Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/89

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85
The Campaign of Chancellorsville.

north of the road stormed and carried two lines of works and assailed a third where a long and desperate struggle ensued. Being subjected to a severe artillery fire, they gave ground and fell back upon the captured works where they waited for reinforcements. One of Pender's regiments advancing beyond the brigade captured Brigadier General Hays and staff of the Union army. Lane and McGowan with a part of Heth's brigade under Brockenbrough, on the south of the road likewise charged the works in their front in the face of the fire from the 38 guns at Fairview, and after a determined fight were able to seize and hold the works for some time, until McGowan's right flank becoming exposed, they were compelled to retire. Archer on the extreme right in charging forward inclined to the right, which left a gap between McGowan and himself. Pressing on he struck the rear of Birney's division leaving Hazel Grove, and attacked Graham's brigade inflicting severe loss, capturing a number of prisoners and a battery and opening the way to Hazel Grove. Hazel Grove proved to be the key to the situation. It jutted out beyond the contour of the Federal line, and Sickles wanted to hold it: but Hooker on looking over the field at daylight decided it was untenable, and directed Sickles to move to Fairview and occupy a new line of intrenchments extending across the Plank road in rear of Fairview, the front line occupying the artillery breastworks. A similar experience fell to Sickles at Gettysburg when he was ordered by Meade to withdraw from the peach orchard because his right flank was too far in advance.

In the meantime Perry's brigade of Anderson's division which had remained with Lee, was put in motion before daylight to gain ground to its left, and if possible get in touch with Stuart. Posey's brigade which had spent the night in the neighborhood of the Furnace was directed to do likewise, and finding nothing in its way it proceeded in the direction of Hazel Grove. Mahone and Wright also endeavored to gain ground to the left and conform to these movements, but the character of the country made any alignment impossible, and none of the four brigades were in touch with each other.