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Stonewall Jackson And The American Civil War by G. F. R. Henderson

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day such pre-eminence of slaughter that it has since been known by
the name of the "Bloody Lane." Here, inspired by the unyielding
courage of their leaders, fought the five brigades of D.H. Hill, with
B. H. Anderson's division and two of Walker's regiments; and here
Longstreet, confident as always, controlled the battle with his
accustomed skill. The Confederate artillery was by this time
overpowered, for on each battery in turn the enemy's heavy ordnance
had concentrated an overwhelming fire, and the infantry were
supported by no more than a dozen guns. The attack was strong, but
the sunken road, fortified by piles of fence-rails, remained
inviolable. Still the Confederate losses were enormous, and defeat
appeared a mere question of time; at one moment, the enemy under
French had actually seized the wood near the Dunkard Church, and was
only dispossessed by a desperate counterstroke. Richardson, who
advanced on French's right, and at an appreciable interval of time,
was even more successful than his colleague. The 'Bloody Lane,'
already piled with dead, and enfiladed from a height to the
north-west, was carried by a brilliant charge; and when the Roulette
Farm, a strong defensive post, was stormed, Longstreet fell back to
the turnpike through the wreck of the artillery. But at this critical
juncture the Federals halted. They had not been supported by their
batteries. Richardson had received a mortal wound, and a succession
of rough counterstrokes had thinned their ranks. Here, too, the
musketry dwindled to a spattering fire, and the opposing forces, both
reduced to the defensive, lay watching each other through the long
hours of the afternoon. A threat of a Federal advance from the
Sharpsburg Bridge came to nothing. Four batteries of regulars,
preceded by a force of infantry, pushed across the stream and came
into action on either side of the Boonsboro' road; but on the slopes
above, strongly protected by the walls, Evans' brigade stood fast;
Lee sent up a small support, and the enemy confined his movements to
a demonstration.

Still further to the south, however, the battle blazed out at one
o'clock with unexpected fury. The Federal attack, recoiling first
from Jackson and then from Longstreet, swung round to the Confederate
right; and it seemed as if McClellan's plan was to attempt each
section of Lee's line in succession. Burnside had been ordered to
force the passage of the bridge at nine o'clock, but either the
difficulty of the task, or his inexperience in handling troops on the
offensive, delayed his movements; and when the attack was made, it
was fiercely met by four Confederate brigades. At length, well on in
the afternoon, three Federal divisions crowned the spur, and, driving
Longstreet's right before them, made good their footing on the ridge.
Sharpsburg was below them; the Southern infantry, outflanked and
roughly handled, was falling back in confusion upon the town; and
although Lee had assembled a group of batteries in the centre, and
regiments were hurrying from the left, disaster seemed imminent. But
strong assistance was at hand. A.P. Hill, who had forded the Potomac
and crossed the Antietam by the lower bridge, after a forced march of
seventeen miles in eight hours from Harper's Ferry,* (* Hill received
his orders at 6.30 A.M. and marched an hour later, reaching the
battle-field about 3.30 P.M.) attacked without waiting for orders,
and struck the Federals in flank with 3000 bayonets. By this
brilliant counterstroke Burnside was repulsed and the position saved.

Northern writers have laid much stress on this attack. Had Burnside
displayed more, or A.P. Hill less, energy, the Confederates, they
assert, could hardly have escaped defeat. It is certainly true that
Longstreet's four brigades had been left to bear the brunt of
Burnside's assault without further support than could be rendered by
the artillery. They were not so left, however, because it was
impossible to aid them. Jackson's and Longstreet's troops, despite
the fiery ordeal through which they had passed, were not yet
powerless, and the Confederate leaders were prepared for offensive
tactics. A sufficient force to sustain the right might have been
withdrawn from the left and centre; but Hill's approach was known,
and it was considered inadvisable to abandon all hold of the means
for a decisive counterstroke on the opposite flank. Early in the
afternoon Longstreet had given orders for an advance. Hood's
division, with full cartridge-boxes, had reappeared upon the field.
Jones' and Lawton's divisions were close behind; the batteries had
replenished their ammunition, and if Longstreet was hardly warranted
in arranging a general counter-attack on his own responsibility, he
had at least full confidence in the ability of the troops to execute
it. "It seemed probable," he says, "that by concealing our movements
under cover of the (West) wood, we could draw our columns so near to
the enemy to the front that we would have but a few rods to march to
mingle our ranks with his; that our columns, massed in goodly
numbers, and pressing heavily upon a single point, would give the
enemy much trouble and might cut him in two, breaking up his battle
arrangements at Burnside Bridge."* (* From Manassas to Appomattox
pages 256, 257.)

The stroke against the centre was not, however, to be tried. Lee had
other views, and Jackson had been already ordered to turn the Federal
right. Stuart, reinforced by a regiment of infantry and several light
batteries, was instructed to reconnoitre the enemy's position, and if
favourable ground were found, he was to be supported by all the
infantry available. "About half-past twelve," says General Walker, "I
sought Jackson to report that from the front of my position in the
wood I thought I had observed a movement of the enemy, as if to pass
through the gap where I had posted Colonel Cooke's two regiments. I
found Jackson in rear of Barksdale's brigade, under an apple tree,
sitting on his horse, with one leg thrown carelessly over the pommel
of his saddle, plucking and eating the fruit. Without making any
reply to my report, he asked me abruptly: "Can you spare me a
regiment and a battery?"...Adding that he wished to make up, from the
different commands on our left, a force of four or five thousand men,
and give them to Stuart, with orders to turn the enemy's right and
attack him in the rear; that I must give orders to my division to
advance to the front, and attack the enemy as soon as I should hear
Stuart's guns, and that our whole left wing would move to the attack
at the same time. Then, replacing his foot in the stirrup, he said
with great emphasis, "We'll drive McClellan into the Potomac."

"Returning to my command, I repeated General Jackson's order to my
brigade commanders and directed them to listen to the sound of
Stuart's guns. We all confidently expected to hear the welcome sound
by two o'clock at least, and as that hour approached every ear was on
the alert. Napoleon at Waterloo did not listen more intently for the
sound of Grouchy's fire than did we for Stuart's. Two o'clock came,
but nothing was heard of Stuart. Half-past two, and then three, and
still Stuart made no sign.

"About half-past three a staff officer of General Longstreet's
brought me an order to advance and attack the enemy in my front. As
the execution of this order would have materially interfered with
Jackson's plans, I thought it my duty before beginning the movement
to communicate with General Longstreet personally. I found him in
rear of the position in which I had posted Cooke in the morning, and
upon informing him of Jackson's intentions, he withdrew his order.

"While we were discussing this subject, Jackson himself joined us
with the information of Stuart's failure to turn the Federal right,
for the reason that he found it securely posted on the Potomac. Upon
my expressing surprise at this statement, Jackson replied that he
also had been surprised, as he had supposed the Potomac much further
away; but he remarked that Stuart had an excellent eye for
topography, and it must be as he represented. "It is a great pity,"
he added; "we should have driven McClellan into the Potomac""* (*
Battles and Leaders. volume 2 pages 679 and 680.)

That a counterstroke which would have combined a frontal and flank
attack would have been the best chance of destroying the Federal army
can hardly be questioned. The front so bristled with field artillery,
and the ridge beyond the Antietam was so strong in heavier ordnance,
that a purely frontal attack, such as Longstreet suggested, was
hardly promising; but the dispositions which baffled Stuart were the
work of a sound tactician. Thirty rifled guns had been assembled in a
single battery a mile north of the West Wood, where the Hagerstown
turnpike ascends a commanding ridge, and the broad channel of the
Potomac is within nine hundred yards. Here had rallied such portions
of Hooker's army corps as had not dispersed, and here Mansfield's two
divisions had reformed; and although the infantry could hardly have
opposed a resolute resistance the guns were ready to repeat the
lesson of Malvern Hill. Against the rifled pieces the light
Confederate smooth-bores were practically useless. Stuart's caution
was fully justified, and the sun sank on an indecisive battle.

"The blessed night came, and brought with it sleep and forgetfulness
and refreshment to many; but the murmur of the night wind, breathing
over fields of wheat and clover, was mingled with the groans of the
countless sufferers of both armies. Who can tell, who can even
imagine, the horrors of such a night, while the unconscious stars
shone above, and the unconscious river went rippling by?"* (* General
Palfrey. The Antietam and Fredericksburg.) Out of 130,000 men upon
the ground, 21,000 had been killed or wounded, more than sixteen per
cent.; and 25,000 of the Federals can hardly be said to have been

The losses of the Confederate left have already been enumerated.
Those of the centre and the right, although A.P. Hill reported only
350 casualties, had hardly been less severe. In all 9,500 officers
and men, one-fourth of the total strength, had fallen, and many of
the regiments had almost disappeared.* (* "One does not look for
humour in a stern story like this, but the Charleston Courier account
of the battle contains the following statement: 'They [the
Confederates] fought until they were cut to pieces, and then
retreated only because they had fired their last round!'" General
Palfrey, The Antietam and Fredericksburg.) The 17th Virginia, for
instance, of Longstreet's command, took into battle 9 officers and 46
men; of these 7 officers and 24 men were killed or wounded, and 10
taken prisoners, leaving 2 officers and 12 men to represent a
regiment which was over 1000 strong at Bull Run. Yet as the men sank
down to rest on the line of battle, so exhausted that they could not
be awakened to eat their rations; as the blood cooled and the tension
on the nerves relaxed, and even the officers, faint with hunger and
sickened with the awful slaughter, looked forward with apprehension
to the morrow, from one indomitable heart the hope of victory had not
yet vanished. In the deep silence of the night, more oppressive than
the stunning roar of battle, Lee, still mounted, stood on the
highroad to the Potomac, and as general after general rode in wearily
from the front, he asked quietly of each, "How is it on your part of
the line?" Each told the same tale: their men were worn out; the
enemy's numbers were overwhelming; there was nothing left but to
retreat across the Potomac before daylight. Even Jackson had no other
counsel to offer. His report was not the less impressive for his
quiet and respectful tone. He had had to contend, he said, against
the heaviest odds he had ever met. Many of his divisional and brigade
commanders were dead or wounded, and his loss had been severe. Hood,
who came next, was quite unmanned. He exclaimed that he had no men
left. "Great God!" cried Lee, with an excitement he had not yet
displayed, "where is the splendid division you had this morning?"
"They are lying on the field, where you sent them," was the reply,
"for few have straggled. My division has been almost wiped out."

After all had given their opinion, there was an appalling silence,
which seemed to last for several minutes, and then General Lee,
rising erect in his stirrups, said, "Gentlemen, we will not cross the
Potomac to-night. You will go to your respective commands, strengthen
your lines; send two officers from each brigade towards the ford to
collect your stragglers and get them up. Many have come in. I have
had the proper steps taken to collect all the men who are in the
rear. If McClellan wants to fight in the morning, I will give him
battle again. Go!" Without a word of remonstrance the group broke up,
leaving their great commander alone with his responsibility, and,
says an eyewitness, "if I read their faces aright, there was not one
but considered that General Lee was taking a fearful risk."* (*
Communicated by General Stephen P. Lee, who was present at the
conference.) So the soldiers' sleep was undisturbed. Through the
September night they lay beside their arms, and from the dark spaces
beyond came the groans of the wounded and the nameless odours of the
battle-field. Not often has the night looked down upon a scene more
terrible. The moon, rising above the mountains, revealed the long
lines of men and guns, stretching far across hill and valley, waiting
for the dawn to shoot each other down, and between the armies their
dead lay in such numbers as civilised war has seldom seen. So fearful
had been the carnage, and comprised within such narrow limits, that a
Federal patrol, it is related, passing into the corn-field, where the
fighting had been fiercest, believed that they had surprised a whole
Confederate brigade. There, in the shadow of the woods, lay the
skirmishers, their muskets beside them, and there, in regular ranks,
lay the line of battle, sleeping, as it seemed, the profound sleep of
utter exhaustion. But the first man that was touched was cold and
lifeless, and the next, and the next; it was the bivouac of the dead.

September 18.

When the day dawned the Confederate divisions, reinforced by some
5000 or 6000 stragglers, held the same position as the previous
evening, and over against them, seen dimly through the mist, lay the
Federal lines. The skirmishers, crouching behind the shattered
fences, confronted each other at short range; the guns of both armies
were unlimbered, and the masses of infantry, further to the rear, lay
ready for instant conflict. But not a shot was fired. The sun rose
higher in the heavens; the warm breath of the autumn morning rustled
in the woods, but still the same strange silence prevailed. The men
spoke in undertones, watching intently the movements of staff
officers and orderlies; but the ranks lay as still as the inanimate
forms, half hidden by the trodden corn, which lay so thickly between
the lines; and as the hours passed on without stir or shot, the
Southern generals acknowledged that Lee's daring in offering battle
was fully justified. The enemy's aggressive strength was evidently
exhausted; and then arose the question, Could the Confederates
attack? It would seem that the possibility of a great counterstroke
had already been the subject of debate, and that Lee, despite the
failure of the previous evening, and Jackson's adverse report,
believed that the Federal right might be outflanked and overwhelmed.
"During the morning," writes General Stephen D. Lee, "a courier from
headquarters came to my battalion of artillery with a message that
the Commander-in-Chief wished to see me. I followed the courier, and
on meeting General Lee, he said, "Colonel Lee, I wish you to go with
this courier to General Jackson, and say that I sent you to report to
him." I replied, "General, shall I take my batteries with me?" He
said, "No, just say that I told you to report to him, and he will
tell you what he wants." I soon reached General Jackson. He was
dismounted, with but few persons round him. He said to me, "Colonel
Lee, I wish you to take a ride with me," and we rode to the left of
our lines with but one courier, I think. We soon reached a
considerable hill and dismounted. General Jackson then said, "Let us
go up this hill, and be careful not to expose yourself, for the
Federal sharpshooters are not far off." The hill bore evidence of
fierce fight the day before.* (* Evidently the ridge which had been
held by Stuart on the 17th.) A battery of artillery had been on it,
and there were wrecked caissons, broken wheels, dead bodies, and dead
horses around. General Jackson said: "Colonel, I wish you to take
your glasses and carefully examine the Federal line of battle." I did
so, and saw a remarkably strong line of battle, with more troops than
I knew General Lee had. After locating the different batteries,
unlimbered and ready for action, and noting the strong skirmish line,
in front of the dense masses of infantry, I said to him, "General,
that is a very strong position, and there is a large force there." He
said, "Yes. I wish you to take fifty pieces of artillery and crush
that force, which is the Federal right. Can you do it?" I can
scarcely describe my feelings as I again took my glasses, and made an
even more careful examination. I at once saw such an attempt must
fail. More than fifty guns were unlimbered and ready for action,
strongly supported by dense lines of infantry and strong skirmish
lines, advantageously posted. The ground was unfavourable for the
location of artillery on the Confederate side, for, to be effective,
the guns would have to move up close to the Federal lines, and that,
too, under fire of both infantry and artillery. I could not bring
myself to say all that I felt and knew. I said, "Yes, General; where
will I get the fifty guns?" He said, "How many have you?" I replied,
"About twelve out of the thirty I carried into the action the day
before." (My losses had been very great in men, horses, and
carriages.) He said, "I can furnish you some, and General Lee says he
can furnish some." I replied, "Shall I go for the guns?" "No, not
yet," he replied. "Colonel Lee, can you crush the Federal right with
fifty guns?" I said, "General, I can try. I can do it if anyone can."
He replied, "That is not what I asked you, sir. If I give you fifty
guns, can you crush the Federal right?" I evaded the question again
and again, but he pressed it home. Finally I said, "General, you seem
to be more intent upon my giving you my technical opinion as an
artillery officer, than upon my going after the guns and making the
attempt." "Yes, sir," he replied, "and I want your positive opinion,
yes or no." I felt that a great crisis was upon me, and I could not
evade it. I again took my glasses and made another examination. I
waited a good while, with Jackson watching me intently.

"I said, "General, it cannot be done with fifty guns and the troops
you have near here." In an instant he said, "Let us ride back,
Colonel." I felt that I had positively shown a lack of nerve, and
with considerable emotion begged that I might be allowed to make the
attempt, saying, "General, you forced me to say what I did
unwillingly. If you give the fifty guns to any other artillery
officer, I am ruined for life. I promise you I will fight the guns to
the last extremity, if you will only let me command them." Jackson
was quiet, seemed sorry for me, and said, "It is all right, Colonel.
Everybody knows you are a brave officer and would fight the guns
well," or words to that effect. We soon reached the spot from which
we started. He said, "Colonel, go to General Lee, and tell him what
has occurred since you reported to me. Describe our ride to the hill,
your examination of the Federal position, and my conversation about
your crushing the Federal right with fifty guns, and my forcing you
to give your opinion."

"With feelings such as I never had before, nor ever expect to have
again, I returned to General Lee, and gave a detailed account of my
visit to General Jackson, closing with the account of my being forced
to give my opinion as to the possibility of success. I saw a shade
come over General Lee's face, and he said, "Colonel, go and join your

"For many years I never fully understood my mission that day, or why
I was sent to General Jackson. When Jackson's report was published of
the battle, I saw that he stated, that on the afternoon of September
17, General Lee had ordered him to move to the left with a view of
turning the Federal right, but that he found the enemy's numerous
artillery so judiciously posted in their front, and so near the
river, as to render such an attempt too hazardous to undertake. I
afterwards saw General J.E.B. Stuart's report, in which he says that
it was determined, the enemy not attacking, to turn the enemy's right
on the 18th. It appears General Lee ordered General Jackson, on the
evening of the 17th, to turn the enemy's right, and Jackson said that
it could not be done. It also appears from Stuart's report, and from
the incident I relate, that General Lee reiterated the order on the
18th, and told Jackson to take fifty guns, and crush the Federal
right. Jackson having reported against such attempt on the 17th, no
doubt said that if an artillerist, in whom General Lee had
confidence, would say the Federal right could be crushed with fifty
guns, he would make the attempt.

"I now have the satisfaction of knowing that the opinion which I was
forced to give on September 18 had already been given by Jackson on
the evening of September 17, and that the same opinion was reiterated
by him on September 18, and confirmed by General J. E. B. Stuart on
the same day. I still believe that Jackson, Stuart, and myself were
right, and that the attempt to turn the Federal right either on the
17th or on the 18th would have been unwise.

"The incident shows General Lee's decision and boldness in battle,
and General Jackson's delicate loyalty to his commanding general, in
convincing him of the inadvisability of a proposed movement, which he
felt it would be hazardous to undertake."* (* Communicated to the
author. The difficulties in the way of the attack, of which Jackson
was aware on the night of the 17th, probably led to his advising
retreat when Lee asked his opinion at the conference (ante pages 259,
The Federal left, protected by the Antietam, was practically
inaccessible; and on receiving from the artillery officers' lips the
confirmation of Jackson's report, Lee was fain to relinquish all hope
of breaking McClellan's line. The troops, however, remained in line
of battle; but during the day information came in which made retreat
imperative. The Federals were being reinforced. Humphrey's division,
hitherto held back at Frederick by orders from Washington, had
marched over South Mountain; Couch's division, which McClellan had
left to observe Harper's Ferry, had been called in; and a large force
of militia was assembling on the Pennsylvania border. Before evening,
therefore, Lee determined to evacuate his position, and during the
night the Army of Northern Virginia, with all its trains and
artillery, recrossed the Potomac at Boteler's Ford.

Such was the respect which the hard fighting of the Confederates had
imposed upon the enemy, that although the rumbling of heavy vehicles,
and the tramp of the long columns, were so distinctly audible in the
Federal lines that they seemed to wakeful ears like the steady flow
of a river, not the slightest attempt was made to interfere. It was
not till the morning of the 19th that a Federal battalion,
reconnoitring towards Sharpsburg, found the ridge and the town
deserted; and although Jackson, who was one of the last, except the
cavalry scouts, to cross the river, did not reach the Virginia shore
till eight o'clock, not a shot was fired at him.

Nor were the trophies gathered by the Federals considerable. Several
hundred badly wounded men were found in Sharpsburg, and a number of
stragglers were picked up, but neither gun nor waggon had been left
upon the field. The retreat, despite many obstacles, was as
successfully as skilfully executed. The night was very dark, and a
fine rain, which had set in towards evening, soon turned the heavy
soil into tenacious mud; the ford was wide and beset with boulders,
and the only approach was a narrow lane. But the energetic
quartermaster of the Valley army, Major Harman, made light of all
difficulties, and under the immediate supervision of Lee and Jackson,
the crossing was effected without loss or misadventure.

September 19.

Just before nightfall, however, under cover of a heavy artillery
fire, the Federals pushed a force of infantry across the ford, drove
back the two brigades, which, with thirty pieces of artillery, formed
the Confederate rear-guard, and captured four guns. Emboldened by
this partial success, McClellan ordered Porter to put three brigades
of the Fifth Army Corps across the river the next morning, and
reconnoitre towards Winchester.

The news of the disaster to his rear-guard was long in reaching Lee's
headquarters. His army had not yet recovered from the confusion and
fatigue of the retreat. The bivouacs of the divisions were several
miles from the river, and were widely scattered. The generals were
ignorant of each other's dispositions. No arrangements had been made
to support the rear-guard in case of emergency. The greater part of
the cavalry had been sent off to Williamsport, fifteen miles up
stream, with instructions to cross the Potomac and delay the enemy's
advance by demonstration. The brigadiers had no orders; many of the
superior generals had not told their subordinates where they would be
found; and the commander of the rear-guard, General Pendleton, had
not been informed of the strength of the infantry placed at his
disposal. On the part of the staff, worn out by the toils and
anxieties of the past few days, there appears to have been a general
failure; and had McClellan, calculating on the chances invariably
offered by an enforced retreat, pushed resolutely forward in strong
force, success might possibly have followed.

September 20.

Lee, on receiving Pendleton's report, long after midnight, sent off
orders for Jackson to drive the enemy back. When the messenger
arrived, Jackson had already ridden to the front. He, too, had
received news of the capture of the guns; and ordering A.P. Hill and
Early,* (* Commanding Ewell's division, vice Lawton, wounded at
Sharpsburg.) who were in camp near Martinsburg, to march at once to
Shepherdstown, he had gone forward to reconnoitre the enemy's
movements. When Lee's courier found him he was on the Shepherdstown
road, awaiting the arrival of his divisions, and watching, unattended
by a single aide-de-camp, the advance of Porter's infantry. He had at
once grasped the situation. The Confederates were in no condition to
resist an attack in force. The army was not concentrated. The cavalry
was absent. No reconnaissance had been made either of lines of march
or of positions. The roads were still blocked by the trains. The men
were exhausted by their late exertions, and depressed by their
retreat, and the straggling was terrible. The only chance of safety
lay in driving back the enemy's advanced guard across the river
before it could be reinforced; and the chance was seized without an
instant's hesitation.

The Federals advanced leisurely, for the cavalry which should have
led the way had received its orders too late to reach the rendezvous
at the appointed hour, and the infantry, compelled to reconnoitre for
itself, made slow progress. Porter's leading brigade was consequently
not more than a mile and a half from the river when the Light
Division reported to Jackson. Hill was ordered to form his troops in
two lines, and with Early in close support to move at once to the
attack. The Federals, confronted by a large force, and with no
further object than to ascertain the whereabouts of the Confederate
army, made no attempt to hold their ground. Their left and centre,
composed mainly of regulars, withdrew in good order. The right,
hampered by broken country, was slow to move; and Hill's soldiers,
who had done much at Sharpsburg with but little loss, were confident
of victory. The Federal artillery beyond the river included many of
their heavy batteries, and when the long lines of the Southerners
appeared in the open, they were met by a storm of shells. But without
a check, even to close the gaps in the ranks, or to give time to the
batteries to reply to the enemy's fire, the Light Division pressed
forward to the charge. The conflict was short. The Northern regulars
had already passed the ford, and only a brigade of volunteers was
left on the southern bank. Bringing up his reserve regiment, the
Federal general made a vain effort to prolong his front. Hill
answered by calling up a brigade from his second line; and then,
outnumbered and outflanked, the enemy was driven down the bluffs and
across the river. The losses in this affair were comparatively small.
The Federals reported 340 killed and wounded, and of these a raw
regiment, armed with condemned Enfield rifles, accounted for no less
than 240. Hill's casualties were 271. Yet the engagement was not
without importance. Jackson's quick action and resolute advance
convinced the enemy that the Confederates were still dangerous; and
McClellan, disturbed by Stuart's threat against his rear, abandoned
all idea of crossing the Potomac in pursuit of Lee.

The losses at Sharpsburg may be here recorded.

The Stonewall Brigade, 250 strong 88
Taliaferro's Brigade 178
Starke's Brigade 287
Jones' Brigade 152
700 (38 p.c.)

Lawton's Brigade, 1,150 strong 567
Early's Brigade, 1,200 strong 194
Trimble's Brigade, 700 strong 237
Hays' Brigade, 550 strong 336
1,334 (47 p.c.)

Branch's Brigade 104
Gregg's Brigade 165
Archer's Brigade 105
Pender's Brigade 30
Field's Brigade (not engaged) --
Thomas' Brigade (at Harper's Ferry) --
Artillery (Estimated) 50
Total 2,488 (209 officers)

Rodes' Brigade 203
Garland's Brigade (estimated) 300
Anderson's Brigade 302
Ripley's Brigade (estimated) 300
Colquitt's Brigade (estimated) 300

Kershaw's Brigade 355
Cobb's Brigade 156
Semmes' Brigade 314*
Barksdale's Brigade 294

(* Semmes' four regiments, engaged in Jackson's counterstroke,
reported the following percentage of loss. 53rd Georgia, 30 per
cent.; 32nd Virginia, 45 per cent.; 10th Georgia, 57 per cent.; 15th
Virginia, 58 per cent.)

Toombs' Brigade (estimated) 125
Drayton's Brigade (estimated) 400
Anderson's Brigade 87
Garnett's Brigade 99
Jenkins' Brigade 210
Kemper's Brigade (estimated) 120

Walker's Brigade 825
Ransom's Brigade 187

Laws' Brigade 454
Hood's Brigade 548
Evans' Brigade, 250 strong 200

Featherston's Brigade 304
Mahone's Brigade 76
Pryor's Brigade 182
Armistead's Brigade 35
Wright's Brigade 203
Wilcox' Brigade 221

Colonel S.D. Lee's Battalion 85
Washington Artillery 34
Cavalry, etc. etc. (estimated) 143
Grand total 9,550

First Corps--Hooker 2,590
Second Corps--Sumner 5,138
Fifth Corps--Porter 109
Sixth Corps--Franklin 439
Ninth Corps--Burnside 2,349
Twelfth Corps--Mansfield 1,746
Cavalry Division, etc. 39
(2,108 killed) 12,410*
(* For the losses in various great battles, see Note at end of

With Porter's repulse the summer campaign of 1862 was closed. Begun
on the Chickahominy, within thirty miles of Richmond, it ended on the
Potomac, within seventy miles of Washington; and six months of
continuous fighting had brought both belligerents to the last stage
of exhaustion. Falling apart like two great battleships of the older

The smoke of battle drifting slow a-lee.

hulls rent by roundshot, and scuppers awash with blood, but with the
colours still flying over shattered spars and tangled shrouds, the
armies drew off from the tremendous struggle. Neither Confederates
nor Federals were capable of further effort. Lee, gathering in his
stragglers, left Stuart to cover his front, and fell back towards
Winchester. McClellan was content with seizing the Maryland Heights
at Harper's Ferry, and except the cavalry patrols, not a single
Federal soldier was sent across the river.

The organisation was absolutely imperative. The Army of the Potomac
was in no condition to undertake the invasion of Virginia. Not only
had the losses in battle been very large, but the supply train,
hurriedly got together after Pope's defeat, had broken down; in every
arm there was great deficiency of horses; the troops, especially
those who had been engaged in the Peninsula, were half-clad and badly
shod; and, above all, the army was very far from sharing McClellan's
conviction that Sharpsburg was a brilliant victory. The men in the
ranks were not so easily deceived as their commander. McClellan,
relying on a return drawn up by General Banks, now in command at
Washington, estimated the Confederate army at 97,000 men, and his
official reports made frequent mention of Lee's overwhelming
strength.* (* Mr. Lincoln had long before this recognised the
tendency of McClellan and others to exaggerate the enemy's strength.
As a deputation from New England was one day leaving the White House,
a delegate turned round and said: "Mr. President, I should much like
to know what you reckon to be the number the rebels have in arms
against us." Without a moment's hesitation Mr. Lincoln replied: "Sir,
I have the best possible reason for knowing the number to be one
million of men, for whenever one of our generals engages a rebel army
he reports that he has encountered a force twice his strength. Now I
know we have half a million soldiers, so I am bound to believe that
the rebels have twice that number.")

The soldiers knew better. They had been close enough to the enemy's
lines to learn for themselves how thin was the force which manned
them. They were perfectly well aware that they had been held in check
by inferior numbers, and that the battle on the Antietam, tactically
speaking, was no more of a victory for the North than Malvern Hill
had been for the South. From dawn to dark on September 18 they had
seen the tattered colours and bright bayonets of the Confederates
still covering the Sharpsburg ridge; they had seen the grey line,
immovable and defiant, in undisputed possession of the battle-ground,
while their own guns were silent and their own generals reluctant to
renew the fight. Both the Government and the people expected
McClellan to complete his success by attacking Lee in Virginia. The
Confederates, it was said--and men based their opinions on
McClellan's reports--had been heavily defeated, not only at Antietam,
but also at South Mountain; and although the Army of the Potomac
might be unfit for protracted operations, the condition of the enemy
must necessarily be far worse.

Such arguments, however, were entirely inapplicable to the situation.
The Confederates had not been defeated at all, either at South
Mountain or Sharpsburg; and although they had eventually abandoned
their positions they had suffered less than their opponents. The
retreat, however, across the Potomac had undoubtedly shaken their
morale. "In a military point of view," wrote Lee to Davis on
September 25, "the best move, in my opinion, the army could make
would be to advance upon Hagerstown and endeavour to defeat the enemy
at that point. I would not hesitate to make it even with our
diminished numbers did the army exhibit its former temper and
condition, but, as far as I am able to judge, the hazard would be
great and reverse disastrous."* (* O.R. volume 19 part 2 page 627.)
But McClellan was not more cheerful. "The army," he said on the 27th,
"is not now in a condition to undertake another campaign nor to bring
on another battle, unless great advantages are offered by some
mistake of the enemy, or pressing military exigencies render it
necessary." So far from thinking of pursuit, he thought only of the
defence of the Potomac, apprehending a renewed attempt to enter
Maryland, and by no means over-confident that the two army corps
which he had at last sent to Harper's Ferry would be able to maintain
their position if attacked.* (* O.R. volume 19 part 1 page 70.) Nor
were the soldiers more eager than their commander to cross swords
with their formidable enemy. "It would be useless," says General G.H.
Gordon, who now commanded a Federal division, "to deny that at this
period there was a despondent feeling in the army," and the Special
Correspondents of the New York newspapers, the 'World' and 'Tribune,'
confirm the truth of this statement. But the clearest evidence as to
the condition of the troops is furnished in the numerous reports
which deal with straggling. The vice had reached a pitch which is
almost inconceivable. Thousands and tens of thousands, Federals as
well as Confederates, were absent from their commands.

"The States of the North," wrote McClellan, "are flooded with
deserters and absentees. One corps of this army has 18,000 men
present and 15,000 absent; of this 15,000, 8,000 probably are at work
at home."* (* Ibid part 2 page 365.) On September 28, General Meade,
who had succeeded to the command of Hooker's corps, reported that
over 8000 men, including 250 officers, had quitted the ranks either
before or during the battle of Antietam; adding that "this terrible
and serious evil seems to pervade the whole body."* (* Ibid page
348.) The Confederates, although the privations of the troops during
the forced marches, their indifferent equipment, and the deficiencies
of the commissariat were contributory causes, had almost as much
reason to complain. It is said that in the vicinity of Leesburg alone
over 10,000 men were living on the citizens. Jackson's own division,
which took into action 1600 effectives on September 17 and lost 700,
had 3900 present for duty on September 30; Lawton's division rose
from 2500 to 4450 during the same period; and the returns show that
the strength of Longstreet's and Jackson's corps was only 87, 992 on
September 22, but 52,019 on October 1.* (* O.R. volume 19 part 2
pages 621, 639.) It is thus evident that in eight days the army was
increased by more than 14,000 men, yet only a few conscripts had been
enrolled. Lee's official reports and correspondence allude in the
strongest terms to the indiscipline of his army. "The absent," he
wrote on September 23, "are scattered broadcast over the land;" and
in the dispatches of his subordinates are to be found many references
to the vagrant tendencies of their commands.* (* General orders,
September 4; Lee to Davis, September 7; Lee to Davis, September 13;
special orders, September 21; circular order, September 22; Lee to
Davis, September 23; Lee to Secretary of War, September 23; Lee to
Pendleton, September 24; Lee to Davis, September 24; Lee to Davis,
September 28; Lee to Davis October 2; O.R. volume 19 part 2. See also
Report of D.H. Hill, O.R. volume 19 part 1 page l026. Stuart to
Secretary of War, October 13. On September 21, Jackson's
adjutant-general wrote, "We should have gained a victory and routed
them, had it not been for the straggling. We were twenty-five
thousand short by this cause." Memoirs of W.N. Pendleton, D.D. page
217. It is but fair to say that on September 13 there was a camp of
900 barefooted men at Winchester, and "a great many more with the
army." Lee to Quarter-Master General, O.R. volume 19 part 2 page
614.) A strong provost guard was established at Winchester for the
purpose of collecting stragglers. Parties of cavalry were sent out to
protect the farms from pillage, and to bring in the marauders as
prisoners. The most stringent regulations were issued as to the
preservation of order on the march, the security of private property,
and the proper performance of their duties by regimental and
commissariat officers. On September 23, General Jones reported from
Winchester that the country was full of stragglers, that be had
already sent back 5000 or 6000, and that the numbers of officers
amongst them was astonishing.* (*3 O.R. volume 19 part 2 page 629.)
The most earnest representations were made to the President,
suggesting trial of the offenders by drumhead court-martial, and
ordinary police duties became the engrossing occupation of every
general officer.

It can hardly be said, then, that the Confederates had drawn much
profit from the invasion of Maryland. The capture of Harper's Ferry
made but small amends for the retreat into Virginia; and the stubborn
endurance of Sharpsburg, however remarkable in the annals of war, had
served no useful purpose beyond crippling for the time being the
Federal army. The battle must be classed with Aspern and Talavera;
Lee's soldiers saved their honour, but no more. The facts were not to
be disguised. The Confederates had missed their mark. Only a few
hundred recruits had been raised in Maryland, and there had been no
popular outbreak against the Union Government. The Union army had
escaped defeat; Lincoln had been able to announce to the Northern
people that Lee's victorious career had at length been checked; and
12,000 veteran soldiers, the flower of the Southern army, had fallen
in battle. Had General Longstreet's advice been taken, and the troops
withdrawn across the Potomac after the fall of Harper's Ferry, this
enormous loss, which the Confederacy could so ill afford, would
certainly have been avoided. Yet Lee was not ill-satisfied with the
results of the campaign, nor did Jackson doubt the wisdom of
accepting battle on the Antietam.

The hazard was great, but the stake was greater. To achieve decisive
success in war some risk must be run. "It is impossible," says
Moltke, "to forecast the result of a pitched battle;" but this is no
reason that pitched battles, if there is a fair prospect of success,
should be shirked. And in the Sharpsburg campaign the Confederates
had undoubtedly fair prospects of success. If the lost order had not
fallen into McClellan's hands, Lee in all probability would have had
ample time to select his battlefield and concentrate his army; there
would have been no need of forced marches, and consequently much less
straggling. Both Lee and Jackson counted on the caution of their
opponent. Both were surprised by the unwonted vigour be displayed,
especially at South Mountain and in the march to Sharpsburg. Such
resolution in action, they were aware, was foreign to his nature. "I
cannot understand this move of McClellan's," was Jackson's remark,
when it was reported that the Federal general had boldly advanced
against the strong position on South Mountain. But neither Lee nor
Jackson was aware that McClellan had exact information of their
dispositions, and that the carelessness of a Confederate staff
officer had done more for the Union than all the Northern scouts and
spies in Maryland. Jackson had been disposed to leave a larger margin
for accidents than his commander. He would have left Harper's Ferry
alone, and have fought the Federals in the mountains;* (* Dabney
volume 2 page 302.) and he was probably right, for in the Gettysburg
campaign of the following year, when Lee again crossed the Potomac,
Harper's Ferry was ignored, although occupied by a strong garrison,
and neither in advance nor retreat were the Confederate
communications troubled. But as to the wisdom of giving battle on the
Antietam, after the fall of Harper's Ferry, there was no divergence
of opinion between Lee and his lieutenant. They had no reason to
respect the Union army as a weapon of offence, and very great reason
to believe that McClellan was incapable of wielding it. Their
anticipations were well founded. The Federal attack was badly
designed and badly executed. If it be compared with the German attack
at Worth, the defects of McClellan, the defects of his subordinates,
the want of sound training throughout the whole army, become at once
apparent. On August 6, 1870, there was certainly, early in the day,
much disjointed fighting, due in great part to the difficulties of
the country, the absence of the Crown Prince, and the anxiety of the
generals to render each other loyal support. But when once the
Commander-in-Chief appeared upon the field, and, assuming direction
of the battle, infused harmony into the operations, the strength and
unity of the attack could hardly have been surpassed. Almost at the
same moment 30,000 men were launched against McMahon's front, 25,000
against his right, and 10,000 against his left. Every battalion
within sound of the cannon participated in the forward movement; and
numerous batteries, crossing the stream which corresponds with the
Antietam, supported the infantry at the closest range. No general
hesitated to act on his own responsibility. Everywhere there was
co-operation, between infantry and artillery, between division and
division, between army corps and army corps; and such co-operation,
due to a sound system of command, is the characteristic mark of a
well-trained army and a wise leader. At Sharpsburg, on the other
hand, there was no combination whatever, and even the army corps
commanders dared not act without specific orders. There was nothing
like the close concert and the aggressive energy which had carried
the Southerners to victory at Gaines' Mill and the Second Manassas.
The principle of mutual support was utterly ignored. The army corps
attacked in succession and not simultaneously, and in succession they
were defeated. McClellan fought three separate battles, from dawn to
10 A.M. against Lee's left; from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. against his
centre; from 1 to 4 P.M. against his right. The subordinate generals,
although, with a few exceptions, they handled their commands
skilfully, showed no initiative, and waited for orders instead of
improving the opportunity. Only two-thirds of the army was engaged;
25,000 men hardly fired a shot, and from first to last there was not
the slightest attempt at co-operation. McClellan was made aware by
his signallers on the Red Hill of every movement that took place in
his opponent's lines, and yet he was unable to take advantage of
Lee's weakness. He had still to grasp the elementary rule that the
combination of superior numbers and of all arms against a single
point is necessary to win battles.

The Northern infantry, indeed, had not fought like troops who own
their opponents as the better men. Rather had they displayed an
elasticity of spirit unsuspected by their enemies; and the
Confederate soldiers, who knew with what fierce courage the attack
had been sustained, looked on the battle of Sharpsburg as the most
splendid of their achievements. No small share of the glory fell to
Jackson. Since the victory of Cedar Run, his fame, somewhat obscured
by Frayser's Farm and Malvern Hill, had increased by leaps and
bounds, and the defence of the West Wood was classed with the march
to Manassas Junction, the three days' battle about Groveton, and the
swift seizure of Harper's Ferry. On October 2, Lee proposed to the
President that the Army of Northern Virginia should be organised in
two army corps, for the command of which he recommended Longstreet
and Jackson. "My opinion," wrote Lee, "of General Jackson has been
greatly enhanced during this expedition. He is true, honest, and
brave; has a single eye to the good of the service, and spares no
exertion to accomplish his object."* (* O.R. volume 19 part 2 page
643.) On October 11, Jackson received his promotion as
Lieutenant-General, and was appointed to the Second Army Corps,
consisting at that date of his own division, the Light Division,
Ewell's, and D.H. Hill's, together with Colonel Brown's battalion of
artillery; a force of 1917 officers, 25,000 men, and 126 guns.

Jackson does not appear to have been unduly elated by his promotion,
for two days after his appointment he wrote to his wife that there
was no position in the world equal to that of a minister of the
Gospel, and his letter was principally concerned with the lessons he
had learned from the sermon of the previous Sunday.* (* About this
time he made a successful appearance in a new role. In September,
General Bradley T. Johnson was told off to accompany Colonel Garnet
Wolseley, the Hon. Francis Lawley, Special Correspondent to the
Times, and Mr. Vizetelly, Special Correspondent of the Illustrated
London News, round the Confederate camps. "By order of General Lee,"
he says, "I introduced the party to General Jackson. We were all
seated in front of General Jackson's tent, and he took up the
conversation. He had been to England, and had been greatly impressed
with the architecture of Durham Cathedral and with the history of the
bishopric. The Bishops had been Palatines from the date of the
Conquest, and exercised semi-royal authority over their bishopric.

"There is a fair history of the Palatinate of Durham in Blackstone
and Coke, but I can hardly think that General Jackson derived his
information from those two fountains of the law. Anyhow, he
cross-examined the Englishmen in detail about the cathedral and the
close and the rights of the bishops, etc. etc. He gave them no chance
to talk, and kept them busy answering questions, for he knew more
about Durham than they did.

"As we rode away, I said: "Gentlemen, you have disclosed Jackson in a
new character to me, and I've been carefully observing him for a year
and a half. You have made him exhibit finesse, for he did all the
talking to keep you from asking too curious or embarrassing
questions. I never saw anything like it in him before.* We all
laughed, and agreed that the General had been too much for the
interviewers." (* Memoirs pages 580 and 581.)

The soldiers of the Second Army Corps, however, did not allow him to
forget his greatness. In their bivouacs by the clear waters of the
Opequon, with abundance of supplies and with ample leisure for
recuperation, the troops rapidly regained their strength and spirit.
The reaction found vent in the most extravagant gaiety. No
circumstance that promised entertainment was permitted to pass
without attention, and the jest started at the expense of some
unfortunate wight, conspicuous for peculiarity of dress or demeanour,
was taken up by a hundred voices. None were spared. A trim staff
officer was horrified at the irreverent reception of his nicely
twisted moustache, as he heard from behind innumerable trees: "Take
them mice out o' your mouth! take 'em out--no use to say they ain't
there, see their tails hanging out!" Another, sporting immense
whiskers, was urged "to come out o' that bunch of hair! I know you're
in there! I see your ears a-working!" So the soldiers chaffed the
dandies, and the camp rang with laughter; fun and frolic were always
in the air, and the fierce fighters of Sharpsburg behaved like
schoolboys on a holiday. But when the general rode by the men
remembered the victories they had won and to whom they owed them, the
hardships they had endured, and who had shared them; and the
appearance of 'Little Sorrel' was the sure precursor of a scene of
the wildest enthusiasm. The horse soon learned what the cheers
implied, and directly they began he would break into a gallop, as if
to carry his rider as quickly as possible through the embarrassing
ordeal. But the soldiers were not to be deterred by their commander's
modesty, and whenever he was compelled to pass through the bivouacs
the same tribute was so invariably offered that the sound of a
distant cheer, rolling down the lines of the Second Army Corps,
always evoked the exclamation: "Boys, look out! here comes old
Stonewall or an old hare!" "These being the only individuals," writes
one of Jackson's soldiers, "who never failed to bring down the whole

Nothing could express more clearly the loyalty of the soldiers to
their general than this quaint estimate of his popularity. The
Anglo-Saxon is averse to the unrestrained display of personal
affection; and when his natural reluctance is overborne by
irrepressible emotion, he attempts to hide it by a jest. So Jackson's
veterans laughed at his peculiarities, at his dingy uniform, his
battered cap, his respect for clergymen, his punctilious courtesy,
and his blushes. They delighted in the phrase, when a distant yell
was heard, "Here's "Old Jack" or a rabbit!" They delighted more in
his confusion when he galloped through the shouting camp. "Here he
comes," they said, "we'll make him take his hat off." They invented
strange fables of which he was the hero. "Stonewall died," ran one of
the most popular, "and two angels came down from heaven to take him
back with them. They went to his tent. He was not there. They went to
the hospital. He was not there. They went to the outposts. He was not
there. They went to the prayer-meeting. He was not there. So they had
to return without him; but when they reported that he had
disappeared, they found that he had made a flank march and reached
heaven before them." Another was to the effect that whereas Moses
took forty years to get the children of Israel through the
wilderness, ""Old Jack" would have double-quicked them through in
three days on half rations!"

But, nevertheless, beneath this affectation of hilarity lay a deep
and passionate devotion; and two incidents which occurred at this
time show the extent of this feeling, and at least one reason for its
existence. "On October 8th," writes Major Heros von Borcke,
adjutant-general of the cavalry division, "I was honoured with the
pleasing mission of presenting to Stonewall, as a slight token of
Stuart's high regard, a new uniform coat, which had just arrived from
the hands of a Richmond tailor. Starting at once, I reached the
simple tent of our great general just in time for dinner. I found him
in his old weather-stained coat, from which all the buttons had been
clipped by the fair hands of patriotic ladies, and which, from
exposure to sun, rain, and powder-smoke, and by reason of many rents
and patches, was in a very unseemly condition. When I had dispatched
more important matters, I produced General Stuart's present in all
its magnificence of gilt buttons and sheeny facings and gold lace,
and I was heartily amused at the modest confusion with which the hero
of many battles regarded the fine uniform, scarcely daring to touch
it, and at the quiet way in which at last he folded it up carefully
and deposited it in his portmanteau, saying to me, "Give Stuart my
best thanks, Major; the coat is much too handsome for me, but I shall
take the best care of it, and shall prize it highly as a souvenir.
And now let us have some dinner." But I protested emphatically
against the summary disposition of the matter of the coat, deeming my
mission indeed but half executed, and remarked that Stuart would
certainly ask how the coat fitted, and that I should take it as a
personal favour if he would put it on. To this with a smile he
readily assented, and having donned the garment, he escorted me
outside the tent to the table where dinner had been served in the
open air. The whole of the staff were in a perfect ecstasy at their
chief's brilliant appearance, and the old negro servant, who was
bearing the roast turkey to the board, stopped in mid career with a
most bewildered expression, and gazed in such wonderment at his
master as if he had been transfigured before him. Meanwhile, the
rumour of the change ran like electricity through the neighbouring
camps, the soldiers came running by hundreds to the spot, desirous of
seeing their beloved Stonewall in his new attire; and the first
wearing of a new robe by Louis XIV, at whose morning toilette all the
world was accustomed to assemble, never created half the excitement
at Versailles that was roused in the woods of Virginia by the
investment of Jackson in the new regulation uniform."* (* Memoirs of
the Confederate War volume 1.)

The second incident is less amusing, but was not less appreciated by
the rank and file. Riding one morning near Front Royal, accompanied
by his staff, Jackson was stopped by a countrywoman, with a chubby
child on either side, who inquired anxiously for her son Johnnie,
serving, she said, "in Captain Jackson's company." The general, with
the deferential courtesy he never laid aside, introduced himself as
her son's commanding officer, but begged for further information as
to his regiment. The good dame, however, whose interest in the war
centred on one individual, appeared astonished that Captain Jackson
"did not know her particular Johnnie," and repeated her inquiries
with such tearful emphasis that the young staff officers began to
smile. Unfortunately for themselves, Jackson heard a titter, and
turning on them with a scathing rebuke for their want of manners, he
sent them off in different directions to discover Johnnie, giving
them no rest until mother and son were brought together.

But if the soldiers loved Jackson for his simplicity, and respected
him for his honesty, beyond and above was the sense of his strength
and power, of his indomitable will, of the inflexibility of his
justice, and of the unmeasured resources of his vigorous intellect.
It is curious even after the long lapse of years to hear his veterans
speak of their commander. Laughter mingles with tears; each has some
droll anecdote to relate, each some instance of thoughtful sympathy
or kindly deed; but it is still plain to be seen how they feared his
displeasure, how hard they found his discipline, how conscious they
were of their own mental inferiority. The mighty phantom of their
lost leader still dominates their thoughts; just as in the battles of
the Confederacy his earthly presentment dominated the will of the
Second Army Corps. In the campaign which had driven the invaders from
Virginia, and carried the Confederate colours to within sight of
Washington, his men had found their master. They had forgotten how to
criticise. His generals had learned to trust him. Success and
adulation had not indeed made him more expansive. He was as reticent
as ever, and his troops--the foot-cavalry as they were now
called--were still marched to and fro without knowing why or whither.
But men and officers, instead of grumbling when they were roused at
untimely hours, or when their marches were prolonged, without
apparent necessity, obeyed with alacrity, and amused themselves by
wondering what new surprise the general was preparing. "Where are you
going?" they were asked as they were turned out for an unexpected
march: "We don't know, but Old Jack does," was the laughing reply.
And they had learned something of his methods. They had discovered
the value of time, of activity, of mystery, of resolution. They
discussed his stratagems, gradually evolving, for they were by no
means apparent at the time, the object and aim of his manoeuvres; and
the stirring verses, sung round every camp-fire, show that the
soldiers not only grasped his principles of warfare, but that they
knew right well to whom their victories were to be attributed.


Come, stack arms, men, pile on the rails;
Stir up the camp-fires bright;
No matter if the canteen fails,
We'll make a roaring night.
Here Shenandoah brawls along,
There lofty Blue Ridge echoes strong,
To swell the Brigade's roaring song
Of Stonewall Jackson's way.

We see him now--the old slouched has,
Cocked o'er his eye askew;
The shrewd dry smile--the speech so pat,
So calm, so blunt, so true.
The "Blue-Light Elder" knows them well:
Says he, "That's Banks--he's fond of shell;
Lord save his soul! we'll give him ----" well,
That's Stonewall Jackson's way.

Silence! ground arms! kneel all! caps off!
Old Blue-Light's going to pray;
Strangle the fool that dares to scoff!
Attention! it's his way!
Appealing from his native sod,
In forma pauperis to God,
"Lay bare thine arm-stretch forth thy rod,
Amen!" That's Stonewall's way.

He's in the saddle now! Fall in,
Steady, the whole Brigade!
Hill's at the Ford, cut off!--we'll win
His way out, ball and blade.
What matter if our shoes are worn?
What matter if our feet are torn?
Quick step! we're with him before morn!
That's Stonewall Jackson's way.

The sun's bright lances rout the mists
Of morning--and, by George!
There's Longstreet struggling in the lists,
Hemmed in an ugly gorge.
Pope and his columns whipped before--
"Bayonets and grape!" hear Stonewall roar,
"Charge, Stuart! pay off Ashby's score!"
That's Stonewall Jackson's way.

Ah! maiden, wait and watch and yearn
For news of Stonewall's band;
Ah! widow, read with eyes that burn
The ring upon thy hand.
Ah! wife, sew on, pray on, hope on
Thy life shall not be all forlorn;
The foe had better ne'er been born
That gets in Stonewall's way.


Jackson's Strength and Losses, August-September 1882.
Strength at Cedar Run, August 9:
Winder's (Jackson's own) Division (estimate) 3,000
Ewell's Division.* 5,350
(* Report of July 31, O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 965.)
Lawton's Brigade*2 2,200
(*2 Report of August 20, O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 966.
Not engaged at Cedar Run.)
A.P. Hill's (the Light) Division*3 12,000
(*3 Report of July 20, O.R. volume 11 part 3 page 645. (3 1/2
regiments had been added.)
Robertson's Cavalry Brigade*4 (estimate) 1,200
(*4 Four regiments.)
Losses at Cedar Run:
Winder's Division 718
Ewell's Division 195
The Light Division 381
Cavalry, etc. 20 1,314
Losses on the Rappahannock, August 20 to 24 100
Losses at Bristoe Station and Manassas Junction,
August 26, 27 300
Losses at Groveton, August 28:
Stonewall Division (estimate) 441
Ewell's Division 759 1,200
Stragglers and sick (estimate) 1,200
Cavalry transferred to Stuart 1,200 4,000
Strength at Second Manassas, August 29 and 30 18,436

Taliaferro's Division 416
Ewell's Division 364
The Light Division 1,507 2,387
Loss at Chantilly, September 1 500
Should have marched into Maryland 15,549

Strength at Sharpsburg:
Jones' Division 2,000
Ewell's Division 4,000
The Light Division 5,000
(1 Brigade left at Harper's Ferry) 800 11,800*
Loss at Harper's Ferry 62
Losses at Sharpsburg:
Jones' Division 700
Ewell's Division 1,334
The Light Division 404 2,438
Strength on September 19 9,300
(* 3866 sick and straggling since August 28 = 21 per cent.)

The Report of September 22, O.R. volume 14 part 2 page 621, gives

Jackson's own Division 2,558
Ewell's Division 8,290
The Light Division 4,777
(* Over 1300 stragglers had rejoined.)


While the Army of Northern Virginia was resting in the Valley,
McClellan was preparing for a winter campaign. He was unable,
however, to keep pace with the impatience of the Northern people. Not
only was he determined to postpone all movement until his army was
properly equipped, his ranks recruited, his cavalry remounted, and
his administrative services reorganised, but the military authorities
at Washington were very slow in meeting his demands. Notwithstanding,
then, the orders of the President, the remonstrances of Halleck, and
the clamour of the press, for more than five weeks after the battle
of Sharpsburg he remained inactive on the Potomac. It may be that in
the interests of the army he was perfectly right in resisting the
pressure brought to bear upon him. He was certainly the best judge of
the temper of his troops, and could estimate more exactly than either
Lincoln or Halleck the chances of success if he were to encounter
Lee's veterans on their native soil. However this may be, his
inaction was not in accordance with the demands of the political
situation. The President, immediately the Confederates retired from
Maryland, had taken a step which changed the character of the war.
Hitherto the Northerners had fought for the restoration of the Union
on the basis of the Constitution, as interpreted by themselves. Now,
after eighteen months of conflict, the Constitution was deliberately
violated. For the clause which forbade all interference with the
domestic institutions of the several States, a declaration that
slavery should no longer exist within the boundaries of the Republic
was substituted, and the armies of the Union were called upon to
fight for the freedom of the negro.

In the condition of political parties this measure Was daring. It was
not approved by the Democrats, and many of the soldiers were
Democrats; or by those--and they were not a few--who believed that
compromise was the surest means of restoring peace; or by those--and
they were numerous--who thought the dissolution of the Union a
smaller evil than the continuance of the war. The opposition was very
strong, and there was but one means of reconciling it--vigorous
action on the part of the army, the immediate invasion of Virginia,
and a decisive victory. Delay would expose the framers of the measure
to the imputation of having promised more than they could perform, of
wantonly tampering with the Constitution, and of widening the breach
between North and South beyond all hope of healing.

In consequence, therefore, of McClellan's refusal to move forward,
the friction between the Federal Government and their
general-in-chief, which, so long as Lee remained in Maryland, had
been allayed, once more asserted its baneful influence; and the
aggressive attitude of the Confederates did not serve to make matters
smoother. Although the greater part of October was for the Army of
Northern Virginia a period of unusual leisure, the troops were not
altogether idle. As soon as the stragglers had been brought in, and
the ranks of the divisions once more presented a respectable
appearance, various enterprises were undertaken. The Second Army
Corps was entrusted with the destruction of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railway, a duty carried out by Jackson with characteristic
thoroughness. The line from Harper's Ferry to Winchester, as well as
that from Manassas Junction to Strasburg, were also torn up; and the
spoils of the late campaign were sent south to Richmond and Staunton.
These preparations for defensive warfare were not, however, so
immediately embarrassing to the enemy as the action of the cavalry.
Stuart's three brigades, after the affair at Boteler's Ford, picketed
the line of the Potomac from the North Mountain to the Shenandoah, a
distance of forty miles: Hampton's brigade at Hedgesville, Fitzhugh
Lee's at Shepherdstown, Munford's at Charlestown, and headquarters
near Leetown.

On October 8 General Lee, suspecting that McClellan was meditating
some movement, ordered the cavalry to cross the Potomac and

October 9.

Selecting 600 men from each of his brigades, with General Hampton,
Colonels W. H. F. Lee and W. E. Jones in command, and accompanied by
four horse-artillery guns, Stuart rendezvoused on the night of the
9th at Darkesville. As the day dawned he crossed the Potomac at
McCoy's Ford, drove in the Federal pickets, and broke up a signal
station near Fairview.

October 10.

Marching due north, he reached Mercersburg at noon, and Chambersburg,
forty-six miles from Darkesville, at 7 P.M. on October 10.
Chambersburg, although a Federal supply depot of some importance, was
without a garrison, and here 275 sick and wounded were paroled, 500
horses requisitioned, the wires cut, and the railroad obstructed;
while the machine shops, several trains of loaded cars, and a large
quantity of small arms, ammunition, and clothing was destroyed.

October 11.

At nine the next morning the force marched in the direction of
Gettysburg, moving round the Federal rear.

October 12.

Then, crossing the mountains, it turned south through Emmittsburg,
passed the Monocacy near Frederick, and after a march of ninety miles
since leaving Chambersburg reached Hyattstown at daylight on the
12th. Here, on the road which formed McClellan's line of
communication with Washington, a few waggons were captured, and
information came to hand that 4000 or 5000 Federal troops were near
Poolesville, guarding the fords across the Potomac. Moving at a trot
through the woods, the column, leaving Poolesville two or three miles
to the left, made for the mouth of the Monocacy. About a mile and a
half from that river an advanced guard of hostile cavalry, moving
eastward, was encountered and driven in. Colonel Lee's men were
dismounted, a gun was brought into action, and under cover of this
screen, posted on a high crest, the main body made a dash for White's
Ford. The point of passage, although guarded by about 100 Federal
riflemen, was quickly seized, and Stuart's whole force, together with
the captured horses, had completed the crossing before the enemy,
advancing in large force from the Monocacy, was in a position to

This brilliantly conducted expedition was as fruitful of results as
the ride round McClellan's army in the previous June. The information
obtained was most important. Lee, besides being furnished with a
sufficiently full report of the Federal dispositions, learned that no
part of McClellan's army had been detached to Washington, but that it
was being reinforced from that quarter, and that therefore no
over-sea expedition against Richmond was to be apprehended. Several
hundred fine horses from the farms of Pennsylvania furnished
excellent remounts for the Confederate troopers. Prominent officials
were brought in as hostages for the safety of the Virginia citizens
who had been thrown into Northern prisons. Only a few scouts were
captured by the enemy, and not a man was killed. The distance marched
by Stuart, from Darkesville to White's Ford, was one hundred and
twenty-six miles, of which the last eighty were covered without a
halt. Crossing the Potomac at McCoy's Ford about 6 A.M. on October
10, he had recrossed it at White's Ford, between 1 and 2 P.M. on
October 12; he was thus for fifty-six hours inside the enemy's lines,
and during the greater part of his march within thirty miles of
McClellan's headquarters near Harper's Ferry.

It is often the case in war that a well-planned and boldly executed
enterprise has a far greater effect than could possibly have been
anticipated. Neither Lee nor Stuart looked for larger results from
this raid than a certain amount of plunder and a good deal of
intelligence. But skill and daring were crowned with a more ample
reward than the attainment of the immediate object.

In the first place, the expedition, although there was little
fighting, was most destructive to the Federal cavalry. McClellan had
done all in his power to arrest the raiders. Directly the news came
in that they had crossed the Potomac, troops were sent in every
direction to cut off their retreat. Yet so eminently judicious were
Stuart's precautions, so intelligent the Maryland soldiers who acted
as his guides, and so rapid his movements, that although constant
reports were received by the Federal generals as to the progress and
direction of his column, the information came always too late to
serve any practical purpose, and his pursuers were never in time to
bar his march. General Pleasanton, with such cavalry as could be
spared from the picket line, marched seventy-eight miles in
four-and-twenty hours, and General Averell's brigade, quartered on
the Upper Potomac, two hundred miles in four days. The severity of
the marches told heavily on these commands, already worn out by hard
work on the outposts; and so many of the horses broke down that a
period of repose was absolutely necessary to refit them for the
field. Until his cavalry should have recovered it was impossible for
McClellan to invade Virginia.

In the second place, neither the Northern Government nor the Northern
people could forget that this was the second time that McClellan had
allowed Stuart to ride at will round the Army of the Potomac. Public
confidence in the general-in-chief was greatly shaken; and a handle
was given to his opponents in the ranks of the abolitionists, who,
because he was a Democrat, and had much influence with the army, were
already clamouring for his removal.

October 26.

The respite which Stuart had gained for Virginia was not, however, of
long duration. On October 26, McClellan, having ascertained by means
of a strong reconnaissance in force that the Confederate army was
still in the vicinity of Winchester, commenced the passage of the
Potomac. The principal point of crossing was near Berlin, and so soon
as it became evident that the Federal line of operations lay east of
the Blue Ridge, Lee ordered Longstreet to Culpeper Court House.
Jackson, taking post on the road between Berryville and Charlestown,
was to remain in the Valley.

On November 7 the situation was as follows:--

First Corps Warrenton.
Second Corps Rectortown.
Third Corps Between Manassas Junction and Warrenton.
Fifth Corps White Plains.
Ninth Corps Waterloo.
Eleventh Corps New Baltimore.
Cavalry Division Rappahannock Station and Sperryville.
Line of Supply Orange and Alexandria and Manassas Railways.
Twelfth Corps Harper's Ferry and Sharpsburg.


First Corps Culpeper Court House.
Second Corps Headquarters, Millwood.
Cavalry Division Hampton's and Fitzhugh Lee's Brigades on
the Rappahannock.
Munford's Brigade with Jackson.
Lines of Supply Staunton--Strasburg.
Staunton--Culpeper Court House.

November 7.

On this date the six corps of the Army of the Potomac which were
assembled between the Bull Run Mountains and the Blue Ridge numbered
125,000 officers and men present for duty, together with 320 guns.

The returns of the Army of Northern Virginia give the following
First Army Corps 31,939 112 (54 short-range smooth-bores)
Second Army Corps 31,794 123 (53 short-range smooth-bores)
Cavalry Division 7,176 4
Reserve Artillery 900 36 (20 short-range smooth-bores)
------ ---
71,809 275

The Confederates were not only heavily outnumbered by the force
immediately before them, but along the Potomac, from Washington
westward, was a second hostile army, not indeed so large as that
commanded by McClellan, but larger by several thousands than that
commanded by Lee. The Northern capital held a garrison of 80,000; at
Harper's Ferry were 10,000; in the neighbourhood of Sharpsburg over
4000; along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 8000. Thus the total
strength of the Federals exceeded 225,000 men. Yet in face of this
enormous host, and with Richmond only weakly garrisoned behind him,
Lee had actually separated his two wings by an interval of sixty
miles. He was evidently playing his old game, dividing his army with
a view to a junction on the field of battle.

Lincoln, in a letter of advice with which he had favoured McClellan a
few days previously, had urged the importance of making Lee's line of
supply the first objective of the invading army. "An advance east of
the Blue Ridge," he said, "would at once menace the enemy's line of
communications, and compel him to keep his forces together; and if
Lee, disregarding this menace, were to cut in between the Army of the
Potomac and Washington, McClellan would have nothing to do but to
attack him in rear." He suggested, moreover, that by hard marching it
might be possible for McClellan to reach Richmond first.

The Confederate line of communications, so the President believed,
ran from Richmond to Culpeper Court House, and McClellan's advanced
guards, on November 7, were within twenty miles of that point. Lee,
however, had altogether failed to respond to Mr. Lincoln's
strategical pronouncements. Instead of concentrating his forces he
had dispersed them; and instead of fearing for his own
communications, he had placed Jackson in a position to interfere very
seriously with those of his enemy.

Mr. Lincoln's letter to McClellan shows that the lessons of the war
had not been altogether lost upon him. Generals Banks and Pope, with
some stimulus from Stonewall Jackson, had taught him what an
important part is played by lines of supply. He had mastered the
strategical truism that an enemy's communications are his weakest
point. But there were other considerations which had not come home to
him. He had overlooked the possibility that Lee might threaten
McClellan's communications before McClellan could threaten his; and
he had yet to learn that an army operating in its own country, if
proper forethought be exercised, can establish an alternative line of
supply, and provide itself with a double base, thus gaining a freedom
of action of which an invader, bound, unless he has command of the
sea, to a single line, is generally deprived.

The President appears to have thought that, if Lee were cut off from
Richmond, the Army of Northern Virginia would be reduced to
starvation, and become absolutely powerless. It never entered his
head that the astute commander of that army had already, in
anticipation of the very movement which McClellan was now making,
established a second base at Staunton, and that his line of supply,
in case of necessity, would not run over the open country between
Richmond and Gordonsville, but from Staunton to Culpeper, behind the
ramparts of the Blue Ridge.

Lee, in fact, accepted with equanimity the possibility of the
Federals intervening between himself and Richmond. He had already, in
the campaign against Pope, extricated himself from such a situation
by a bold stroke against his enemy's communications; and the natural
fastness of the Valley, amply provided with food and forage, afforded
facilities for such a manoeuvre which had been altogether absent
before the Second Manassas. Nor was he of Mr. Lincoln's opinion, that
if the Army of Northern Virginia cut in between Washington and
McClellan it would be a simple operation for the latter to about face
and attack the Confederates in rear. He knew, and Mr. Lincoln, if he
had studied Pope's campaign, should have known it too, that the
operation of countermarching, if the line of communication has been
cut, is not only apt to produce great confusion and great suffering,
but has the very worst effect on the morale of the troops. But Lee
had that practical experience which Mr. Lincoln lacked, and without
which it is but waste of words to dogmatise on strategy. He was well
aware that a large army is a cumbrous machine, not readily deflected
from the original direction of the line of march;* (* On November 1
the Army of the Potomac (not including the Third Corps) was
accompanied by 4818 waggons and ambulances, 8,500 transport horses,
and 12,000 mules. O.R. volume 19 part 1 pages 97-8. The train of each
army corps and of the cavalry covered eight miles of road, or fifty
miles for the whole.) and, more than all, he had that intimate
acquaintance with the soldier in the ranks, that knowledge of the
human factor, without which no military problem, whether of strategy,
tactics, or organisation, can be satisfactorily solved. McClellan's
task, therefore, so long as he had to depend for his supplies on a
single line of railway, was not quite so simple as Mr. Lincoln

Nevertheless, on November 7 Lee decided to unite his army. As soon as
the enemy advanced from Warrenton, Jackson was to ascend the Valley,
and crossing the Blue Ridge at Fisher's Gap, join hands with
Longstreet, who would retire from Madison Court House to the vicinity
of Gordonsville. The Confederates would then be concentrated on
McClellan's right flank should he march on Richmond, ready to take
advantage of any opportunity for attack; or, if attack were
considered too hazardous, to threaten his communications, and compel
him to fall back to the Potomac.

The proposed concentration, however, was not immediately carried out.
In the first place, the Federal advance came to a sudden standstill;
and, in the second place, Jackson was unwilling to abandon his post
of vantage behind the Blue Ridge. It need hardly be said that the
policy of manoeuvring instead of intrenching, of aiming at the
enemy's flank and rear instead of barring his advance directly, was
in full agreement with his views of war; and it appears that about
this date he had submitted proposals for a movement against the
Federal communications. It would be interesting indeed to have the
details of his design, but Jackson's letter-book for this period has
unfortunately disappeared, nor did he communicate his ideas to any of
his staff. Letters from General Lee, however, indicate that the
manoeuvre proposed was of the same character as that which brought
Pope in such hot haste from the Rappahannock to Bull Run, and that it
was Jackson's suggestion which caused the Commander-in-Chief to
reconsider his determination of uniting his army.

"As long as General Jackson," wrote Lee to the Secretary of War on
November 10, "can operate with safety, and secure his retirement west
of the Massanutton Mountains, I think it advantageous that he should
be in a position to threaten the enemy's flank and rear, and thus
prevent his advance southward on the east side of the Blue Ridge.
General Jackson has been directed accordingly, and should the enemy
descend into the Valley, General Longstreet will attack his rear, and
cut off his communications. The enemy apparently is so strong in
numbers that I think it preferable to baffle his designs by
manoeuvring, rather than resist his advance by main force, To
accomplish the latter without too great a risk and loss would require
more than double our present numbers."* (* O.R. volume 19 part 2 page

His letter to Jackson, dated November 9, ran as follows: "The enemy
seems to be massing his troops along the Manassas Railroad in the
vicinity of Piedmont, which gives him great facilities for bringing
up supplies from Alexandria. It has occurred to me that his object
may be to seize upon Strasburg with his main force, to intercept your
ascent of the Valley...This would oblige you to cross into the Lost
River Valley, or west of it, unless you could force a passage through
the Blue Ridge; hence my anxiety for your safety. If you can prevent
such a movement of the enemy, and operate strongly on his flank and
rear through the gaps of the Blue Ridge, you would certainly in my
opinion effect the object you propose. A demonstration of crossing
into Maryland would serve the same purpose, and might call him back
to the Potomac. As my object is to retard and baffle his designs, if
it can be accomplished by manoeuvring your corps as you propose, it
will serve my purpose as well as if effected in any other way. With
this understanding, you can use your discretion, which I know I can
rely upon, in remaining or advancing up the Valley. Keep me advised
of your movements and intentions; and you must keep always in view
the probability of an attack upon Richmond from either north or
south, when a concentration of force will become necessary."* (* O.R.
volume 19 part 2 page 705.)

Jackson's plan, however, was not destined to be tried. McClellan had
issued orders for the concentration of his army at Warrenton. His
troops had never been in better condition. They were in good spirits,
well supplied and admirably equipped. Owing to the activity of his
cavalry, coupled with the fact that the Confederate horses were at
this time attacked by a disease which affected both tongue and hoof,
his information was more accurate than usual. He knew that Longstreet
was at Culpeper, and Jackson in the Valley. He saw the possibility of
separating the two wings of the enemy's forces, and of either
defeating Longstreet or forcing him to fall back to Gordonsville, and
he had determined to make the attempt.

On the night of November 7, however, at the very moment when his army
was concentrating for an advance against Longstreet, McClellan was
ordered to hand over his command to General Burnside. Lincoln had
yielded to the insistence of McClellan's political opponents, to the
rancour of Stanton, and the jealousy of Halleck. But in sacrificing
the general who had saved the Union at Sharpsburg he sacrificed the
lives of many thousands of his soldiers. A darker day than even the
Second Manassas was in store for the Army of the Potomac. McClellan
was not a general of the first order. But he was the only officer in
the United States who had experience of handling large masses of
troops, and he was improving every day. Stuart had taught him the use
of cavalry, and Lee the value of the initiative. He was by no means
deficient in resolution, as his march with an army of recently
defeated men against Lee in Maryland conclusively proves; and
although he had never won a decisive victory, he possessed, to a
degree which was never attained by any of his successors, the
confidence and affection of his troops. But deplorable as was the
weakness which sanctioned his removal on the eve of a decisive
manoeuvre, the blunder which put Burnside in his place was even more
so. The latter appears to have been the protege of a small political
faction. He had many good qualities. He was a firm friend, modest,
generous, and energetic. But he was so far from being distinguished
for military ability that in the Army of the Potomac it was very
strongly questioned whether he was fit to command an army corps. His
conduct at Sharpsburg, where he had been entrusted with the attack on
the Confederate right, had been the subject of the severest
criticism, and by not a few of his colleagues he was considered
directly responsible for the want of combination which had marred
McClellan's plan of attack. More than once Mr. Lincoln infringed his
own famous aphorism, "Never swap horses when crossing a stream," but
when he transferred the destinies of the Army of the Potomac from
McClellan to Burnside he did more--he selected the weakest of his
team of generals to bear the burden.

At the same time that McClellan was superseded, General FitzJohn
Porter, the gallant soldier of Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill,
probably the best officer in the Army of the Potomac, was ordered to
resign command of the Fifth Army Corps, and to appear before a
court-martial on charges of incompetency and neglect of duty at the
Second Manassas. The fact that those charges were preferred by Pope,
and that Porter had been allowed to retain his command through the
campaign in Maryland, were hardly calculated to inspire the army with
confidence in either the wisdom or the justice of its rulers; and it
was the general opinion that his intimate friendship with McClellan
had more to say to his trial than his alleged incompetency.

Burnside commenced his career by renouncing the enterprise which
McClellan had contemplated. Longstreet was left unmolested at
Culpeper; and, in order to free the communications from Jackson, the
Federal army was marched eastward along the Rappahannock to Falmouth,
a new line of supply being established between that village and Aquia
Creek, the port on the Potomac, six hours' sail from Washington.

Lee had already foreseen that Jackson's presence in the Valley might
induce the Federals to change their line of operations.
Fredericksburg, on the south side of the Rappahannock, and the
terminus of the Richmond and Potomac Railroad, had consequently been
garrisoned by an infantry regiment and a battery, while three
regiments of cavalry patrolled the river. This force, however, was
not posted on the Rappahannock with a view of retarding the enemy's
advance, but merely for observation. Lee, at this date, had no
intention of concentrating at Fredericksburg. The Federals, if they
acted with resolution, could readily forestall him, and the line of
the North Anna, a small but difficult stream, thirty-six miles south,
offered peculiar advantages to the defence.

November 17.

The Federal march was rapid. On November 15 the Army of the Potomac
left Warrenton, and the advanced guard reached Falmouth on the
afternoon of the 17th. General Sumner, in command, observing the
weakness of the Confederate garrison, requested permission from
Burnside to cross the Rappahannock and establish himself on the
further bank. Although two army corps were at hand, and the remainder
were rapidly closing up, Burnside refused, for the bridges had been
broken, and he was unwilling to expose part of his forces on the
right bank with no means of retreat except a difficult and uncertain
ford. The same day, part of Longstreet's corps and a brigade of
cavalry were sent to Fredericksburg; and on the 19th, Lee, finding
that the Federals had left Warrenton, ordered Longstreet to
concentrate his whole force at Fredericksburg, and summoned Jackson
from the Valley to Orange Court House.

Jackson, meanwhile, had moved to Winchester, probably with the design
of threatening the enemy's garrisons on the Potomac, and this
unexpected movement had caused much perturbation in the North.
Pennsylvania and Maryland expected nothing less than instant
invasion. The merchant feared for his strong-box, the farmer for his
herds; plate was once more packed up; railway presidents demanded
further protection for their lines; generals begged for
reinforcements, and, according to the "Times" Correspondent, it was
"the universal belief that Stonewall Jackson was ready to pounce upon
Washington from the Shenandoah, and to capture President,
Secretaries, and all." But before apprehension increased to panic,
before Mr. Lincoln had become infected by the prevailing uneasiness,
the departure of the Confederates from the Valley brought relief to
the affrighted citizens.

On November 22 Jackson bade farewell to Winchester. His headquarters
were not more than a hundred yards from Dr. Graham's manse, and he
spent his last evening with his old friends. "He was in fine health
and fine spirits," wrote the minister's wife to Mrs. Jackson. "The
children begged to be permitted to sit up to see "General Jackson,"
and he really seemed overjoyed to see them, played with them and
fondled them, and they were equally pleased. I have no doubt it was a
great recreation to him. He seemed to be living over last winter
again, and talked a great deal about the hope of getting back to
spend this winter with us, in the old room, which I told him I was
keeping for you and him. He certainly has had adulation enough to
spoil him, but it seems not to affect or harm him at all. He is the
same humble, dependent Christian, desiring to give God all the glory,
looking to Him alone for a blessing, and not thinking of himself."

So it was with no presage that this was the last time he would look
upon the scenes he loved that Jackson moved southward by the Valley
turnpike. Past Kernstown his columns swept, past Middletown and
Strasburg, and all the well-remembered fields of former triumphs;
until the peaks of the Massanuttons threw their shadows across the
highway, and the mighty bulk of the noble mountains, draped in the
gold and crimson of the autumn, once more re-echoed to the tramp of
his swift-footed veterans. Turning east at New Market, he struck
upwards by the familiar road; and then, descending the narrow pass,
he forded the Shenandoah, and crossing the Luray valley vanished in
the forests of the Blue Ridge. Through the dark pines of Fisher's Gap
he led his soldiers down to the Virginia plains, and the rivers and
the mountains knew him no more until their dead returned to them.

On the 26th the Second Army Corps was at Madison Court House.

November 27.

The next day it was concentrated at Orange Court House,
six-and-thirty miles from Fredericksburg. In eight days, two being
given to rest, the troops had marched one hundred and twenty miles,
and with scarce a straggler, for the stern measures which had been
taken to put discipline on a firmer basis, and to make the regimental
officers do their duty, had already produced a salutary effect.

On Jackson's arrival at Orange Court House he found the situation
unchanged. Burnside, notwithstanding that heavy snow-storms and sharp
frosts betokened the approach of winter, the season of impassable
roads and swollen rivers, was still encamped near Falmouth. The
difficulty of establishing a new base of supplies at Aquia Creek, and
some delay on the part of the Washington authorities in furnishing
him with a pontoon train, had kept him idle; but he had not
relinquished his design of marching upon Richmond. His quiescence,
however, together with the wishes of the President, had induced
General Lee to change his plans. The Army of Northern Virginia,
78,500 strong, although, in order to induce the Federals to attack,
it was not yet closely concentrated, was ready to oppose in full
force the passage of the Rappahannock, and all thought of retiring to
the North Anna had been abandoned.

November 29.

On November 29, therefore, Jackson was ordered forward, and while the
First Army Corps occupied a strong position in rear of
Fredericksburg, with an advanced detachment in the town, the Second
was told off to protect the lower reaches of the Rappahannock.
Ewell's division, still commanded by Early, was posted at Skinker's
Neck, twelve miles south-east of Fredericksburg, a spot which
afforded many facilities for crossing; D.H. Hill's at Port Royal,
already menaced by Federal gunboats, six miles further down stream;
A.P. Hill's and Taliaferro's (Jackson's own) at Yerby's House and
Guiney's Station, five and nine miles respectively from Longstreet's
right; and Stuart, whose division was now increased to four brigades,
watched both front and flanks.

The Rappahannock was undoubtedly a formidable obstacle. Navigable for
small vessels as far as Fredericksburg, the head of the tide water,
it is two hundred yards wide in the neighbourhood of the city, and it
increases in width and depth as it flows seaward. But above Falmouth
there are several easy fords; the river banks, except near
Fredericksburg, are clad with forest, hiding the movements of troops;
and from Falmouth downward, the left bank, under the name of the
Stafford Heights, so completely commands the right that it was
manifestly impossible for the Confederates to prevent the enemy,
furnished with a far superior artillery, from making good the passage
of the stream. A mile west of Fredericksburg, however, extending from
Beck's Island to the heights beyond the Massaponax Creek, runs a long
low ridge, broken by ravines and partially covered with timber, which
with some slight aid from axe and spade could be rendered an
exceedingly strong position. Longstreet, who occupied this ridge, had
been ordered to intrench himself; gun-pits had been dug on the bare
crest, named Marye's Hill, which immediately faces Fredericksburg; a
few shelter-trenches had been thrown up, natural defences improved,
and some slight breastworks and abattis constructed along the
outskirts of the woods. These works were at extreme range from the
Stafford Heights; and the field of fire, extending as far as the
river, a distance varying from fifteen hundred to three thousand
yards, needed no clearing. Over such ground a frontal attack, even if
made by superior numbers, had little chance of success.

But notwithstanding its manifest advantages the position found no
favour in the eyes of Jackson. It could be easily turned by the fords
above Falmouth--Banks', United States, Ely's, and Germanna. This,
however, was a minor disqualification compared with the restrictions
in the way of offensive action. If the enemy should cross at
Fredericksburg, both his flanks would be protected by the river,
while his numerous batteries, arrayed on the Stafford Heights, and
commanding the length and the breadth of the battle-field, would make
counterstroke difficult and pursuit impossible. To await attack,
moreover, was to allow the enemy to choose his own time and place,
and to surrender the advantages of the initiative. Burnside's
communications were protected by the Rappahannock, and it was thus
impracticable to manoeuvre against his most vulnerable point, to
inflict on him a surprise, to compel him to change front, and, in
case he were defeated, to cut him off from his base and deprive him
of his supplies. The line of the North Anna, in Jackson's opinion,
promised far greater results. The Federals, advancing from
Fredericksburg, would expose their right flank and their
communications for a distance of six-and-thirty miles; and if they
were compelled to retreat, the destruction of their whole army was
within the bounds of possibility. "I am opposed," he said to General
D.H. Hill, "to fighting on the Rappahannock. We will whip the enemy,
but gain no fruits of victory. I have advised the line of the North
Anna, but have been overruled."* (* Dabney volume 2 page 355. From
Manassas to Appomattox page 299.)

So the days passed on. The country was white with snow. The
temperature was near zero, and the troops, their blankets as
threadbare as their uniforms, without greatcoats, and in many
instances without boots, shivered beneath the rude shelters of their
forest bivouacs. Fortunately there was plenty of work. Roads were cut
through the woods, and existing tracks improved. The river banks were
incessantly patrolled. Fortifications were constructed at Port Royal
and Skinker's Neck, and the movements of the Federals, demonstrating
now here and now there, kept the whole army on the alert. Nor were
Jackson's men deprived of all excitement. He had the satisfaction of
reporting to General Lee that D.H. Hill, with the aid of Stuart's
horse-artillery, had frustrated two attempts of the Federal gunboats
to pass up the river at Port Royal; and that the vigilance of Early
at Skinker's Neck had caused the enemy to abandon the design which he
had apparently conceived of crossing at that point.

Dec. 11.

But more vigorous operations were not long postponed. On December 10,
General Burnside, urged by the impatience of the Northern press,
determined to advance, and the next morning, at 3 A.M., the signal
guns of the Confederates gave notice that the enemy was in motion.
One hundred and forty Federal guns, many of large calibre, placed in
epaulments on the Stafford Heights, frowned down upon Fredericksburg,
and before the sun rose the Federal bridge builders were at work on
the opposite shore. The little city, which had been deserted by the
inhabitants, was held by Barksdale's Mississippi brigade of McLaws'
division, about 1600 strong, and the conduct of this advanced
detachment must have done much to inspirit the troops who watched
their prowess from the ridge in rear. A heavy fog hung upon the
water, and not until the bridge was two-thirds completed, and shadowy
figures became visible in the mist, did the Mississippians open fire.
At such close quarters the effect was immediate, and the builders
fled. Twice, at intervals of half an hour, they ventured again upon
the deserted bridge, and twice were they driven back. Strong
detachments were now moved forward by the Federals to cover the
working parties, and artillery began to play upon the town. The
Southerners, however, securely posted in rifle-pits and cellars, were
not to be dislodged; and at ten o'clock Burnside ordered the heavy
batteries into action. Every gun which could be brought to bear on
Fredericksburg discharged fifty rounds of shot and shell. To this
bombardment, which lasted upwards of an hour, Longstreet's artillery
could make no reply. Yet though the effect on the buildings was
appalling, and flames broke out in many places, the defenders not
only suffered little loss, but at the very height of the cannonade
repelled another attempt to complete the bridge.

After a delay of several hours General Hooker, commanding the
advance, called for volunteers to cross the river in boats. Four
regiments came forward. The pontoons were manned, and though many
lives were lost during the transit, the gallant Federals pushed
quickly across; others followed, and Barksdale, who had no orders to
hold the place against superior strength, withdrew his men from the
river bank. About 4.30 P.M., three bridges being at last established,
the enemy pushed forward, and the Mississippians, retiring in good
order, evacuated Fredericksburg. A mile below, near the mouth of
Hazel Run, the Confederate outposts had been driven in, and three
more bridges had been thrown across. Thus on the night of the 11th
the Federals, who were now organised in three Grand Divisions, each
of two army corps, had established their advanced guards on the right
bank of the Rappahannock, and, under cover of the batteries on the
Stafford Heights, could rapidly and safely pass over their great host
of 120,000 men.* (* The three Grand Divisions were commanded by
Sumner, Hooker, and Franklin.)

Burnside had framed his plan of attack on the assumption that Lee's
army was dispersed along the Rappahannock. His balloon had reported
large Confederate bivouacs below Skinker's Neck, and he appears to
have believed that Lee, alarmed by his demonstrations near Port
Royal, had posted half his army in that neighbourhood. Utterly
unsuspicious that a trap had been laid for him, he had resolved to
take advantage of this apparently vicious distribution, and, crossing
rapidly at Fredericksburg, to defeat the Confederate left before the
right could lend support. Port Royal is but eighteen miles from
Fredericksburg, and in prompt action, therefore, lay his only hope of
success. Burnside, however, after the successful establishment, of
his six bridges, evinced the same want of resolution which had won
him so unenviable a reputation at Sharpsburg. The long hours of
darkness slipped peacefully away; no unusual sound broke the silence
of the night, and all was still along the Rappahannock.

Dec. 12.

It was not till the next morning, December 12, that the army began to
cross, and the movement, made difficult by a dense fog, was by no
means energetic. Four of the six army corps were transferred during
the day to the southern bank; but beyond a cavalry reconnaissance,
which was checked by Stuart, there was no fighting, and to every man
in the Federal ranks it was perfectly plain that the delay was fatal.

Lee, meanwhile, with ample time at his disposal and full confidence
in the wisdom of his dispositions, calmly awaited the development of
his adversary's plans. Jackson brought up A.P. Hill and Taliaferro at
noon, and posted them on Longstreet's right; but it was not till that
hour, when it had at last become certain that the whole Federal army
was crossing, that couriers were dispatched to call in Early and D.H.
Hill. Once more the Army of Northern Virginia was concentrated at
exactly the right moment on the field of battle.* (* Lord Wolseley
North American Review volume 149 page 282.)

Dec. 13.

Like its predecessor, December 13 broke dull and calm, and the mist
which shrouded river and plain hid from each other the rival hosts.
Long before daybreak the Federal divisions still beyond the stream
began to cross; and as the morning wore on, and the troops near Hazel
Run moved forward from their bivouacs, the rumbling of artillery on
the frozen roads, the loud words of command, and the sound of martial
music came, muffled by the fog, to the ears of the Confederates lying
expectant on the ridge. Now and again the curtain lifted for a
moment, and the Southern guns assailed the long dark columns of the
foe. Very early had the Confederates taken up their position. The
ravine of Deep Run, covered with tangled brushwood, was the line of
demarcation between Jackson and Longstreet. On the extreme right of
the Second Corps, and half a mile north of the marshy valley of the
Massaponax, where a spur called Prospect Hill juts down from the
wooded ridge, were fourteen guns under Colonel Walker. Supported by
two regiments of Field's brigade, these pieces were held back for the
present within the forest which here clothed the ridge. Below
Prospect Hill, and running thence along the front of the position,
the embankment of the Richmond and Potomac Railroad formed a tempting
breastwork. It was utilised, however, only by the skirmishers of the
defence. The edge of the forest, One hundred and fifty to two hundred
yards in rear, looked down upon an open and gentle slope, and along
the brow of this natural glacis, covered by the thick timber, Jackson
posted his fighting-line. To this position it was easy to move up his
supports and reserves without exposing them to the fire of artillery;
and if the assailants should seize the embankment, he relied upon the
deadly rifles of his infantry to bar their further advance up the
ascent beyond.

The Light Division supplied both the first and second lines of
Jackson's army corps. To the left of Walker's guns, posted in a
shelter-trench within the skirts of the wood, was Archer's brigade of
seven regiments, including two of Field's, the left resting on a
coppice that projected beyond the general line of forest. On the
further side of this coppice, but nearer the embankment, lay Lane's
brigade, an unoccupied space of six hundred yards intervening between
his right and Archer's left. Between Lane's right and the edge of the
coppice was an open tract two hundred yards in breadth. Both of these
brigades had a strong skirmish line pushed forward along and beyond
the railroad. Five hundred yards in rear, along a road through the
woods which had been cut by Longstreet's troops, Gregg's South
Carolina brigade, in second line, covered the interval between Archer
and Lane. To Lane's left rear lay Pender's brigade, supporting twelve
guns posted in the open, on the far side of the embankment, and
twenty-one massed in a field to the north of a small house named
Bernard's Cabin. Four hundred yards in rear of Lane's left and
Pender's right was stationed Thomas's brigade of four regiments.*

(* The dispositions were as follows:--
12 guns Lane Archer
------- ---- ------ 14 guns
21 guns -------
------- ----- Thomas
Pender ------
Gregg )

It is necessary to notice particularly the shape, size, and position
of the projecting tongue of woodland which broke the continuity of
Hill's line. A German officer on Stuart's staff had the day previous,
while riding along the position, remarked its existence, and
suggested the propriety of razing it; but, although Jackson himself
predicted that there would be the scene of the severest fighting, the
ground was so marshy within its depths, and the undergrowth so dense
and tangled, that it was judged impenetrable and left unoccupied--an
error of judgment which cost many lives. General Lane had also
recognised the danger of leaving so wide a gap between Archer and
himself, and had so reported, but without effect, to his divisional

(MAP. The Field of Fredericksburg.)

The coppice was triangular in shape, and extended nearly six hundred
yards beyond the embankment. The base, which faced the Federals, was
five hundred yards long. Beyond the apex the ground was swampy and
covered with scrub, and the ridge, depressed at this point to a level
with the plain, afforded no position from which artillery could
command the approach to or issue from this patch of jungle. A space
of seven hundred yards along the front was thus left undefended by
direct fire.

Early, who with D.H. Hill had marched in shortly after daybreak,
formed the right of the third line, Taliaferro the left. The division
of D.H. Hill, with several batteries, formed the general reserve, and
a portion of Early's artillery was posted about half a mile in rear
of his division, in readiness, if necessary, to relieve the guns on
Prospect Hill.

Jackson's line was two thousand six hundred yards in length, and his
infantry 30,000 strong, giving eleven rifles to the yard; but nearly
three-fourths of the army corps, the divisions of Early, Taliaferro,
and D.H. Hill, were in third line and reserve. Of his one hundred and
twenty-three guns only forty-seven were in position, but the wooded
and broken character of the ground forbade a further deployment of
his favourite arm. His left, near Deep Run, was in close touch with
Hood's division of Longstreet's army corps; and in advance of his
right, already protected by the Massaponax, was Stuart with two
brigades and his horse-artillery. One Whitworth gun, a piece of great
range and large calibre, was posted on the wooded heights beyond the
Massaponax, north-east of Yerby's House.

Jackson's dispositions were almost identical with those which he had
adopted at the Second Manassas. His whole force was hidden in the
woods; every gun that could find room was ready for action, and the
batteries were deployed in two masses. Instead, however, of giving
each division a definite section of the line, he had handed over the
whole front to A.P. Hill. This arrangement, however, had been made
before D.H. Hill and Early came up, and with the battle imminent a
change was hazardous. In many respects, moreover, the ground he now
occupied resembled that which he had so successfully defended on
August 29 and 30. There was the wood opposite the centre, affording
the enemy a covered line of approach; the open fields, pasture and
stubble, on either hand; the stream, hidden by timber and difficult
of passage, on the one flank, and Longstreet on the other. But the
position at Fredericksburg was less strong for defence than that at
the Second Manassas, for not only was Jackson's line within three
thousand yards--a long range but not ineffective--of the heavy guns
on the Stafford Heights, but on the bare plain between the railway
and the river there was ample room for the deployment of the Federal
field-batteries. At the Second Manassas, on the other hand, the
advantages of the artillery position had been on the side of the

Nevertheless, with the soldiers of Sharpsburg, ragged indeed and
under-fed, but eager for battle and strong in numbers, there was no
reason to dread the powerful artillery of the foe; and Jackson's
confidence was never higher than when, accompanied by his staff, he
rode along his line of battle. He was not, however, received by his
soldiers with their usual demonstrations of enthusiastic devotion. In
honour of the day he had put on the uniform with which Stuart had
presented him; the old cadet cap, which had so often waved his men to
victory, was replaced by a head-dress resplendent with gold lace;
"Little Sorrel" had been deposed in favour of a more imposing
charger; and the veterans failed to recognise their commander until
he had galloped past them. A Confederate artillery-man has given a
graphic picture of his appearance when the fight was at its hottest:--

"A general officer, mounted upon a superb bay horse and followed by a
single courier, rode up through our guns. Looking neither to the
right nor the left, he rode straight to the front, halted, and seemed
gazing intently on the enemy's line of battle. The outfit before me,
from top to toe, cap, coat, top-boots, horse and furniture, were all
of the new order of things. But there was something about the man
that did not look so new after all. He appeared to be an old-time

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