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CAUSES OF OUR DEFEAT.
across the Rappahannock. If successful, the fortunes of the campaign would be retrieved, and Lee ground to atoms between the upper and nether millstone, or forced to “ingloriously fly” towards Richmond. The Heights were victoriously stormed, and all was well with Sedgwick. But now comes the terrible blunder which decides the contest, the neglect to occupy the upper ridge.
If, says Victor Hugo, Bulow, Blucher's Lieutenant, had debouched from the forest above Freschemont, instead of pursuing the route he did, the form of the nineteenth century would have been different. If Sedgwick had debouched from the Heights above Fredericksburg to the ridge at the left, instead of pushing on towards Chancellorsville, the enemy would have been hemmed in, and the bloody battle of Gettysburg never have been fought; or if a single battery of heavy guns had been left to command the road leading down from the ridge and the ravine through which the flanking force had to pass, in order to reach Marye's Heights, the tables would not have been turned, and Sedgwick instead of Lee compelled to fight one way and face another.
Our losses during the seven days' campaign were not far from sixteen thousand, or four thousand more than those incurred in the December struggle. Of this number, more than five thousand came from the Sixth Army Corps.
The casualties of the enemy amounted to not far from twelve thousand. In the death of Jackson they suffered an irreparable loss. Better, said one of the
LOSSES-DEATH OF JACKSON.
Richmond papers soon afterwards, that a whole Army Corps should have gone down than the brave Stonewall. The true circumstances of his death have never been published. On Saturday evening he proceeded out on the turnpike leading from Chancellorsville, to examine his lines. Instead of riding alone, as was frequently his habit on such occasions, he was accompanied by most of his staff and several orderlies. A squad of the First North Carolina Regiment had, in the meantime, been posted across the road by a Division General, to intercept a body of our cavalry, which he learned was on a reconnoissance. Mistaking Jackson and his aids in the dark for the Union troopers, they all fired as he drew near, killing the aids, wounding two orderlies and sending one bullet through Jackson's right hand, and another through his left arm. He died six days erwards, from the effects of these wounds.
The various statements which have appeared from time to time concerning his piety have not been exaggerated. He was a decidedly spiritual rebel. While located at Harper's Ferry and Winchester, during the earlier months of the war, he led the Union Prayer Meetings, and those of the Presbyterian Church, of which he was a Deacon.
There is not wanting evidence to prove that he held, at the outset, serious doubts as to the justice of the insurrection or rebellion. Some of the readers may re-call the following incident, given to the public last August. It was related to us by a clergyman, who received it from the lips of the divine referred to.
Dr. J— , a prominent Presbyterian divine of New York, who was closely related to Stonewall, being in Central Virginia just prior to his rapid march on Banks, spent the night with him and attempted to convince him of his error in regard to the States-rights doctrine. At the General's request they devoted some two hours to prayer, Jackson praying long and earnestly. When they rose from their knees his eyes were suffused with tears, and in a repentant voice he remarked : “Whatever Virginia decides to do, I will do. If to return to the Union, I will fight for the Union.” Not a week elapsed before Dr. J— heard of his relative thundering up through the Shenandoah in hot pursuit of Banks. The States-rights heresy has compassed the ruin of many gifted and brave men.
The following is General Neill's report of the part borne by his Brigade in the campaign.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, )
May 7th, 1863. ) I have the honor to report, for the information of the General Commanding the Division, that on the night of May 2nd, 1863, in obedience to orders, I led my Brigade across the pontoon bridge at Mansfield on the Rappahannock, about three-fourths of a mile below Fredericksburg, posting two Regiments, the Thirty-third and Forty-ninth New York, as pickets, in front of the enemy. At 12 o'clock, midnight, my Brigade was ordered to march along the “ Bowling Green” road towards Fredericksburg. GENERAL NEILL'S REPORT.
Whilst waiting to get the road, the enemy attacked the left of my picket line, held by the Forty-ninth New York. The Forty-ninth repulsed them, and held their ground.
On the morning of the third, Sunday, at about 10 o'clock, I was ordered to form three Regiments as the advance of a column of assault against the Heights on Marye's Hill, back of Fredericksburg. I led the Thirty-third New York, Twenty-first New Jersey, and Seventh Maine Volunteers, preceded by the Seventy-seventh New York, who were acting as skirmishers, under a heavy fire of shot and shell. Before reaching the batteries on the hill against which we were directed, I found they had already been taken by our troops on our right, and I directed the attack against the batteries on the hills to our
sion four distinct detached earth-works of strong profile. We captured three pieces of artillery — two long brass guns and one short howitzer — and one stand of colors, belonging to the Eighteenth Mississippi Regiment, after which we marched to assist in repelling an attack of the enemy along the Chancellorsville road.
On the morning of the fourth of May, the enemy attempted to turn our rear, when I led four Regiments of my Brigade back towards Fredericksburg, and checked them. I must not omit to mention, on the morning of the fourth a Brigade of rebels advanced to take an earthwork near the Plank Road, which was then occupied by our troops; 320
CONDUCT OF HIS REGIMENTS.
when two companies of the Forty-ninth New York, and one company of the Seventh Maine, supported by the Forty-ninth New York, in conjunction with two pieces of Lieutenant Martin's battery, entirely routed the whole Brigade and the three companies of infantry aforementioned, captured 200 prisoners, and the colors of a rebel regiment, the Fifty-eighth Virginia.
On the evening of the fourth of May, about 5 o'clock, the whole of Longstreet's Corps came up the Richmond Road, as reinforcements, attacking my right and front, massing large numbers of his infantry in the ravines which were held by their troops. After losing about one thousand men, I was obliged to retire, my Regiments being unable to cope with the overpowering numbers of the enemy, and fearful, lest in the position I then held, they would be captured by the enemy piercing our lines in rear, between us and “Banks' Ford.” In the assault, the Twentieth New York Volunteers broke and went to the rear. I could not rally them. The other Regiments stood their ground nobly, under a murderous fire, and by their stubborn resistance at that time, I believe the Sixth Corps was enabled to eventually re-cross the Rapahannock at Banks' Ford, in the night.
Colonel Van Houten, Twenty-first New Jersey Volunteers, was wounded on the field of the battle, and I regret to say, died a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, from wounds received in battle.
I cannot close my report without making free and