Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 23.djvu/216

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210 Southern Historical Society Papers.

James. How accurate General Lee's interpretation of Burnside's movement was we now know, and from that time until some time after the Second Battle of Manassas he practically directed the move- ments of the Federal army by his own. Another instance of his wonderful capacity in penetrating the intentions of the enemy oc- curred at Fredericksburg before the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. The enemy displayed a large force in our front on the Staf- ford side of the river, and at the same time another force with in- fantry and artillery was reported to be on the Rappahannock above Fredericksburg, in our rear. For several days it was doubtful from which quarter the attack would come, but on the afternoon of April 3oth, General Lee, after a long examination of the large force dis- played on the opposite hills of Stafford, suddenly closed his field- glass and remarked, "The main attack will come from above." Within a few hours Jackson's corps was marching towards the illus- trious field of Chancellorsville, and its great leader to his last and crowning victory.

I will now proceed to give an account of the movements which began on the 3d of June, 1863.

The Federal army was opposite Fredericksburg, where it could not be attacked, except at a disadvantage, and we are told by Gen- eral Lee that the object of his movement was to draw that army from its position, and, if practicable, to transfer the scene of hostilities be- yond the Potomac. He also says that "the execution of this pur- pose embraced the expulsion of the force under General Milroy, which had infested the lower Shenandoah Valley during the preced- ing winter and spring. If unable to obtain the valuable results which might be expected to follow a decided advantage gained over the enemy in Maryland or Pennsylvania, it was hoped that we should at least so far disturb his plan for the summer campaign as to prevent its execution during the season of active operations."

The commands of Longstreet and Ewell were put in motion on the 3d of June in the direction of Culpeper Courthouse. On the 5th of June, as soon as their march was discovered by the enemy, he threw a small force across the Rappahannock about two miles below Fredericksburg, and it was thought prudent to halt the com- mand of General Ewell until the object of that movement could be ascertained, but the movement itself, as General Lee says in a letter dated June 7, 1863, "was so devoid of concealment" that he sup- posed that its object was to ascertain what troops remained near Fredericksburg, and after watching the enemy during the next day,