286 Southern Historical Society Papers.
with us and engaged in the preparation of his book. With a surveyor's line distances were ascertained, and we left the field with the assurance that at ieast we had mastered the details of that battle. It was with some feeling of discomfort that we con- cluded that Jackson's great success had been greatly aided by the reckless disregard of the ordinary rules of field service on the part of some of the Federal officers. It seemed to dimin- ish the hazard of the game Jackson so splendidly played. But when we stood upon the spot where with their glasses Federal line officers declared they saw during the mid-day hours of May 2, 1863, Jackson's column, as from time to time, like the move- ments of a great constrictor, it showed itself in the unavoidable openings of the forest on its encircling march, we felt that Jack- son was borne up not only by his own splendid audacity, but also by a supreme contempt for the host he was about to assault. Blackford says that just before he caused his bugler to ring out the signal for the advance of the skirmishers, Jackson rode up to where, with Rodes, he was waiting. "Are you ready, General Rodes?" he asked, and with the reply "yes," he waived a forward movement with his hands, and the band opened.
What Jackson would have done had he not been stricken down must forever remain a subject of speculation. The enemy was in a great state of disorder. The flying Eleventh Corps had infused a panic into the entire right wing of the Federal army. Rather a feeling of demoralization than of absolute panic. Hooker had received a terrible blow in the back. Sickles had only discovered the great danger of his isolated position. The southern and eastern fronts of Hooker's army was kept in con- stant apprehension by General Lee using to the utmost the di- visions of McLaws and Anderson. The discouraged forces of Hooker were ignorant as to the direction from which the next blow would come, or the strength of this unexpected assault. Every condition in the Federal army favored a night assault, and that Jackson contemplated this is too clear for discussion. There, disorder existed in two divisions, Rodes' and Colston's, broken up as all alignment had been by the impetuous rush made through the tangles of the wilderness. But Hill was in comparative good order, and his men were full of fight.
Jackson might well have cut in on a northeasterly course, and.