Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/20
Southern Historical Society Papers.
In this hotly contested battle the enemy had strong works on each side of the road, those on the commanding ridge being heavily defended by artillery. The night, also, had given him time to mass his troops to. meet this attack; but the desperate valor of Jackson's corps overcame every obstacle, and drove the enemy to his new line, of defence, which his engineers had constructed in his rear, ready for occupation, at the intersection of the Ely's ford and United States ford roads. Gen. Anderson's division, of the right wing, arrived upon the field comparatively fresh. I set about reforming my command, with a view to a renewal of the attack, when the Commanding-General received intelligence that the enemy had crossed at Fredericksburg, and taken Marye's hill. An aide-de-camp of Gen. Sedgwick, captured by Col. Wickham's regiment on the right near Banks' ford, reported two corps under command of Sedgwick. The Commanding-General decided to hold Hooker, beaten as he was, in his works, with Jackson's corps, and detach enough of other forces to turn on Sedgwick. The success of this strategy enabled him again to concentrate to force Hooker's position; and arrangements were made for attack with this corps on the morning of the 6th (Wednesday) but before it was begun our skirmishers found the enemy's works abandoned, and, pressing forward to the river, captured many prisoners. The enemy had another work, two miles in rear of the other, which was also abandoned. This region of country is known as "The Wilderness." Rapid pursuit in such a country is an impossibility, where the enemy takes care to leave his trains beyond the Rappahannock, and avails himself, as he does, of the appliances of art, labor and natural obstacles, to delay his pursuers. In this battle, in which the enemy's main force was attacked in chosen positions, he was driven entirely from the field, and finally fled across the river. Our troops behaved with the greatest heroism.
moments Chancellorsville was ours, (10 o'clock, A. M.) The enemy retired towards Ely's ford, the road to United States' ford branching one half mile west of Chancellorsville.