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ON the morning of the 2d of May Jackson was early in the saddle, and pushed forward his preparations with vigor, in spite of a distressing cold which he had caught by sleeping without sufficient covering to protect him from the humid airs of the chill spring night.
This cold had resulted from his kindly solicitude for the comfort of another. In the hasty march he seems to have left behind him his blankets, and one of his aides threw over him a heavy cape, as some addition to his scant covering. During the night Jackson bethought him that the young man might be susfering from cold in consequence of this generosity, and, rising quietly, he spread the cape over the youthful sleeper, and again lay down without it. The consequence was a severe cold; and this cold terminated in that attack of pneumonia which, occurring at a time when he was enfeebled by his wound, resulted in his death. If he had not thrown that cape over his sleeping aide, it is probable that he would have survived his wounds.
In spite, however, of this severe indisposition, Jackson had never exhibited more ardor and energy than when undertaking this great movement. Its splendid details and triumphant result were no doubt mapped out in his brain, and an unwonted excitement mastered him. The enterprise was one which demanded the highest traits of military genius. He had undertaken to move, without being discovered, along the entire front of the enemy, and in close proximity to their lines; to make his way by unfrequented roads and through dense thickets to their flank and rear, and to attack the large force of General Hooker in his intrenchments above Chancellorsville, and put every thing upon the issue of the struggle. If one step went wrong in the programme, his purpose would be defeated; if he was repulsed in the assault, there was no possibility of receiving assistance from General Lee; upon his skill and soldiership depended not only the success of the movement which he was about to make, but the very existence of the great army corps which he commanded. The column commenced its march at daybreak. Leaving the plank road about a mile and a half from Chancellorsville, and occupying the attention of the Federal forces by the fire of a battery under Major Pegram, Jackson pressed on steadily by the Old Mine road in the direction of the Furnace; the cavalry under General Stuart moving in front and on the flanks of the column, to mask the troops from the enemy. At the Furnace the 23d Georgia, Colonel Best, was left to guard the road leading from that point toward Chancellorsville, in order to protect the column against an attack on its flank in passing, and Jackson continued to advance. As the rear of the column reached the Furnace, the anticipated attack took place; the enemy suddenly advancing and assailing the 23d Georgia so unexpectedly that the whole regiment, with the exception of Colonel Best and a few men, was surrounded and captured. The trains of the corps were also attacked by the Federal forces, but Colonel J. Thompson Brown promptly placed his artillery in position, and, after a brief but hot engagement, the enemy were repulsed and compelled to retreat toward Chancellorsville. The design of the Confederate commander seemed thus to have been unmasked ; but such was not the fact. The enemy still had no suspicion of his real intentions, and the direction in which his column now moved no doubt explains this circumstance. The road which Jackson followed, bends southward at the Furnace for a short distance, returning, as it were, toward the point from which it came ; and the enemy's writers assert that they supposed the Southern troops to be in full retreat toward Spottsylvania CourtHouse. Such was the fatal misconception of General Hooker— affording one more proof of the soundness of Napoleon's maxim, that the first necessity of a general is to study the character of his opponent. General Hooker ought to have been sufficiently acquainted with the character of Jackson to understand that to retreat without a battle was no part of the military philosophy of the man of Kernstown; and that the soldier who had flanked General McClellan and gotten in rear of General Pope, would probably try the same strategy against General Hooker. The column continued its rapid march—its movement completely masked by the cavalry which attacked and drove off the reconnoitring parties of the enemy—its destination undreamed of by the Federal army, now engrossed by Lee's attack in front. Hour after hour the march continued without cessation; the troops penetrating with difficulty the wild country through which they moved; the artillery slowly toiling on through the narrow roads over which the heavy engines of war had never before moved. Jackson rode at the head of his column, and General Stuart with his cavalry continued to protect the front and flank from observation. Reaching the Brock road, running, as we have said, from Spottsylvania Court-House to Ely's ford, and crossing the right flank of the enemy, Jackson continued to follow it until he attained the point where it intersects the Orange plank road, not far from the plank road to Germanna ford, and about three miles from Chancellorsville. At this point General Fitz Lee, commanding the cavalry under General Stuart, informed Jackson that, by ascending an elevation near at hand, he could obtain a good view of the positions of the enemy, who, taking him for a simple cavalry vidette, would pay no attention to him. He accordingly proceeded to the point indicated, and from which the Federal cavalry had been driven. A single glance showed him the position of the Federal line of battle. He was not yet sufficiently on the enemy's flank, and, turning to one of his aides, he said, briefly, “Tell my column to cross that road.” IIe referred to the Orange plank road, and, hastening back, placed himself again at the head of the troops, who continued to move by the Brock road, and advanced without delay to the old turnpike.”
The movement had thus far been a complete success. Jackson had reached without discovery a position where he could attack the enemy in flank and reverse, and orders were instantly issued to prepare the troops for action. Those who saw him at this moment declare that he had never exhibited greater animation and ardor. The troops moved rapidly to their positions, and line of battle was promptly formed; Rodes' division in front, on the left of the turnpike; A. P. Hill's two hundred yards in rear of the first line; and Colston's at the same distance in rear of the second. This disposition of the forces was subsequently modified, however, in consequence of the dense undergrowth, which rendered it almost impossible for the troops to move forward in extended line of battle, and Rodes only advanced in line, the two other divisions, with the artillery, moving in column along the road. The only artillery which was in front and ready for action at the opening of the engagement, was a section of the Stuart Horse Artillery, under Captain Breathed; and these pieces moved in front of Rodes, having been ordered by General Stuart to keep a few yards in rear of the skirmishers, which were thrown forward about four hundred yards in adVance.
If the reader has understood our verbal chart of the country, he will perceive that the enemy was now taken at a fatal disadvantage. The old turnpike ran straight into the flank and rear of the Federal right wing, and Jackson's design was to advance rapidly on the line of this road, extend his line of battle well to the left, and, swinging round with his left, cut off the enemy’s retreat to the fords of the Rappahannock, and capture them. This strange wilderness of impenetrable thickets and narrow roads presented almost insuperable obstacles to the success of such an undertaking; but such was the confidence of the Confederate commander in his veteran corps, trained to overcome all difficulties upon many battle fields, that he looked forward to victory as within his grasp.
The Federal lines extended across the old turnpike, close now to his front; behind these, below Melzi Chancellor's, they occupied strong earthworks, protecting the flank of their right wing; and on the ridge at Chancellorsville, their paulements were mounted with rifled artillery, ready to sweep the approaches from every quarter. General Hooker had been joined at this time by the 1st and 3d Corps of General Sedgwick's column, and had six army corps at Chancellorsville. The force of General Lee, in the absence of Longstreet, was about 35,000 men in all —and of these Jackson had taken 22,000 to make his attack upon the Federal right.” Jackson had moved so skilfully and silently that up to the moment of attack the enemy did not so much as suspect his presence. Immediately in front of him was Sigel's 11th Corps, commanded on this day by General Howard; and Fate decreed that this force should receive the last charge of Jackson. That charge was sudden, unlooked for, decisive. At fifteen minutes past five in the evening Jackson gave the order for his lines to advance and charge the enemy's works; and at the word the men rushed forward with tumultuous cheers, bearing straight down on the flank of the Federal right wing. The two guns of Breathed opened a rapid fire in front of the line—limbering up and advancing at a gallop to secure new positions as the infantry rushed on—and Rodes burst like a thunderbolt upon the unsuspicious troops of Howard, who ran from their suppers, which they were cooking, to seize their arms and endeavor to defend themselves. Rodes' men débouched at a double-quick from the woods, uttering loud cheers, and, attacking the enemy in front and flank, pressed on to their intrenchments and stormed them, capturing several hundred prisoners and five pieces of artillery. So sudden was this attack that scarcely any organized resistance was offered to the assault—the Federal forces flying in the wildest confusion, leaving the field strewed with their guns and knapsacks. In this attack the men of Colston's division bore a prominent