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274

DISEASE IN OTHER ARMIES.

•our entire forces of the Revolution, forty-seven per cent., were at one time unfit for duty. Of thirty thousand troops that composed the English Army under Wellington in 1809, six thousand were sick in the hospitals. In 1811, the Portugese Army, numbering forty-four thousand, had nine thousand on the sick list. The terrible sickness during the late Crimean struggle is fresh in the memory of every one. Thirty thousand Russian soldiers perished in a few weeks' time from camp diseases, and thirty-five per cent., if we mistake not, of the allied troops were prostrated with sickness when Florence Nightingale entered upon her mission of mercy. At the commencement of the war, the enemy calculated largely on Cholera, Yellow Jack, and other maladies, as allies in decimating our ranks; but the health of the troops thus far has been unparalleled in the history of modern warfare. This has been mainly due to the lavish amount of supplies—at least one third greater than those furnished to any European Army—and to the skillful management of the medical Department.

What is known as the Regimental fund comprises the proceeds from the sale of the excess rations furnished to the various Regiments. This sum amounts to several thousand dollars annually, thus indicating the liberality of government in the matter of food. The Medical Department characterized at the commencement of the war, by little order or efficiency, is now completely systematized and placed on a servicable footing. Immediately on the resump

DESTITUTION AMONG THE VIRGINIANS.

275

tion of active operations, the Surgeons are assigned to the duty for which they are best qualified; some to the care of the sick, others to the amputating table, and others to the field.

[graphic]

“Poor white trash.” The encampment was frequently visited during the winter by those stigmatized among the wealthier Virginians, as “poor white trash.” They generally came to crave “a little flour,” 6 a few potatoes,” anything to keep body and soul together. Deprived of their sons by a contest in which they took no interest, stripped of their little all by both parties, reduced to absolute penury, theirs was a hopeless lot

indeed.

276

APRIL DAYS.

CHAPTER XXIX.

Splendid Condition of the Army.-Gen. Hooker's Programme.-A

Forward Movement.-Battles of Chancellorsville and Vicinity. -Jackson turns Hooker's Right Wing.-Operations below Fredericksburg.-Strategy.-Address from the Commanding General. -The Washington Estate.-Crossing the Rappahannock.

WINTER had now passed, and the warm, genial days of April were fast drying up the roads, and rendering the resumption of operations practicable. Four months had rolled away since the bloody struggle under Burnside, during which the army had recuperated its energies, recovered its morale, and been reinforced by numerous accessions of troops. Believing, with Frederick the Great, that a soldier's pluck lies in his stomach, Gen. Hooker had added fresh bread, potatoes and other esculents to the already substantial bill of fare, thereby putting his men in the best of fighting trim; and they, in turn, had come to cherish a certain regard for and confidence in him, shouting like the Portuguese under Crawford, "Long live the General who takes care of our bellies.”

The army was ripe for offensive movements. The long weeks of inactivity had afforded the General commanding ample time for reviewing the situation, deciding upon a plan of attack, and completing the necessary preparations.

OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS RENEWED.

277

About the middle of the month marching orders were issued to the troops, but were immediately rescinded, owing to a furious storm which arose and prevailed for two days. The elements again becoming propitious, on Monday and Tuesday, April 27th and 28th, the various Army Corps left their snug winter quarters and moved towards the Rappahannock. The programme decided upon was this: while a portion of the army crossed below Fredericksburg, and diverted the attention of the enemy, the remainder were to proceed up the river, and turning their left wing, occupy a position directly in the rear of the rebel works. At the same time Gen. Stoneman, taking nearly the entire body of our cavalry, was to make his way down through the State by the Culpepper route, and circling round to the railroad, destroy the bridges over the North and South Anna rivers, less than twenty miles from Richmond.

After the seventy-five thousand men thrown in the rear had attacked and defeated the enemy, the fifty thousand at Fredericksburg were to press forward likewise, engage them, and cut off the way of retreat towards Richmond. This comprehensive and masterly plan—substantially the same as Gen. Burnside's last-must, if it had proven successful, have accomplished no less than its author intended, the total destruction of Gen. Lee's army; but, alas! Jackson had not then received his death wound.. .,

The Second Corps, Couch's; Fifth, Meade's ; Eleventh, Howard's; and Twelfth, Slocum's; marched to the upper fords of the Rappahannock,

278

THE RIGHT WING AT CHANCELLORSVILLE.

and meeting with but little opposition, most of the force moved forward, and by Thursday night were massed in the vicinity of Chancellorsville, after having travelled a distance of thirty-six miles. On Friday, Gen. Hooker, who accompanied this wing of the army, formed the troops in a line of battle, of a triangular or Redan shape, resting with its wings respectively on the Rappahannock, between Banks' and United States Fords and Hunting Creek—an affluent of the Rappahannock—and having its apex at Chancellorsville, in the rear of Fredericksburg. The events which followed we shall allude to briefly, reserving our main description for those operations in which the Thirty-third were concerned.

During the day reconnoitring forces were sent on the roads leading to Fredericksburg, to “feel” the enemy, and likewise learn the topography of the region. All night Friday, parties were engaged in felling trees, clearing away the tangled thickets, and constructing abatis. Saturday, Howard's Corps was posted on the extreme right; then a Division of Sickles' Corps (3), which had come up; then Slocum; then Couch; then Meade on the left; Humphrey's Division of Meade's Corps holding the extreme left. Several unsuccessful attempts were made by the enemy during the day to pierce the lines, but about four o'clock in the afternoon, Jackson suddenly hurled forty thousand men upon Howard's Corps, which fell back in confusion. The Second Division of the Third Corps was immediately wheeled around to the rescue, and succeeded in recovering some of the lost ground, but the right of

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