The Campaign of Chancellorsville

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The Campaign of Chancellorsville

Table of contents :
I. Introduction 1
II. Condition of the Combatants .... 7
III. Hooker and the Army of the Potomac . . 12
IV. The Army of Northern Virginia ... 18
V. Difficulty of an Attack 23
VI. The proposed Cavalry Eaid .... 26
VII. The Feint by the Left Wing 29
VIII. The Real Move by the Right Wing ... 32
IX. Lee's Information and Movements ... 40
X. Hooker's Advance Friday ..... 44
XL Position at Chancellorsville .... 56
XII. Jackson's March and Sickles's Advance. . 62
XIIL Hooker's Theories and Chances .... 74
XIV. Position of the Eleventh Corps. ... 84
XV. Situation at Six O'clock 88
XVI. Jackson's Attack 92
XVII. Conduct of the Eleventh Corps . . . .100
XVIII. Hooker's Parry . . ... . . . 107
XIX. The Midnight Attack 113
XX. Stonewall Jackson 118
XXI. Position at Fairview 125
XXII. The Fight at Fairview 132
XXIII. The Left Centre 147
XXIV. The New Lines 151
XXV. Sunday's Miscarriage 154
V
Vi CONTENTS,
PAGE
XXVI. Sedgwick's Change of Orders .... 163
XXYII. Sedgwick's Assault 174
XXVIII. Sedgwick marches toward Hooker . . . 184
XXIX. Salem Church 18T
XXX. Sedgwick in Difficulty 192
XXXI. Sedgwick withdraws . . . . . . . 201
XXXII. Hooker's Criticisms 210
XXXIII. Hooker's Further Plans 225
XXXIV. The Army of the Potomac re-crosses . . 229
XXXV. Operations of the Cavalry Corps . . . 237
XXXVI. Hooker's Resume 253
XXXVII. Some Resulting Correspondence . . . .255

Citation preview

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a°T

THE CAMPAIGNi'Cfili^^ OP

CHANCELLOBSVILLE BY

THEODORE

A.

DODGE

VyiTED STATES ARMY

BOSTON

JAMES

R.

OSGOOD AND COMPANY 1881

Copyright,

By THEODORE

Stereotyped

1881,

A.

DODGE.

and Printed by Rand, Avery, &' Boston, Mass.

Co.

TO THE MEMBERS OF

THE MILITARY HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF MASSACHUSETTS,

OF WHOSE RESEARCHES INTO THE HISTORY OF OUR CIVIL

WAR THE FOLLOWING PAGES FORM BUT A MODEST PART,

Sfjt's

Uclutne

is, tottfj

Sincere l^egarti, ©elJicatel!

BY THE AUTHOR.

COE"TEE"TS.

PAGE I.

II.

Introduction Condition of the Combatants

1

....

Hooker and the Army of the Potomac The Army of Northern Virginia V. Difficulty of an Attack VI. The proposed Cavalry Eaid VII. The Feint by the Left Wing VIII. The Real Move by the Right Wing IX. Lee's Information and Movements X. Hooker's Advance Friday III.

.

...

IV.

7 .

18

23

....

26

... ...

XL

..... ....

Position at Chancellorsville

March and Sickles's Advance. XIIL Hooker's Theories and Chances XII. Jackson's

.... .

...

XIV. Position of the Eleventh Corps. XV. Situation at Six O'clock

29 32

40 44 56 62 74

84

88

XVI. Jackson's Attack

92

XVII. Conduct of the Eleventh Corps XVIII. Hooker's Parry

12

.

.

...

.

.

.

.100

.

.

XIX. The Midnight Attack XX. Stonewall Jackson XXI. Position at Fair view XXII. The Fight at Fairview

.

107

113 118 125

132

The Left Centre XXIV. The New Lines

XXIII.

147 151

XXV. Sunday's Miscarriage

154

V

CONTENTS,

Vi

PAGE

....

XXVI. Sedgwick's Change of Orders XXYII. Sedgwick's Assault XXVIII. Sedgwick marches toward Hooker XXIX. Salem Church

XXX. Sedgwick

163 174

.

.

184

.

18T

in Difficulty

XXXI. Sedgwick withdraws

.

192 .

.

.

XXXII. Hooker's Criticisms XXXIII. Hooker's Further Plans XXXIV. The Army of the Potomac re-crosses XXXV. Operations of the Cavalry Corps XXXVI. Hooker's Resume

XXXVII. Some Resulting Correspondence

.

.

.

.

201

210 225 .

229

.

237

.

.

.

.

.

.255

253

LIST OF MAPS.

1.

Situation of the Armies at 6 p.m. on Saturday,

2.

Situation at daylight on Sunday, ville,

May

3,

1863,

and about noon at fredericksburg.

3.

Situation at nightfall on Monday,

4.

Map

May

of a portion of Central Virginia.

4, 1863.

May

2,

1863.

at Chancelloss-

;

THE CAMPAIGN OE CHANCELLOESYILLE.

INTRODUCTION. the casual reader of the history of seem ITthemust war of 1861-65, that enough has already been to

And there

written upon the campaign of Chancellorsville. are

numerous

brilliant essays, in the histories

now

before

the public, which give a coup-d^oeil more or less accurate of this

ten-days'

passage of arms.

But none

of these

spread before the reader facts sufficiently detailed to trate the particular theory for the defeat of the

Army

advanced by each to account of the

The stigma besmirching the Corps, and of Howard,

its

illus-

Potomac on

this field.

character of the Eleventh

then commanding general, for a

panic and rout in but a small degree owing to them

;

the

unjust strictures passed upon Sedgwick for his failure to

execute a practically impossible order ble blunders into

;

the truly remarka-

which Gen. Hooker allowed himself

lapse, in endeavoring to explain

the disaster

;

away

to

his responsibility for

the bare fact, indeed, that the

Army

Potomac was here beaten by Lee, with one-half

its 1

of the force

THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLOBSVILLE.

2

and the very

partial publication, thus far, of the details

of the campaign, and the causes

— may

of our defeat,

make

stand as excuse for one more attempt to

plain

its

operations to the survivors of the one hundred and eighty

thousand men who there bore arms, and to the few who harbor some interest in the subject as mere history.

To

say that Gen. Hooker lapsed into blunders in ex-

plaining

his

share in this defeat,

words purposely tempered dier,

who, whatever

signal

service

;

to the

is

to use

memory

his shortcomings, has

a form of

of a gallant sol-

done

his country

and to avoid the imputation of baldly

throwing down the gauntlet of ungracious

criticism.

All

reference to Gen. Hooker's skill or conduct in this, one of the best conceived and most fatally

mismanaged

of the

many unsuccessful advances of the Army of the Potomac, is made with sincere appreciation of his many admirable qualities,

and untinged by

frankly,

bitterness.

must be remembered, that Gen. Hooker has on record as the author of many harsh his subordinates

;

and that

to

left

But

himself

upon

reflections

mete out even

it

justice to all

requires unvarnished truth.

The most

uncalled-for slur

upon the conduct

of his

lieutenants probably occurs in his testimony before the

Committee on the Conduct of the War. drawing from the south

side of the

Before with-

Rappahannock,

after

the decisive events of the battle-field had cooped up the

army between the

river

and

called together all his corps

its

intrenchments.

Hooker

commanders, and requested

their several opinions as to the advisability of attack or retreat.

Whatever discussion may have then been had,

it



INTRODUCTION.

after-days, that all but one

was generally understood, in

generals had expressed himself freely for an

of these

immediate advance. while denying

language "

So

3

In referring to this understanding,

correctness,

its

Hooker used the following

:

far as

my

experience extends, there are in

armies officers more valiant after the fight than while is

pending

and,

;

shall be written,

Potomac

is

when it

all it

a truthful history of the Rebellion

found that the

will be

Army

of the

not an exception."

Merely to characterize as ungenerous

upon the courage of such men

this

as then

aspersion

served under

And,

Hooker, savors of error on the side of leniency.

inasmuch as these words

strike, as it were, the

of all the statements which

keynote

Hooker has vouchsafed with

reference to these events, they might be assumed fairly to

open the door

to unsparing criticism.

that this course has been avoided is

dealt

;

But

it

is

hoped

and that what censure

out to Gen. Hooker in the succeeding pages

will be

accepted, even

spirit in

which

it is

the beloved old

by

his advocates, in the kindly

meant, and in which every soldier of

Army

of the

Potomac must uniformly

refer to every other.

There results

is,

moreover, no work on Chancellorsville which

from research into

The work

of Allan

all

records

now

accessible.

and Hotchkiss, of 1867, than which

nothing can be more even-handed, or more admirable as far as it goes, adopts generally the statements

reports of the Confederate generals sarily one-sided;

:

reports of general

made

in the

and these are necesofficers

concerning

THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLOBSVILLE.

4 their

own

Allan and Hotchkiss

operations invariably are.

wrote with

onl}^ the

Richmond records

before them, in

addition to such information from the Federal standpoint as

may

be found in general orders, the evidence given

before the Committee on the Conduct of the

newspaper correspondence.

At

that time

Federal reports were not to be had

War

Department were hardly

been duly made by

all

:

War, and

many

of the

such as were at the

accessible.

Reports had

superior officers engaged in and

surviving this campaign, excepting only the general

command; er refrain

from making a report, but he retained

personal possession

many

of the records of the

the Potomac covering the period of his it

is

in

but, strange to say, not only did Gen. Hookin his

Army

of

command, and

only since his death that these records have been in

part recovered by the Secretary of

War.

Some

are

still

missing, but they probably contain no important matter

not fully given elsewhere.

Although Hooker

Conduct of the to that office "

War

testified before the :

"

Committee on the

Without an exception

— the War Department — "all

I

forwarded the reports

and returns and information concerning the army, and furnished them promptly, and, as I think, as no other

army commander has done," ment played him

his

memory had

records were not disposed of as stated.

remarked, however, that Hooker leaning towards the

The

at the

mo-

traitor, for a considerable part of these

meum

is

It

should be

not singular in this

in the matter of records.

sources relied on for the facts herein given are the

reports of the officers engaged, both Federal and Confed-

INTBODUCTIOJSr. erate,

5

added to many private notes, memoranda, and maps,

made by them

the testimony before the Committee on the

;

Conduct of the War, which included Hooker's examination

;

and the maps made by the Engineer Department of

the United-States

This latter

Army, and

those of Capt. Hotchkiss.

was the topographical engineer of the

officer

Second Corps of the

Army of

Northern Virginia, and made

his surveys

by order of Gen. Lee immediately

campaign.

They

after the

are of the greatest assistance and value.

Eighteen years have elapsed since North and South crossed swords

seem that

all

upon

memorable

field

;

and

it

would

Americans can now contemplate with unruf-

fled heart the errors

mac was

this

under which " the

Army

of the Poto-

here beaten without ever being fought," as well

as boast with equal pride, not only of the

abundant cour-

age displayed by either side, but of the calm

skill

with

which Gen. Lee wrested victory from a situation desperately compromised, his lieutenants,

and of the genius of that greatest of

Thomas

Jackson,

J.

who

here sealed with

his blood his fidelity to the cause he loved so well. It

has been said that this campaign furnishes as

much

material for the psychological as for the military student.

And

certainly nothing less

than a careful analysis of

Hooker's character can explain the abnormal condition into

which

the

second act of this drama.

his

mental and physical energy sank during

He began

with really

masterly moves, speedily placing his wary adversary at the

saddest

height, his

disadvantage.

power seemed

tasked mind.

With

But, having attained

to pass

away

as from

this

an over-

twice the weif^ht of arm, and as keen

THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLOBSVILLE.

6

a blade, he appeared quite unable to parry a single lunge

of Lee's, quite unable to thrust himself. his

corps commanders

He

allowed

to be beaten in detail, with

no

apparent effort to aid them from his abundant resources,

man in And he

the while his opponent was demanding from every his

command

finally retired,

so ably

the last ounce of his strength.

dazed and weary, across the river he had

and boastingly placed behind him ten days

against the opinion of nearly all his subordinates this case the conditions

to do.

for in

were so plain that even an

formal council of war advised a

With

before, ;

in-

fight.

character-study, however, this sketch has nothing It is confined to describing events,

queries for the curious in military history.

and suggesting

II.

CONDITION OF THE COMBATANTS.

THE

first

two years

of civil strife

American people, which

so far

had

had shown more apt-

ness at learning than skill in waging war,

have passed through

The

closed.

may

be said to

The

apprenticeship in arms.

its

broad plan of operations, intelligently but rudely con-

among our commanders, began to be more clearly grasped. The political strategy of both contestants made Virginia the by the greater

ceived at the outset

field

on which the

while the right

left

wing

swung

spirits

of the Federal armies pivoted,

farther

and farther south and

and the Confederates gallantly struggled territor}^

east,

for every foot of

yielding only to the inexorable.

This right

wing had already possession of the Mississippi as

far

south as Yicksburg, around which place Grant was preparing to tighten his coils

;

it

had occupied the

line of the

Tennessee River, and had rendered useless to the Confederates the railroad

from Memphis

to Chattanooga,

which

had been the great central artery between Richmond and the trans-Mississippi States.

Morgan and Forrest period played, in the

as

The Southern

typical

West

chiefs,

partisans, with

had up

to

this

especially, a very important

;

8

THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLOBSVILLE.

part.

They

as they

and

try

as

much exceeded our

had advantage over from

in assistance

it

knowledge of the coun-

in

its

cavalry in enterprise

They had on

population.

more than one occasion tapped the too long and slender lines of operation of

our foremost armies.

Grant to the right-about from

his first

They had

sent

march on Vicks-

burg, thus neutralizing Sherman's attempt at Chickasaw

Bayou.

They had compelled Buell

earned footing, and to

fall

to forfeit his hardly-

back from the Tennessee River

Bragg

to Louisville at the double-quick in order to beat

in

the race towards the gate

of the Northern States,

which disaster was happily soon retrieved by the

letter's

bloody check before Murfreesborough.

Yet, despite these

back-sets, the general course of events

showed that Provi-

dence remaiued on the side of the heaviest battalions

and the spring of 1863 saw our armies extended from the pivot

midway between

irregular line, tains, to

the rival capitals in a more or less

and interrupted by the Alleghany Moun-

Vicksburg and the Father of Waters.

Great as was the importance of success in Virginia, the Confederates had appreciated the fact as had not the political soldiers at the

of war.

Our

head of the Federal department

resources always enabled us to keep more

men, and more and better material, on

this battle-ground,

but

this strength Avas

than the Confederates could do

;

constantly offset by the ability of the Southern generals,

and

their independence of action, as opposed to the fre-

quent unskilfulness of ours, who were not only never long in

command, but were then

tied

hand and

ideal plan for insuring the safety of

foot to

Washington.

some

The

CONDITION OF THE COMBATANTS, political conditions

mac had

so far constantly acted

do justice to Lincoln,

under which the

its

who

actually

his capital,

to

of the Poto-

had never allowed

numbers, mobility, or courage

and

and by

;

it

wliile

to

Mr.

assumed the powers of commander-

in-chief, technically intrusted to

was swayed

Army

9

fro

by

his

political

him by the Constitution,

own

fears for the safety of

schemes and military obtuse-

ness at his elbow.

Whether the tedious delays and deferred

success, occa-

sioned by these circumstances, were not eventually a benin that they enabled the country to bring forth in the

efit,

fulness of time the conditions leading to the extinguish-

ment

of slavery, which an earlier close of the

not have seen either

;

combatant of the value of the other, which a strug-

gle to the bitter

end alone could generate,

tion for the political student. in

war might

not to mention the better appreciation by

But

it

will



is

a ques-

always remain

doubt whether the practical exhaustion of the resources

of the South

war,

was not a condition precedent

— whether, in

ally reached

sooth, the "last ditch"

when Lee surrendered

at

to ending the

was not actu-

Appomattox.

Li the West, merit had by this time brought to the surface the generals

who

later led us to successful victories.

Their distance from the central controlling power resulted in their being let alone to

Opposed

to

work out

their

own

salvation.

them had been some excellent but not the

best of the Confederate leaders; while Virginia boasted the

elite

tains,

of the Southern troops, the strongest of the cap-

and the most daring of the

by the war.

lieutenants, developed

THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLOBSVILLE.

10

Since the Russian campaign of Bonaparte, no such vast

had been under arms.

forces

To command

these required

not only the divine military spark, but hardly-acquired

And

experience.

European army

the

mimic war which the elements of

always affords had been wanting to

life

educate our generals.

It is

not wonderful, then, that two

years of fruitless campaigning was needed to teach our

how

leaders

to utilize

on such

difficult

terrain material

equally vast in extent and uncouth in quality.

For, how-

ever apt the American to learn the trade of war,

— or any

other,



is

it

character

a moot-point whether his independence

Old Guard.

fied in Friedrich's regiments, or the

But front for

;

way

ability, native or acquired, forced its

to the

and the requisite experience was gradually gained,

the

taught.

of

compatible with the perfect soldier, as typi-

is

school was

Said Gen.

one where the trade was quickly

Meade on one

war must be acquired must learn

it

at the

rience in the field. care whether he

is

like

any

occasion, "

other.

The

art of

Either an officer

academy, or he must learn

it

Provided he has learned

by expe-

it,

I don't

a West-Pointer, or not."

In the East, then, the army had been led by McDowell, McClellan, Pope, and Bvirnside, to victory and defeat

The one experiment so far tried, of Array of the Potomac a leader from the West,

equally fruitless.

giving the

culminating in the disaster of the second Bull Run, was

not apt to be repeated within the year.

whom

the

had been gradually educating as

its

equal merit and modesty,

leader,

was

still

unpretentiously

Army

That of the

soldier of

Potomac

future and permanent

commanding

a corps,

and

;

CONDITION OF THE COMBATANTS. learning

by the successes and

And who

of his

failures

11 superiors.

say that the results accomplished by

shall

Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, and Meade, were not largely due to their

good fortune

thrust to the front?

in not being too early

"For," as says Swinton, "it was

inevitable that the first leaders should be sacrificed to the nation's ignorance of war."

In the South, the signs of exhaustion had not yet

become grave.

The

1862, had kept the ranks

full.

The hope

of

foreign

was by no means wholly

intervention, though distant,

abandoned.

passed in April,

conscription act,

Financial matters had not yet assumed an

entirely desperate complexion.

royalty of cotton received

its

Nor had the

belief in the

The vigor

coup de grace.

and courage of th^ Confederacy were unabated, and the unity of parties in the one object of resistance to invasion

doubled

its effective

strength.

the flood-tide of Southern

Perhaps

this

moment was

enthusiasm and confidence

which, after the Pennsylvania campaign, began to ebb. It is not intended to

prosperous. aright,

convey the idea that the South was

the contrary, those

saw and predicted

as far as its est

On

its

gressiveness of the North. its

it

was

at its high-

For the anti-war party was

best to tie the hands of the administration

to the front,

it

But,

the momentaril}^ lessened ag-

while this in no wise lessened the flow of rial

the signs

approaching decline.

power of resistance went,

when compared with

doing

who read

produced a grave

men and effect

;

and,

mate-

upon the

moral strength which our chiefs were able to infuse into their

method of conducting the war.

III.

HOOKER AND THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

THE

unfortunate course of events during the early

winter of 1862-63 had resulted in a grievous loss of morale

in

Army

the

Potomac.

of the

The

useless

Heights was, after a few weeks,

slaughter of Marye's

succeeded by that most huge of

all

Mud

retired from a position

March; and Gen. Burnside

strategic jokes, the

he had never sought, to the satisfaction, and, be

it

warm

all.

his credit,

with the

whom

ner,

personal regard, of

said to

Sum-

the weight of years had robbed of strength,

but not of gallantry, was relieved at his own request;

Hooker thus became

Franklin was shelved. eral officer,

No man

Army notice.

and succeeded

to the

senior gen-

command.

enjoyed a more enviable reputation in the

He had

of the Potomac.

From Bull Run,

after

forced himself upon

which action he

is

its

said to

have remarked to Mr. Lincoln that he knew more than

any one on that

field

gallantly held his

;

own

through Williamsburg, where he so against odds during the entire day,

and with exhausted ammunition, ney

;

before

Richmond

railroad-cutting 12

at

;

until relieved

by Kear-

during the Seven Days

Manassas

;

at

;

in the

Antietam, where he

HOOKER AND THE ABMY OF THE POTOMAC. forced the fighting with so

wisdom, on

the

much

Union right

determination,

up

;

13 not

if

Fredericksburg,

to

where, after a personal protest to his commanding

officer,

he went in and fought his troops " until he thought he



many men as he was ordered to lose," Hooker's character as man and soldier had been marked.

had

as

lost

His commands so far had been limited

and he had a

manly way of winning the hearts of

frank,

He was in

;

camp

in constant ;

his soldiers.

motion about the army while

appearance always attracted attention

his

it

and

;

he was as well known to almost every regiment as

own commander.

He was

Mr. Lincoln, or the Washing-

who were

his

military advisei's,

could not distinguish, in selecting a chief capable of leading the

its

a representative man.

It is not astonishing that

ton pseudo-strategists

lay

Army

of the

who should be

Potomac

to victory,

between the gallant corps-commander, who achieves

bril-

liant results

under limited responsibility, and the leader,

upon whose

sole resources of

mind and courage devolve

not only the instruction for health, equipment, rationing,

march, or attack, of each of his subordinates, but the graver weight of prompt and correct decision and immediate action

of a

under every one of the kaleidoscopic changes

campaign or a

battle-field.

It required

more knowl-

edge of the requisites of war, as well as a broader judg-

ment to

of character, than Mr. Lincoln

had had opportunity

form of the several soldiers of the army, to insure a

happy

choice.

And, doubtless. Hooker's

self-assertiven^ss, success as

a brigade, division, and corps commander, and decided

THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLOBSVILLE.

14

appearance of large

certain directions, or

shared equally in procuring

ability,

No one

his appointment.

up

will

deny Hooker's capacity

to a given test.

in

His whole career

shows an exceptional power in "riding to orders."

But

he sadly lacked that rare combination of qualities and reserve five

power necessary

thousand

men

to lead a

hundred and twenty-

against such a foe as Lee.

Nothing shows more curiously a weak spot

in Hooker's

character than the odd pride he took in Mr. Lincoln's

somewhat equivocal

him

letter to

appointment, here following

:

at

the time of his



Executive Mansion, Washington, D.C, Jan.

26, 1863.

Major-Gen. Hooker. General,

—I

the Potomac. to

me

know

Of

course, I have done this

that there are

some things

quite satisfied with you.

mix

I believe

you

politics

best for you to

it

in regard to

which of course I Uke.

which I

indispensable, quality.

You

which

;

is

during Gen. Burnside's

command

the

as to beheve

it,

;

but I think that

much

to the country

brother-officer.

as you

and to a

I have heard,

of your recently saying that both

army and the Government needed a

was not

You

not an

if

of the army, you have taken

you did a great wrong

most meritorious and honorable

way

skil-

are ambitious, which, within rea-

counsel of your ambition, and thwarted him as could, in which

not

you do not

a valuable,

sonable bounds, does good rather than harm

in such

and

to be a brave

I also believe

am

with your profession, in which you are right.

have confidence in yourself

of

upon what appears

and yet I think

to be sufficient reasons,

ful soldier,

Army

have placed you at the head of the

for this, but in spite of

it,

dictator.

Of

course,

it

that I have given you the

HOOKER command.

AJND

Only those generals who gain success can

What

dictators.

THE ABMY OF THE POTOMAC.

I

now ask

the utmost of

its

ability,

has done or will do for

which

all

neither

is

will support

more nor I

much

less

you

to

than

it

fear that the

into the army, of criticising

commander and withholding confidence from him,

their

turn upon you.

down.

will

I shall assist you as far as I can to put

Neither you nor Napoleon,

get any good out of an

And now beware

up

set

military success, and I

is

commanders.

you have aided to infuse

spu'it

now

of you

The Government

will risk the dictatorship.

15

if

it

he were alive again, could

army while such a

spirit prevails in

it.

Beware of rashness, but with

of rashness.

energy and sleepless vigilance go forward, and give us victories.

Yours very

truly,

A. Lincoln.

Hooker was appointed Jan.

1863

26,

;

and Burnside,

with a few earnest words, took leave of the army.

The troops received and confidence, which,

had

new

their

chief with a heartiness

since McClellan's re-instatement,

Hooker was

not been equalled.

to all the soul

embodiment of the growth and history of beaten

Army

power of and a

And

of the Potomac.

— organization, — were

he at once began to make,

for

The army was Politics

accepted with alacrity;

succeeded speedily to

defiant obedience.

in a lamentably

low

mingled with camp duties

of officers

the salutary changes

Hooker never lacked the

spirit of cheerful willingness

what had been almost a

and

this weather-

;

and men, coupled with an

dence in the ability of the

Army

state of efficiency.

and the

disaffection

entire lack of confi-

of the

accomplish any thing, were pronounced.

Potomac

to

Desertions oc-

THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLOBSVILLE.

16

curred at the rate of t\YO hundred a day, facilitated by relatives,

who

Hooker

at the front.

and

sent from

home

civilian clothing to soldiers

found 2,922

states that he

81,964 enlisted men, entered as absent

of the army, a Jarge

Sharp and

efficient

officers,

on the

rolls

proportion from causes unknown.

measures were at once adopted, which

speedily checked this alarming depletion of the ranks.

Furloughs in reasonable quantity were allowed to deserving

men and

a limited

found for the rank and sufficient to

number file

in

drill

and

fresh rations

and outpOst duty

The commissariat was

prevent idle habits.

closely watched,

Work was

of officers.

more frequently

which much improved' the health of the army.

issued,

The

sys-

tem of picket-duty was more thoroughly developed, and out as to impress

vigilantly carried

so

upon, as well as teach

The

now

importance

the troops.

its details to,

cavalry, hitherto distributed

out the army, was

its

by regiments through-

consolidated into one corps, and

time became a valuable element in the service,

from

this

for it

daily

grew

in efficiency.

And

such opportunities of

doing field-work as a body were afforded

it

as circum-

stances allowed.

The grand the

divisions of Burnside

army divided

The testimony Potomac concurs for the

manner

in

were abolished, and

into seven infantry corps. of all general officers of the in

Army

of the

awarding the highest praise to Hooker

which he improved the condition of the

troops during the three months he to Chancellorsville.

was

in

command

prior

Himself says before the Committee

on the Conduct of the

War

:

"

During the season of prepa-

..

HOOKER AND THE AEMY OF THE POTOMAC. ration the tion

army made rapid

and morale^ and early

:

strides in discipline, instruc-

in April

was

"

Under Hooker's

in a condition to

And

highest expectations."

the

inspire

sums up

influence the

Swinton well tone of the

army underwent a change which would appear ing had not

On

17

its elastic vitality

Army

the 30th of April the

astonish-

been so often proved." of the Potomac, ex-

clusive of provost-guard, consisted of about a

hundred

and thirty thousand men under the

for

colors,

equipped," according to the morning report,

among

the several

army corps f

1st Corps,

Gen. Reynolds

.

\

as follows

:



— " duty — distributed

Wads worth,

^

Robinson,

2d Corps, Gen. Couch

.

r

3d Corps, Gen. Sickles

.

.

16,908

i-

Doubleday, f Hancock, Gibbon, \ t French, t

J

16,893

[

Birney,

{ Berry, t

18,721

Whipple,

r Griffin,

5th Corps, Gen.

Meade

\

Humphreys,

15,724

j^

I Sykes, f \

6th Corps, Gen. Sedgwick

nth

Corps, Gen.

Howard

L

Howe, Newton,

C

Devens,

23,667

^ Schurz, i,

12th Corps, Gen. Slocum

Brooks,

j

12,977

Steinwehr,

Williams, } 13,450

.

I Geary, C

Cavalry Corps, Gen. Stoneman

.

Pleasonton,

11,541

{ ^^g^gii

t Buford, Reserve Brigade, Artillery, Gen. Hunt, about 400 guns. Artillery reserve .

Total

1,610

131,491

IV.

THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

WHILE

the

Army

Potomac lay about Fal-

of the

mouth, awaiting orders to move, Lee occupied the heights south of the Rappahannock, from Banks's Ford

above, to Port Royal (or Skenker's

Neck) below Fred-

ericksburg, a line some fifteen miles in length as the crow flies.

The

crests of the hills

on which lay the

Army

of

Northern Virginia were from three-quarters of a mile to a mile and a half back from, and substantially parallel to,

the river.

Rifle-pits

which, being few and tinuous lines of

commanded every difficult,

available crossing,

were easily guarded.

infantry parapets, broken

Con-

by battery

epaulements located for sweeping the wide approaches

from the

extended the whole distance

river,

;

while abattis

strengthened every place which the nature of the ground allowed an attacking column to pass.

The roads by which

the various detachments of the

army could intercommunicate

for concentration

upon any

given point were numerous and well kept up, and were familiar to all

commanding and

Lee's forces

staff officers.

numbered about

sixty thousand

duty, distributed in the following organizations. 18

men, for

As

the

.

THE ARMY OF NOBTHEBN VIRGINIA. brigades nearly equalled our divisions in

size,

19 they are

given by name. '

'

Mahone's brigade.

Anderson's

-^

«

Posey's

Wilcox's

division.

Perry's

Part of Longstreet's 1st

Corps

I

.

Wright's

>

Kershaw's J Semmes's Wofford's

17,000

'

McLaws' division.

i(

a

1

I Barksdale'.5" r

((

Heth's

V

Pender's '

A. P.

Hill's

Archer's

'

11,000

Mc Gown's

division.

Lane's . '

D. H. Hill's

Rodes's ,

Dole's

division.

Jackson's 2d Corps

.

Thomas's Ramseur's

.

(

^

9,000

>

6,000

-

7,400

«

Iverson's Colquitt's

11

Colston's

-

Jones's

Trimble's

I

division.

1

Nichols's t Paxton's C

Early's ^

J

division.

]

I

Stuart's Cavalry di-

vision

.

.

.

Artillery, 170 pieces

1

"i

Fitz

Hugh

W. H.

Gordon's Hays's Smith's



1,800



5,000

F. Lee's

900 •

.

58,100

Hotchkiss and Allan state that there three to five thousand

«

Hoke's

Lee's brigade

Total

Hooker's attack.

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