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federate advance is checked in front of this crest by the vigorous opposition encountered.
Hurried orders are despatched to Geary to withdraw his attack, and re-occupy his breastworks. This he straightway accomplishes. Similar orders are carried to Williams. But, before the latter can retrace his steps, Jackson's columns have reached the right of his late position. Anderson also advances against him; so that Williams is obliged to move cautiously by his left, and change front when he arrives where his line had lately joined Geary's; and, being unable to take up his old post, he goes into position, and prolongs Berry, south of the pike. It is long after dark before he ascertains his bearings, and succeeds in massing his division where it is needed. Anxious as Jackson is to press on,
“ Give me one hour more of daylight, and I will have United-States Ford !” cries he, he finds that he must re-establish order in his scattered forces before he can launch this night attack upon our newly formed but stubbornly maintained lines.
Nor is the darkness the most potent influence toward this end. Illy as Sickles's advance has resulted thus far, it is now a sovereign element in the salvation of the Army of the Potomac. His force at the Furnace, Birney, Whipple, Barlow, and Pleasonton, amounts to fifteen thousand men, and over twenty guns. None of these officers are the men to stand about idle. No sooner has Sickles been persuaded by a second courier, — the first he would not credit, - that the Eleventh Corps has been destroyed, and that Jackson is in his rear, than he comprehends that
now, indeed, the time has come to batter Jackson's flank. He orders his column to the right about, and moves up with all speed to the clearing, where Pleasonton has held his cavalry, near Birney's old front.
Pleasonton's keen eye has grasped the situation. He understands that immediate action is imperative. The stream of fugitives of the Eleventh Corps, pouring down the road from Dowdall's upon the open occupied by him, tells its own story. He must gain time to get his artillery into line. He has two regiments of cavalry, barely a thousand men. He orders Major Keenan, commanding the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, to charge upon the flank of Jackson's columns, into the woods, and, for his life, not to yield an inch. Keenan is a man cut out for such work. He charges home. His command is annihilated. Himself is killed. But a precious ten minutes is gained by his gallant fight.
From the general mélée of guns, caissons, ambulances, teams, Pleasonton, with the rapidity of desperate purpose, collects his guns. He unlimbers his horse-battery, and pours double-shotted charges of canister into the parapets recently held by the Eleventh Corps. Under the cover of this fire, he assembles twenty-two guns, (Clark's, Lewis's, and Turnbull's batteries, among them,) doubleshots them, and trains them on the woods in front, “which seemed alive with large bodies of men.” He reserves his fire, wishing to produce the effect of a heavy shock, when deliberately appears a column bearing the United-States flag. It is a Confederate brigade adopting this ruse to capture the dangerous array of guns threatening their flank. In the glimmering twilight, the gray and butternut cannot be distinguished. Pleasonton sends forward an aide, who draws their fire, and discovers the artifice; and as they display their proper colors, and charge forward with the well-known yell, he opens upon them, and sweeps them from before him. They have no stomach for a further charge; but, retiring to the edge of the woods, they open upon him a telling fire, under which he has pains to keep his men at work. This lasts till some time after dark.
“Such," says Gen. Pleasonton, “ was the fight at Scott's Run. Artillery against infantry at three hundred yards; the infantry in the woods, the artillery in the clearing. War presents many anomalies, but few so curious and strange in its results as this."
Meanwhile Birney, sending word to Barlow that they run danger of being cut off, and detailing the Twentieth Indiana and Sixty-Third Pennsylvania Volunteers as rear guard, rejoins Sickles and Pleasonton in the clearing, and both move up to sustain his flank.
And between Berry's gallant veterans, and Pleasonton's masterly attack, Jackson's advance is arrested, and he finds difficulty in maintaining his ground.
So soon as Jackson's guns gave Lee the intimation of his assault, the latter advanced upon the Union line with sufficient vigor to prevent Hooker from sending reenforcements to his right. The attack was sharp; and a general inclination to the left was ordered, to connect with Jackson's right as the latter brought his columns advancing up to the enemy's intrenchments, while several batteries played with good effect upon his lines until prevented by increasing darkness.” (Lee.)
* These orders were well executed, our troops
McLaws reports: “My orders were to hold my position, not to engage seriously, but to press strongly so soon as it was discovered that Gen. Jackson had attacked ... when I ordered an advance along the whole line to engage with the skirmishers, which were largely re-enforced, and to threaten, but not attack seriously; in doing which Gen. Wofford became so seriously engaged, that I directed him to withdraw, which was done in good order, his men in good spirits, after driving the enemy to their intrenchments."
The movement of Anderson towards the left made a gap of considerable distance in the Confederate line; " but the skirmishers of Gen. Semmes, the entire Tenth Georgia, were perfectly reliable, and kept the enemy to his intrenchments.”
These accounts vary in no wise from those of the Union generals, who held their positions in front of both Anderson and McLaws, and kept inside their field-works.
Meade, whose line on the left of the army was not disturbed, sent Sykes's division, so soon as the Eleventh Corps rout became known to him, to the junction of the roads to Ely's and United States Fords, to hold that point at all hazards, and form a new right flank. This was done with Sykes's accustomed energy. Nor was he reached by Jackson's line, and before morning Reynolds fell in upon his right.
THE MIDNIGHT ATTACK.
HEN his troops had been summarily brought to a
standstill by Berry's firm ranks and Pleasonton's smart diversion on his flank, Jackson determined to withdraw his first and second lines to Dowdall's clearing to reform, and ordered A. P. Hill forward to relieve them.
While this maneuvre, rendered extremely difficult by the nature of the woods in which the fighting had been done, but which Hooker was in no condition to interfere with, was in progress, Sickles and Pleasonton, whose position was considerably compromised, sought measures to re-establish communication with the headquarters of the army.
Sickles despatched Col. Hart, with a cavalry escort, to Hooker, bearing a detailed statement of his situation. This officer experienced no little difficulty in reaching Chancellorsville. The roads being in possession of the enemy, he was forced to make his way through the woods and ravines. But after the lapse of a number of hours he succeeded in his mission, and brought back word to hold on to the position gained. Sickles had so advised, and had, moreover, requested permission to make a night