correspondent, after the battle under Burnside,“ constitute one of the strongest positions in the world—impregnable to any attack from the front.” The achievements of that memorable day again demonstrated that what is impossible with John Bull becomes possible with Jonathan. The members of the Thirty-third can ever point with pride to the conspicuous part which they bore in this brilliant achievement—the crowning glory of their two years' career.

Though Gen. Lee had withdrawn his infantry from the ridge below the city, he left, as he supposed, a sufficient force to hold the hills immediately in the rear. Here was planted the best of his artil

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