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it had relieved Meade ; Sykes was already formed on Reynolds's left, (having rapidly moved to the cross roads at dusk on Saturday ;) while Meade with the rest of his corps, so soon as Howard had relieved him, went into position to support this entire line on the extreme right of the Army of the Potomac. Thus three strong army corps henceforth disappear from effective usefulness in the campaign.
The Confederate position opposite Fairview had been entirely rectified during the night to prepare for the expected contest. The division of A. P. Hill was now in the front line, perpendicular to the road, Archer on the extreme right, and McGowan, Lane, Pender, and Thomas, extending towards the left; the two latter on the north of the road. Heth was in reserve, behind Lane and Pender. Archer and McGowan were half refused from the general line at daylight, so as to face, and if possible drive Sickles from Hazel Grove. Archer was taking measures with a view to forcing a connection with Anderson; while the latter sent Perry by the Catharpen road, and Posey direct, towards the Furnace, with like purpose.
Colston was drawn up in second line with Trimble's division; while Rodes, who had led the van in the attack on Howard of last evening, now made the third. The artillery of the corps was disposed mainly on the right of the line, occupying, shortly after daylight, the Hazel-Grove crest, and at Melzi Chancellor's, in the clearing, where the Eleventh Corps had met its disaster.
There was thus opposed to the Federal right centre, (Berry's, Whipple's, and Birney's divisions of the Third Corps, and Williams's of the Twelfth,) consisting of about twenty-two thousand men, the whole of Jackson's corps, now reduced to about the same effective; while Anderson, on the left of the plank road, feeling out towards the Furnace, and McLaws on the right, with seventeen thousand men between them, confronted our left centre, consisting of Geary of the Twelfth, and Hancock of the Second Corps, numbering not much above twelve thousand for duty.
Owing to Hooker's ill-fitting dispositions, and lack of ability to concentrate, the fight of Sunday morning was thus narrowed to a contest in which the Federals were outnumbered, with the prestige of Confederate success to offset our intrenchments.
The right and left wings proper of the Union army comprised the bulk and freshest part of the forces, having opposite to them no enemy whatever, unless a couple of cavalry regiments scouting on the Mine and River roads.
Gen. Warren, who was much in Hooker's confidence, thus explains his understanding of the situation Saturday night: “ The position of the Third Corps and our cavalry on the right flank of Jackson's cavalry” (? corps), “ cut off, it seemed, all direct communication with Gen. Lee's right. No thought of retreating during the night was entertained on our side; and, unless the enemy did, the next day promised a decisive battle. By our leaving sufficient force in front of the right wing of the enemy to hold our breastworks, the whole of the rest of our force was to be thrown upon
his left at dawn of day, with every prospect of annihilating it. To render this success more complete, Gen. Sedgwick, with the Sixth Corps, (about twenty thousand strong,) was to leave his position in front of the enemy's lines at Fredericksburg, and fall upon Gen. Lee's rear at daylight.”
This summarizes an excellent plan, weak only in the fact that it was impracticable to expect Sedgwick to gain Lee's rear by daylight. The balance was well enough, and, vigorously carried out, could, even if unassisted by Sedgwick, scarcely fail of success.
To examine into its manner of execution.
THE FIGHT AT FAIRVIEW.
T the earliest dawn, while Rodes was issuing rations
to his men, who had been many hours without food, the indefatigable Stuart gave orders for a slight advance of his right, to reduce the angle of refusal or Archer and McGowan; for at this moment it was ascertained that Sickles was being withdrawn from Hazel Grove. By some error, Stuart's order was interpreted as a command for the anticipated general attack, and the advancing columns soon provoked the fire of the expectant Federals.
Seeing that the men were ready for their work, rations or no rations, Stuart wisely refrained from recalling them; and Berry and Williams betimes felt the shock of the strong line of A. P. Hill, which Alexander seconded by opening with his artillery in full action. The Confederates forged ahead with the watchword, “Charge, and remember Jackson!” And this appeal was one to nerve all hearts to the desperate task before them.
Hotchkiss thus describes the field of operations of this morning: “ The first line of works occupied by the Federal troops had been thrown up in the night, and was very formidable. The engineer division of the Union Army consisted of near four thousand men, and these had been unremittingly engaged in its construction. A vast number of trees had been felled, and formed into a heavy rampart, all approach to which was rendered extremely difficult by an abattis of limbs and brushwood. On the south side of the road this line is situated upon a ridge, on the Chancellorsville side of Lewis Creek, one of the numerous head-waters of the Mattapony. It is intersected by the smaller branches of this creek, and the ravines in which they run. These ravines extended behind the Federal lines, almost to the plank road, and afforded excellent positions for successive stands. In the morning, Sickles extended to the west of the creek, and held the elevated plateau at Hazel Grove. This is the most commanding point, except Fairview, in the vicinity. On the north of the plank road, the ground is more level. The line thus crossed several small branches, the origin of some small tributaries of the Rappahannock, but the ravines on that side are not considerable. From the ridge occupied by the first line, the ground falls away to the east, until the valley of another branch of Lewis Creek is reached. The depression here is considerable, and gives an abrupt slope to the Fairview hill, which rises directly from it on the eastern side. From the first line of the creek, extends on both sides of the road a dense forest. From the latter point to Fairview heights, and to Chancellorsville, on the south side of the road, the country is cleared. This clearing is bounded on the south by a drain, which runs from near Chancellorsville,