Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/346

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330 Southern Historical Society Papers.

we were awakened from our long holiday by the welcome announce- ment that the Federal commander's long-expected advance had at last commenced, and that a portion of his army had crossed the Rapidan at Gorman's Ford, and were marching upon Fredericks- burg. General Lee at once put his whole army in motion, with Jackson's corps in the front, leaving one division, under General Early, to prevent the enemy from crossing at Fredericksburg and attacking his rear.

It will be remembered that two of the best divisions of Long- street's corps had been detached and sent to Southeastern Virginia, leaving General Lee with scarcely fifty thousand infantry with which to meet that well-equipped and splendidly-appointed army of Hook- er's, consisting of more than one hundred thousand men. After an arduous and exciting march, without rest, the army, frequently ad- vancing in line of battle, was expecting every moment to meet the enemy. The advance column, consisting of a portion of Hill's division, halted about sunset within less than a mile of the Chancel- lorsville house, in the vicinity of which the enemy was evidently concentrated, awaiting our attack. But the impenetrable nature of the thickets, which separated us, prevented any further advance in that direction, and the whole army was forced to bivouac for the night. At this point a road, which was then known as the Bun road, intersected about at right angles the plank road, along which we had been moving, and here, with no other protection than the spreading arms of an immense oak, and without camp equippage of any kind, the two generals Lee and Jackson slept for the night, myself and a few of my troops lying within a few feet of them.

I was awakened next morning by a light touch on my shoulder, and on jumping up had the mortification to find that the sun had already risen and General Lee had gone. General Jackson, who was just mounting his horse, turned to me with a kindly word and smile, telling me to follow as soon as possible, and dashed off at a furious gallop down the Mine Run road, along which his troops had been rapidly marching since daylight. I did not succeed in over- taking the General again for several hours, and when at last I came up with him, he was far in advance of his columns, standing talking to General Fitzhugh Lee in the old turnpike road, at a point about five miles distant from Chancellorsville, having made a circuit of fifteen miles, thus putting the whole Federal army between himself and General Lee, and the two divisions of Longstreet's corps which were with him. As the several divisions of the corps came up they