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federate ranks, or suspected that another attack was about to commence, and they directed upon the road over which the Southern forces were compelled to advance, the concentrated fire of their heaviest artillery. A storm of grape tore through the trees and along the road, mowing down the boughs, and striking fire from the stones of the turnpike; and for a moment the Southern line was checked and thrown into the utmost disorderBy this fire General Hill, General Pender, Colonel Crutchfield, Jackson's chief of artillery, and Major Rogers, of artillery, also of Jackson's staff, were wounded, and one of the men of the ambulance corps carrying the litter of the wounded General, was shot through both arms, and dropped his burden. His companion did likewise, hastily flying from the dangerous locality, and but for Captain Leigh, who caught the handle of the litter, it would have fallen to the ground. Lieutenant Smith had been leading his own and the General's horse, but the animals now broke away from him, in uncontrollable terror, and the tremendous fire scattered, the rest of the party in every direction for shelter. Under these circumstances the litter was lowered into the road, and the officers lay down by it to protect themselves in some degree from the merciless hurricane of grape and canister which whistled through the air, and “struck myriads of sparks from the flinty stone of the roadside.” Jackson raised himself upon his elbow and attempted to get up, but Lieutenant Smith threw his arm across the General's breast and compelled him to desist. They lay in this manner for some minutes without moving, and in the midst of the most terrific confusion. “So far as I could see into our lines,” says one of the party, “men and horses were struggling with a most terrible death.” A few minutes before, the road had been crowded, declares another, and now no man or beast was visible except those writhing in the agonies of death. The wounded soldier and his companions were the sole living human beings upon the gloomy scene. In a little while the fire of canister veered around to the opposite side; and although the enemy continued to direct a hot fire of shell down the road, Jackson rose to his feet, leaning upon Lieutenants Smith and Morrison, the latter having rejoined the party, and followed by Captain Leigh bearing the litter which he probably foresaw would soon again be needed, the General turned aside from the road which was again filling with infantry and artillery, and struck into the woods. Here he dragged himself along with painful difficulty, passing lines of infantry lying upon their faces. He was moving slowly through the tangled undergrowth by the roadside, when General Pender, who had been only slightly wounded, recognized Lieutenant Smith, and asked “who it was that was wounded.” Lieutenant Smith replied evasively, “A Confederate officer,” but as they came nearer in the moonlight, General Pender recognized his commander. “Ah! General,” he said, “I am sorry to see you have been wounded. The lines here are so much broken that I fear we will have to fall back.” Although greatly exhausted and almost fainting from his wound, Jackson exhibited at this moment the old martial fire of which nothing could deprive him. He raised his drooping head, and with a flash of the eye exclaimed: “You must hold your ground, General Pender You must hold your ground, sir!” This was the last order given by Jackson on the field. His strength was now completely exhausted, and he asked to be permitted to lie down upon the ground. But to this his escort would not consent. The fire of the enemy's artillery was still exceedingly hot, and as an advance of their infantry was momentarily expected, it was necessary to move on. The litter brought on by Captain Leigh was now again put in requisition; the fainting General was laid upon it; and some men having been procured to carry the litter, the whole party continued to move through the tangled wood in the direction of Melzi Chancellor's. So dense was the undergrowth, and the ground so difficult, that their progress was slow and painful. An accident which happened to one of the litter-bearers, was the occasion of more pain to the wounded man than the injuries which he had received from the bullets. One of the men caught his foot in a grapevine, stumbled, and let go the handle of the litter, which descended heavily to the ground. Jackson fell upon his left shoulder, where the bone had been shattered, and his agony must have been extreme. “For the first time,” says one of the party, “he groaned, and most piteously.” He was raised from the ground, and a beam of moonlight passing through the dense foliage overhead, revealed the countenance of the soldier, pale, exhausted, with closed eyes—his breast covered with blood, and rising and falling with his painful breathing. Those around him now feared that the great loss of blood had deprived him of his small remaining strength, and that his life was slowly ebbing away. What a death to die : All around him was the dense and tangled wood, only half illuminated by the struggling moonbeams—above him burst the shell of the enemy, exploding, says an officer, “like showers of falling stars; ” and when the firing lulled for a moment, they heard the melancholy cry of the whippoorwill, lost in the thicket. In this strange wilderness the man of Port Republic and Mamassas, who had led so many desperate charges, seemed about to close his eyes and die in the night, far from home and kindred, and watched over by a few friends only whom Providence had sent to his assistance. But such was not to be the termination of his career. When asked by one of the party whether he was much hurt, he opened his eyes, and said quietly, without further exhibition of pain: “No, my friend, don't trouble yourself about me.” The litter was then again raised upon the shoulders of the men, and the party continued their way. The ground now became still more difficult, and finding further progress through the wood utterly impracticable, they turned to the left, reached the road, and pressing into service new reliefs of bearers, made their way to a point on the road where a solitary ambulance was standing. In this ambulance Colonel Crutchfield and Major Rogers had been placed when wounded. Although badly
hurt, the latter insisted upon being taken out, to make room for the General, and Jackson was laid in his place. The General repeatedly asked for some spirits during his progress to the rear, and this was now obtained. It sensibly relieved him, and, reaching Melzi Chancellor's, he found Dr. McGuire, his chief surgeon. From Melzi Chancellor's he was taken to the hospital at Wilderness Run, at the intersection of the old turnpike and Germanna plank road, five miles west of Chancellorsville.”
THE decisive engagement which we have attempted to describe should properly be called the battle of the Wilderness, to distinguish it from the battle of Chancellorsville, which occurred on the next day. We have, nevertheless, acquiesced in the popular decision, which has given the latter name to the battles both of Saturday and Sunday; and now proceed briefly to sum up the exciting incidents which terminated the great struggle, before returning to the proper theme of these pages.
When Jackson and Hill were both wounded and forced to retire from the field, a member of General Hill's staff was despatched to summon General Stuart, who had gone with his cavalry to hold the road to Ely's ford. As soon as he arrived, the command of the corps, which had temporarily devolved upon General Rodes, was formally turned over to him by General IIill, who was still upon the field, and he proceeded to make instant preparations for a renewal of the attack. Ignorant in a great measure of the enemy's position, and summoned thus to take command in the darkness, General Stuart requested Major Pendleton to go to General Jackson and ask what his dispositions and plans were, as he “knew that what General Jackson had designed was the very best that could be done.” When this message was delivered to the wounded soldier at Wilderness Run, he replied: “Go back to General Stuart and tell him to act upon his own judgment, and do what he thinks best; I have implicit confidence in him.” " In consequence of the recent attack upon the Confederate right, and the confusion of the troops which had fired into each other several times, mistaking each other for the enemy, General Stuart decided not to hazard a night attack, and addressed himself energetically to the task of preparing for an assault upon the Federal position at dawn next day. Riding rapidly along the lines, he placed each in position, enjoined silence, and made every disposition for a move at daylight. A writer in one of the journals describes the picturesque appearance of the General as he thus moved rapidly to and fro, his drawn sabre gleaming in the moonlight, his words of good cheer inspiring the men of Jackson with new ardor for the obstinate struggle which was still before them. The corps was drawn up in three lines—Hill's division constituting the first, Colston's the second, and Rodes' the third. At dawn every preparation was made; the troops were eager for the encounter; and as the sun rose splendidly, driving away the mists which enveloped the wild landscape, General Stuart ordered his three lines to advance upon the enemy. The men bore steadily down upon the Federal position, which was not half a mile in front, and soon the forest echoed with the crash of musketry and artillery. With a quick eye General Stuart had seen that the ridge upon the right of his line was an admi
* The foregoing narrative is based upon minute and most interesting MS. statements from Captain R. E. Wilbourn and Lieutenant J. P. Smith, of the General's staff, and a letter of Captain B. W. Leigh, serving on General Hill's staff, which will be found in the Appendix to this volume. These details are now for the first time published.