Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/69
THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLORSVILLE. 65
stration as serious as can be without an actual attack." This indicated that Hooker was not aware of Lee's having already transferred the bulk of his army from Fredericksburg to the neighborhood of Chancellorsville. The demonstration was in- tended to prevent that very thing. As Hooker had surprised Lee by his concentration at Chancellorsville, so Lee now sur- prised Hooker by his concentration at Zion and Tabernacle Churches.
When Jackson ahead of his troops reached Tabernacle Church he ordered the intrenching to stop, and to prepare to advance. He was a thorough believer in the military principle which reckons the advantage on the side of the attacking party. As soon as the troops could be formed the movement began in two columns, McLaws with four brigades on the turnpike, fol- lowed by Wilcox with his brigade from Banks' ford, and Perry with his brigade from opposite Falmouth. On the Plank road, Rodes' and Hill's divisions, with the brigades of Wright and Posey, were led by Jackson in person. McLaws' skirmishers ran almost immediately into the 8th Pennsylvania cavalry, which was thrown back upon the head of Sykes' division, which in turn drove back the Confederate skirmishers, and advanced to a ridge with open ground in front, about two miles and a half from Chancellorsville, and about one mile from Zion Church. Sykes deployed his division across the turnpike at right angles to it, holding one brigade in reserve. McLaws deploying with greater front, overlapped Sykes on both flanks, and sent word to Jackson suggesting an attack on Sykes' right from the Plank road. Jack- son directed him to hold his position. Meantime a sharp en- gagement ensued. Sykes had advanced more rapidly along the pike than had Meade upon his left or Slocum upon his right, and failing to get in touch with either he reported the situation to Hooker, when the latter sent him word to retire, sending also Couch with a division and some artillery to his support. Sykes however began retiring before the order reached him. Couch it seems was reluctant to abandon the movement, and delayed the execution of the order until he could report that he thought the advanced position a good one and should be held, but the pe-